Interview: Niels Hermsen (Regional General Manager)
How would you describe our culture?
Our people tend to share a no-nonsense attitude. We are an international organization but the Dutch word ‘nuchter’ is still one of our values. It actually literally translates to ‘sober’ but really means being down-to-earth. We all act as if stichd is our own company.
What was a memorable moment in your career?
I remember an interview I had with Jeroen van Dooren, the founder of Dobotex, when I was already employed by PUMA. I was used to values like top-down strategy and being strong on customer service. He asked so many direct questions. He pushed me to open up and be clear and to the point. We don’t sugarcoat things or make things look nicer than they are. We don’t pretend. We are.
How does stichd retain its own identity when working with big brands like PUMA?
We are stichd first and then PUMA. We have our own DNA, our own values and our own successes. We’re successful because we can be independent. Yes, we act on behalf of our brands, but are guided by our own identity.
What makes swimwear so special?
We created swimwear in collaboration with supplier experts. We were so motivated to get the very best products. It was a challenging ride but our new line makes it worth it. Big customers like Zalando and Intersport love the range. We’re taking a qualitative approach, the right accounts in the right markets. We want swimwear to be a long-term success for both stichd and PUMA.
What’s your vision for stichd?
To continue doing the right things well. To be even more consumer-focused and differentiate our approach. If the consumer loves our products, the whole value chain benefits. Customers, brands, suppliers, and let’s not forget — we will be happy. We can look outwards more too.