A small and cozy boutique in the heart of Amsterdam is the destination for those knitting lovers out there. Far from business thinking but close to the passion for its dream of a leap into fashion, Anecdote is the projected sensibility and thirst for the beautiful things in life, knitted along the way by founder Jetteke van Beuningen and her good friend and partner, Annemarie van Ryckevorsel – Buesink. For over 5 years, the hearted fashion brand has been sharing works and words of motivation and happiness through simple yet fascinating things in life. Last year, they opened their first boutique and with a distinct charm it delighted us as well. Sharing a different kind of interview, MiND sat with the two creatives behind the Anecdote fashion brand to talk about dreams as a booster for success.
When seeing all the Anecdote collections, we had the feeling that along with the needle and thread, there are true stories knitted in the pieces of clothing. How personal is Anecdote for you?
JETTEKE: The stories you share with your friends, the moments you feel alive, the special things you remember. Each one of them you carry with you. Together they make up my life: remarkable, personal, fun. Every season I share is mine, snapshots of my life. Anecdote is a collection of moments. Every piece of the collection gets a fragment of the story of the season.
The pieces wear names of friends and family. Are we allowed to assume that this is a way to thank them for being part of your life?
JETTEKE: My friends and family are very important to me so naturally they play an important role in the brand. My own life and adventures are closely-knit with theirs. After a couple of seasons, I pretty much run out of ‘friends and family’, so friends and family of the whole Anecdote team are now well represented in our collection. It’s always nice and funny to name a piece after the person who is your first association with that item.
When did you knit your first item or discovered that you liked fashion? And was that the moment you realized that this passion could be more than just a hobby?
JETTEKE: After graduating, I knew I wanted to go to a fashion school. A little strange move for a girl from the country side. After my study, I wanted to gain working experience but my dream already started. After 2 years at Tommy Hilfiger, I could no longer resist my passion. Time to realize my dream!
“Stand-alone items command attention.”
In times when something so creative as fashion seems to standardize or, on the contrary, to reach the extremes, you choose to present something simple, personal and they all wear a name. How do your collections get to be created and inspired from?
JETTEKE: I get inspired by traveling, friends, nature and art. But the best is twice a year when I go to Paris with my colleague Annemarie and visit Premier Vision. Just walking around, looking at all the fabrics, feeling qualities, in a blink of a moment we know exactly what we want to make. We have the same sense, it’s a feeling.
Where do you film your video campaigns? Are those places extracts from your life or only places which are meant to evoke specific feelings?
JETTEKE: My first shoot was photographed in my own back yard. The place where I grew up, a place full of memories. Every frame carries a personal story of one of my childhood adventures. I asked a friend as a photographer and my niece as a model.
What created the need for a boutique and how would you describe the interior design?
JETTEKE: The brand exists for almost 5 years and I believe that every established fashion brand needs at least one flagship store. A boutique where you completely tell the story of the brand. That is what we did, the interior design is the décor of the story of Anecdote.
There are nice curves in the fixtures, white shelves, curtains, simple yet charming. Why did you choose those elements for displaying Anecdote items? Will we find more Anecdote boutiques in our worldwide travels?
JETTEKE: I believe in minimalism. That one amazing piece that inspires you, which is carefully chosen, is so appreciated in all of its glorious simplicity. Stand-alone items command attention. A visit to our boutique needs to feel like a little journey. Beautiful treasures you collect on your way, while constantly getting charmed by little anecdotes and hopefully you end up in our tipi and leave our boutique with too many bags and a big smile.
“You always need something to dream of to keep the drive.”
Is there a passion for writing as well? The quotes we find wherever we look at Anecdote are very motivational. Have you thought about doing something like publishing?
JETTEKE: The first year a great concept store helped me with putting my thoughts nicely on paper. After 1 year my life crossed the life of Annemarie, a creative with a passion for writing as well. Together we brainstorm a lot, we can look each other in the eye and read our minds.
What has the future planned for your store and brand?
JETTEKE: My whole life is a process of learning. Every day, there is more to discover, more to learn and more to dream of. I feel blessed that I love what I do and do what I love. Of course there are more items on my wish list, but step-by-step, you need always something to dream of.
How did you two meet and how did your passion united you?
ANNEMARIE: We both grew up in the same area. Living a comparable life, we went to the same bars, but a different school. Our brothers were friends but we had no clue of each other’s existence. After I met my current husband, our paths literally crossed. He introduced me to Jet who’d run out of work and could use somebody beside her. After 4 years working in my own creative event styling agency, I was looking for a new adventure. A fashion brand with a story where I could use my creativity for designing collections together with Jet, but also come up with great stories every season and use my styling skills. That’s where it all started. With great pleasure we are now working more than 4 years together as a great team.
How do you keep your inspirational brand so close to its customers when all the other physical shops are filled with digital?
ANNEMARIE: I think it is just because we keep the brand so close to ourselves. We are designing with our soul.
Who shops at Anecdote, who are you speaking to and will we see an expansion into Home design perhaps, jewelry or other items?
ANNEMARIE: Our focus is woman like us, between the age of 20 and 45 in the bloom of their life. Ladies with a sense of style who are charmed by good qualities and little details. Anecdote can be seen as a lifestyle which can absolutely expand to home design, we started producing some notebooks – to write down your own anecdotes. Who knows what the future will bring more.
What future do you foresee for Anecdote? Will it spread its charming boutiques worldwide?
Of course our dream will be a store in Paris and New York for example. But we believe in growing step by step. You always need something to dream of to keep the drive.