Words by Véronique van Hoye
We’re starting up our Meet the Makers series again and we’re doing so with someone special: Kolifleur’s very own Eva Koolen. Eva opens up about her life as a store owner, what inspires her, and her dreams for a more social future. Enjoy!
When did you first become interested in second-hand clothing?
Since my days at Maastricht’s art academy, I’ve always enjoyed expressing myself through my clothes. What I wear is like a mood board, showing my love for prints, materials, colours and textures. The search for unique second-hand items stimulates my creativity and there’s the thrill of the chase, you never know what you’ll find.
When and how did you get the idea of starting your own business?
It grew organically. When I was studying for my law degree I discovered people actually wanted to buy the clothes I found everywhere and nowhere. So I started making people happy by selling these unique finds online. The money I made funded my desire to support young Dutch designers. The idea was to sell their handcrafted items online, but unexpectedly I got the opportunity to set up a shop here in De Pijp, so I took the plunge. And now I love having a physical store where people meet and connect.
Your shop is amazing: the unique collection of clothes, beautiful handcrafted items, plants everywhere…
I wanted the shop to have a relaxed and lived-in vibe – no hurry and no worry. People drop in for a chat, to browse through the ever-changing collection of beautiful things. There’s no pressure to buy, it’s about the mood and the experience: slow shopping.
How do you go about curating the store? What’s the process
For the clothes, I only consider brands that I love and that fit my vision. Elegant, modern and wearable items. Dutch-Scandinavian with a French touch. Women bring in clothes for me to sell because they know Kolifleur attracts people who love timeless, good quality clothing. In return they find treasures from others, which they can add to their wardrobe. It’s not about getting the most money for pre-loved items; it’s more of an exchange between likeminded women, a community. By carefully curating the clothes I sell, I facilitate this process and make the connection.
Then there are the handmade accessories and other small objects from Dutch designers. I’m constantly on the lookout for new talent, visiting design fairs, browsing the web. With Kolifleur I offer them a platform where they can share their creative story with the rest of the world.
You’re a bit of a cool girl yourself. How did you find your own style?
My look keeps evolving, but it’s always defined by contrasts in textures, interesting colour combinations and prints. I love minimalism with a bite. And it’s about really knowing your body and what looks good on it.
Describe Kolifleur in three words.
Authenticity. Fairness. Quality.
You have a law degree, you’re a savvy young entrepreneur, shop owner and promoter of young design talent. Is there any limit to your ambitions?
Why focus on only avenue of work when you have so many interests? I love pioneering, breaking new ground. Next to growing Kolifleur, I’d love to open a store for men, offering new and quality basics next to carefully curated second hand items. I think that kind of shop would flourish here in Amsterdam. I just need the right business partner to help me do it. But I could just as easily find meaning and fulfillment in rekindling my legal career, say for a fashion brand or for a good cause. I don’t set myself any limitations. Ideally, I’d combine it all!
Find out more about Kolifleur here.
In our Meet the Makers series we introduce you to the people behind Kolifleur’s products and share the love, care and attention that goes into making them. Click here for the previous edition with YACO Studio.
Words by Véronique van Hoye