Dennis Panhuijsen (1964) has spent almost his entire career with large retailers, working in and leading purchasing departments for non-food products focusing on toys and gift items. From early on in his career, he travelled to Hong Kong, China and Taiwan to arrange the sourcing and purchasing for the biggest international chains in the Netherlands and Germany. After a brief interlude in the multi-media branch, he returned to the toy sector in 2003, this time as a self-employed entrepreneur with his own import- and export company, DP Specials bv.
DP Specials got off to a flying start. With years of experience with the Far East and the European retail business, Dennis has developed a feel for the market and the products.
Dennis: ‘It all starts with entrepreneurship, curiosity, initiative, and daring, but years of practical experience is also essential. It’s about finding or creating that one product that fits that single gap in the market at exactly the right moment. Simply having a good idea or a good product is not enough. You need to “get inside the consumer’s mind” and make sure all the Ps in your marketing mix are perfect, and that’s what I’m good at!’
The first product that the business launched became an unrivalled success. With DP Specials, he developed Clickers® skate shoes, which were an instant TV success for large retailers such as Blokker, Intertoys, Bart Smit and Toys” R” Us. The famous shoes with a click-on wheel at the heel were immensely popular among younger people. Hundreds of thousands of pairs of this trendy item were sold over countless counters in Europe and the rest of the world. This product is still sold today. Another successful product was the well-known “Olé Olé Soccer Megaphone”, a massive hit during the European Cup and World Cup soccer competitions.
Another success is the creatively developed karaoke set. It became the best-sold karaoke set of all time in all of Europe! Besides a solid product and attractive packaging, the sales and distribution strategy is of critical importance. Dennis has often had to say ‘no’ to large purchasers to prevent a product from oversaturating the market. After 12 years, he has finally left his ‘cash cow’ behind him.
His decision to take to calmer waters was a conscious one. It allows Dennis to focus on even more fun projects, such as helping other entrepreneurs and start-ups with a good idea, product or concept when he’s not working on getting his pilot’s license.
But if the right man or woman should come along with the right idea, there is always the chance that he will get financially involved. He would be more than happy to use his positive (and negative) past experiences to help build something new and fantastic.
Export countries: mostly Europe, with a focus on the Benelux