My best Greek friend’s love arrow hit the bullseye and he and his wife made a magnificent little Spartacus. The news about their newborn reached me while I’m a few days back in Amsterdam. And while thinking about what present would be suitable I got a phone call from Daniel, one of my old friends from my partybusiness, he heard from other friends I was in town and was wondering till when I’d be staying in Amsterdam. His partydays are over, he nowadays he owns a kids shoe store on the Heemstedestraat in Amsterdam and despite the ups and downs he’s managing a wonderful job and created his own childrens shoes brand..
The synchronicity hit me instantly and immediately and I said to him; I’ll come to your place soon because I need your help and guidance here; one of my Greek friends had this new baby and I’m in need of a proper new born gift and I was thinking to buy a couple of those lovely little baby shoes.. He agreed to help me and thankful as I was, I also invited him for an interview about his shoestore and the brand he’s develloped over the last couple of years..
You have to know, personally I really have absolutely no clue about anything when it comes to babies, small children and teens, it’s like zero, zilch, nada.. and I get the tension to run hard away at first glance.., I’m truly that uncle that flamboyanly flashes by at babyshowers, who picks up the newborn for max 2 minutes to make the most adorable selfies for facebook and who buys the coolest toys for their birthdays; if I’m reminded to them.. Really it’s true.., I admit thoroughly I’m not a fan of the first hour, I get used to them after about 20 years or so.. But the kids adore and love me.., period!
Which is not so strange if I think about it.. On really rare occassions I might say yes to pick up kids from my sister or friends from school to look after.., read spoil them to the bone. On such days I take them to the cafetaria and they can eat all their favorite snacks like french frites, hamburgers and ice cream for desert. And after the overload of greasy junkfood, we’ll pick a movie and grab a supersized bag of M&M’s and a big size Coca Cola. So by the time I deliver them back at their parents they’ll be all sugared up, full of energy around bed time and AHDH alike for the rest of the week.
I promise you; their moms don’t ask me that often, but the kids love me dearly.. To them I’m like the male version of Nanny McPhee, a little naggy at them at first but along the way I turn out to be the greatest uncle.. I have the utmost respect for people who work on a daily basis with kids and babies, like Daniel and many others. I’m happy when I’ve survived the day..
I am from a long generation of authenthic Amsterdammers, born at Burgerziekenhuis in Amsterdam Oost. Lived 8 years in Hoofddorp and then moved back to the Rivierenbuurt in the centre of Amsterdam. Born and raised as the son of a market salesman at the famous Dappermarket in Amsterdam Oost. Sometimes I was helping my dad at the market, selling hats and scarfs, he learned me to become a good salesperson. But I learned a more important lesson; if ever I would open a business, I wanted to become a shop owner. Not to stand on a daily market, in rain and storm, and the well-known Dutch bad weather.
O my, I followed so many different educations, Pedagogy, Psychologie, IT and finally business administration. Next, to my studies, I was always working I always had a side job. Was it at the market with my dad or behind a bar, pouring drinks and having a party. I love to work, and work and doing things learns me so many things. Maiby I am autodidact but practice and doing things is my way of learning things. I had an office job at VATit for 3 years, first of all, it was boring. Second I had to follow courses and go back to school, that was the moment I promised myself I will never go back to school again. Being my own boss and doing things, the practice learns me everything I need to know.
It was after my 3 years of office time at VATit that I got the nerves to start a business for myself. But it was a tuff decision to find out what I liked to do, open a computer store, a bar, one thing was for sure it had to be a store. It was my ex who came up with the idea of opening a children shoe store as she was willing to help me in the store and she loved selling shoes. First, we opened a little Familius shoe store on a different location and after a few years, I saw this shop at the Heemstedestraat for rent here at Hoofddorpplein. Hoofddorpplein has everything, the neighbourhood is like a small village inside the city. It still has everything small local shops and a great mix of people living and enjoying their daily life. It is close to the city centre and Rembrandtpark but has a totally different fuss, like that of a small village.
Opening a store was easy keeping it up and running for 7 years is a totally different story. I had big downs but I am still standing and business is going well now. During the past 7 years, I have sold almost all brands children shoes, so I really know what’s a good shoe and what’s a less quality one. Good shoes you can find also at Zara or the market, its all about the marketing what they are selling you is all about making money. For a good shoe, you need to go to a specialist like me, because every child is different and so are the shoes he or she needs. In my store, I have all the time we need to find a good shoe. We always start with measuring the feet, because a child is still growing so one foot can be bigger than the other foot. When you have two different size feet you also must check the shoes, so the foot has a good grip and space to grow.
During the past 7 years, I have learned my lessons and where to buy good quality shoes for kids. So last year I started with my own brand “Familius” kinderschoenen. My first own baby shoes, I am so proud of it, we have a range of 14 different colours and they are specially made for me in Italy. We have selected an Italian ECO-friendly leather, super soft but strong, with a suede grip-sole. It’s the best shoe for newborns until they start walking. Nowadays a business can’t survive without the internet, I have my own website www.familius.nl but next to that I am also selling at bol.com. At bol.com they have my baby shoes in stock and so they can deliver also the same day, something that’s not possible for me as a small shop owner. So it was wise I joined them and now I have happy clients in the whole of the Netherlands and Belgium.
2019 will be also an exciting year for me as the first children of my own brand have arrived this week. So now I can also sell my own brand shoes for children, in size 26 till 35 so I am very happy and nervous. This shoe is also made in Italy by craftsmen with ECO leather and good rubber sole and inside footbed. I am so proud when I sell a pair of my own shoes and see a child walking in something I designed and produced. Of course, it is now time to reorganize the store and reorder everything we will do a big sale, to sell out some other brands to make space for my own brand.
I love my shop, currently, I am open 5 days a week from Wednesdays till Sunday’s. Monday’s and Tuesdays are for my two kids, administration and internet business. On the internet, we are open 24 hours a day and when online you can also chat with me for advice. I love my kids so much and now the weather is getting better, spring is coming, I love spending time with them in Rembrandtpark. For all the readers of this blog, we will arrange a nice baby shoe giveaway for you.
We will select a winner on 20-04, 27-04, 04-05, 11-05-2019 and announce them on our newsletter so make sure you subscribe to our newsletter