Lieneke van der Zanden has turned her hobby into her career. From 2016 to 2020, she flew across the globe as a cabin attendant for Emirates airlines. With her passion for exclusive interiors and luxury materials, she started taking beautiful decorative centrepieces such as shell wreaths, baskets and vases back with her from exotic locations for friends and family.
Lieneke: “I always had unique gifts for birthdays and special occasions. People would then say to me: why don’t you import these yourself and start your own business? Over the years, I had already gained quite a collection of unique purchasing addresses abroad, and I had developed an extensive network of manufacturers and wholesalers before I even started as an entrepreneur. In 2020, I returned to Apeldoorn from Dubai and set up my own interior design brand, “Hidden Pieces”.
Setting up a business during the COVID-19 pandemic
Setting up Hidden Pieces was quite an unusual challenge in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lieneke: “Sometimes you need to take the plunge, as long as you have faith in yourself, in your product and in the market. Hidden Pieces is an exclusive interior design brand catering to the middle and higher segments of the professional market. I currently deliver my products to more than 40 businesses, including home decor shops, flower boutiques, concept stores and interior designers throughout the Netherlands.” Sales take place through the in-house showroom and warehouse and by customer appointment. Lieneke takes a wide selection of products with her in her van, often leading to direct sales as a result.
Lieneke purchases everything herself, selecting items on style, quality and distinctiveness. She has an eye for luxury materials in particular such as petrified wood, Suar wood, brass and exotic shells. Lieneke also makes her own designs. Her suppliers in Asia make prototypes based on her sketches, and together they develop a new product.
The business has gotten off to a promising start, and the first international orders are also coming in. For the coming period, the focus lies on realising further growth in the surrounding countries and in Dubai. Lieneke: “I have lived there for almost five years, and I have a lot of excellent contacts there. And there is a high demand for our products from Dubai. The company’s focus is primarily on high-end home decor shops, but interior architects also increasingly know where to find Hidden Pieces.
Export countries: Belgium, Germany & Dubai