INTERVIEW // IRIS VAN DER TUIN ON KEEPING FOCUS

Iris is one of those women who is always on go and seems very calm and organized in every situation. As Co-Founder for Duffybag she managed to build up a beautiful brand from scratch. We were curious about how she did it. So we decided to have a chat with her.

HOW DO YOU START YOUR DAY?
I always start my day with answering my emails. After that I start planning my week. There are a lot of  exciting things happening at the moment, so I like to keep structure. Of course there’s always a “surprise” that needs my attention. But I always try to keep focus on the main tasks. All though when it's time for my bookkeeping it's temping to get distracted.

YOU ARE ALWAYS GOING FROM MEETING TO MEETING. HOW DO YOU PREPARE?
Before I step into a business meeting, I always plan what our partnership is going to look like. I even like to send them the presentation of my plans before the meeting even starts. I don’t like to be unprepared. As for my meeting essentials, I always carry my laptop, a notebook, and handouts in my bag. My whole world is in my bag. Which is great! Because this way I can actually show people the Duffybag in action. 

WHY DID YOU START DUFFYBAG?
Well the idea came up when we were on a holiday. This was the time when those canvas tote bags became an item. We were carrying those too. They are very useful. Back at home I was constantly scooping my stuff from bag to bag for different occasions. So we wondered why there wasn't a beautiful leather version of those canvas tote bags on the market yet. Then we decided to design Duffybag with those things in mind. You can basically fit your whole day in our bags.

WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE IN STARTING THE BRAND?
I really love fashion. But I didn’t study fashion. So when I started I found myself in a new world entirely. We started from scratch. And we really had to build a brand from the bottom up. When you’re not a household name (yet) one of the biggest challenges is your brand awareness and finding point of sale.
 
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF BEING A WOMEN IN BUSINESS?
I never really thought about it. Because I don’t feel like there is a big difference between men and women. But If really have to think of something, I think we can relate to other people much easier than men can.

WHAT’S YOUR VISION FOR DUFFYBAG WITHIN FIVE YEARS?
You can find us at beautiful high end stores throughout Europe. Also don’t be surprised if you see us experimenting with different bag models and colors. A brand store is on our wish list too.

DID YOU EVER HAVE A SETBACK WHILE BUILDING THE DUFFYBAG BRAND?
Of course! Our demand was growing and we noticed that our atelier couldn’t keep up with the orders that where placed. So we had to look for another atelier. This was a lot of hassle and took us a lot of time. I see every setback as an opportunity to learn something. In this situation I’ve learned what’s important to me in a partnership.

 
ANY OTHER TIPS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE WITH OTHER LEADING LADIES (IN TRAINING)?
Focus on one thing at the time and always keep in mind why you started something. Let this be the guideline for everything you do. When you start something, it can be tempting to get on board with everything that everyone throws your way. Don’t do that. You will never have the time to do everything. Choose the things that are a good fit for your vision and go do them with a lot of focus.

Photocredits: Kee and Kee 

Tags: Shopping, Leading Ladies, Iris van der Tuin, Duffy Bag, Style, Entrepreneur , Start Up, Women who lead