The heart of Tilburg is bustling with creativity
Avec’s unique headquarters can be found in the heart of Tilburg. It is the place where trendwatchers, concept designers, product designers and graphic designers get together. It is bustling with creativity and the surrounding shopping streets in Tilburg serve as a real-time showroom and a source of inspiration. Avec is market leader in ‘do-it-yourself-trends. Every month, these creative minds market hundreds of new products.
At the forefront
“We follow the DIY trends closely and we have been at the birth of many hobbies,” says Director Stefan Lanslots. Avec makes creative products for chain stores and specialises in hobby materials, (children’s) arts and crafts, stationery, back to school products, home, gifts, party and gift wraps. Avec is the largest player in the country, perhaps even in Europe. The company delivers to retailers in Europe, North and South America, Australia and the Far East. In addition, they are located in England and China.
The city centre of Tilburg as a source of inspiration
Stefan: “We moved to the Veemarktstraat in 2015. In preparation for the construction of the building, all employees of Avec were allowed to hand in their wish list. So now, we have two football tables and an air hockey table. We even have a hotel room with a bathroom. Occasionally, we have colleagues from England who spend the night there.” Elouise van Gestel, one of the senior designers of Avec, adds: “For us, it is very nice to work in the city centre of Tilburg. With all the retailers and the increasing amount of actual flagship stores nearby, Tilburg really inspires us.”
Avec is growing rapidly. “During the financial crisis, our turnover quintupled. Retail looked at its suppliers more critically than ever before. Because we are distinctive and are able to deliver a complete assortment at a sharp price, many retailers gave us a chance. Now, we have the power to become three times as big, which is certainly our plan.” Stefan sounds very reassured and at the same time wants to be modest as well, because Avec knew some tough times as well.
Depend on your partners
“As an entrepreneur, you must be able to depend on good partners.” Stefan is referring to external partners, but also his own colleagues. “We don’t spend hours discussing things during nature walks. That is not who we are. As opposed to long meetings, we frequently use other entrepreneurs as a sounding board.” Stefan: “We care about the long-term and about creating a pleasant atmosphere. We are always fair to one another. We get the best out of our people and it works.”
Trends and zeitgeist
Some trendwatchers travel the world continuously and stay in world cities such as Tokyo, New York, London, Stockholm and Copenhagen. Stefan: “They get a feel of the way of life and the zeitgeist. Our product developers and designers quickly translate this feeling.” Eloise: “The conversion for Tilburg is the same as for the rest of the country. But it is fun to see that the creative markets are now also happening in the Spoorzone. This generates creativity and causes commotion in town. There are plenty of opportunities for Tilburg. Let the city centre be a great mix of all kinds of stores. Set up pop-up stores in empty locations, organise all sort of things. Show people that Tilburg offers cosiness.”
The product can be seen as part of the exhibition 'Tilburg and its makers' at Hotel Mercure, Heuvelpoort 300 in Tilburg.