Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan: Professional Rebel Q&A

Innovation is an act of rebellion. Indeed, every new concept, service or system is essentially a departure from the way things were. Since no breakthroughs have ever resulted from sameness and routine, defying the old is the only way to begin anew. For innovation catalysts Linda Vermaat and Melissa Marijnen, only a rebel is brave enough to spark a revolution.

Recognizing the need to challenge the status quo in a rapidly changing world, the pair founded Professional Rebel in May 2012. Together with Meret Muntinga and Max Verloop, the team regularly organizes bike tours, programmes and events that inspire individuals to become rebels themselves. Convinced that independent brands are in fact rebels of their own revolutions, the agency has teamed up with Indie Brands for a very special startup tour.

Professional Rebel co-founder Linda Vermaat tells us more:

Continue reading “Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan: Professional Rebel Q&A”

Making the Impossible, Possible | An Interview with Flybird’s Franky Boateng


Franky Boateng is the creator and founder of Amsterdam-based leather goods brand Flybird. This is his story:

“I came from humble beginnings. My mother raised me as a single mom to the best of her abilities and I admired her for that even from a young age. One of the biggest inspirations I have, therefore, is her. The determination and motivation she showed everyday without wanting to be praised for it was unbelievable and I knew that I wanted to show the same kind of determination and motivation for what I love as well.

When I was younger I used to watch a lot of western movies. I loved the story of the Lone Ranger, cowboys and indians and bounty hunters catching criminals.  Many years later, those Westerns would inspire me to craft many of my pieces. During my teenage years, I lived the rebellious life, always thinking that I knew best, never looking back at who I was affecting with my lifestyle. Fascinated by weapons thanks to the Western movies I used to watch as a kid, I collected old vintage weapons. I do have to address that I didn’t use them. But still, it got me into prison where I realized that I finally had to man up and become the man I always wanted to be.

I learned my craft from an inmate who was sentenced to life in prison. I realized that I didn’t want to end up the same way and so I worked on my skill everyday to improve, so that it would benefit me when I would be released. This way, I turned a negative experience into a good one. After I discovered my passion in prison, I turned it into my life goal. I attended fashion school to become more knowledgeable and come at par with my passion and motivation. I started Flybird and the rest is history.”

☞ For more information on Flybird, visit the websites below:


Flybird is one of the many brands featured on Indie BRANDS and the Indie BRANDS Blog. For the complete interview, visit the pages below:

Indie Brands Blog

Indie Brands x phillipqgangan: Flybird Q&A

Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan: Flybird Q&A


For an elite few, there is no greater satisfaction than making things by hand. The intimate bond between maker and craft far exceeds the completed product. Indeed, superb craftsmanship demands a lifelong devotion to perfecting one’s skills and an unwavering commitment to excellence. No one knows this better than Franky Boateng.

Finding his true calling as a leather artisan through a rare twist of fate, Franky began tailoring handmade bags and accessories for his friends and family. Transforming his passion into a profession, he established his self-made brand Flybird in 2009. From their Amsterdam atelier, Franky and his team design and construct original leather pieces, culminating in a contemporary collection of mini-bags, packs and totes.

Flybird founder Franky Boateng tells us more:

Continue reading “Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan: Flybird Q&A”

Q&A: Making Progress | A Documentary on Innovation by 31Volts

Making Progress (Dutch Trailer) | A Documentary by 31Volts | Premiers 12 September 2013

Innovation is a concept that is often misconstrued. Commonly affiliated with the latest technological advancements, the innovative process far exceeds the invention of consumer products. As a matter of fact, innovation, by definition, can also be achieved through the development of systems, services and paradigms across a myriad of sectors that have a great impact on society as a whole.

In order to better understand the secrets of innovation, Dutch service design agency 31Volts embarked on their first ever feature film Making Progress. Premiering in Utrecht on 12 September 2013 , this unique documentary puts a spotlight on the unsung heroes of innovation –from food technologists and game developers to modern-day explorers– and their extraordinary efforts in building a brighter future. The culmination of their expertise and shared experiences are genuinely aimed at making progress a reality. ✌

Marcel Zwiers, creative director of 31Volts tells us more:

Continue reading “Q&A: Making Progress | A Documentary on Innovation by 31Volts”

Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan: Join the Pipe Q&A

Creativity can overcome even the greatest of challenges. Coupled with a fervent imagination, there is no limit to what the creative mind can achieve, provided it is driven by a noble cause. Yet, for devout idealists Geraldo Vallen and Lorenzo de Rita, inspiring ideas are worthless without action.

While over a billion people across the globe have no access to clean drinking water, another billion in the Western world each flushes 70 liters down the drain on a daily basis. Seeking to put an end to this injustice, the pair established Join the Pipe in September 2008. The Amsterdam-based foundation is the first social community of tap water drinkers, committed to the fair redistribution of potable tap water, particularly in areas with critical need.

In order to achieve its humanitarian mission, Join the Pipe is building the longest water pipe in the world. Durable, beautifully designed water bottles, carafes and tap stations that resemble elements of an actual water pipe are available to the community for purchase. Proceeds and other donations directly finance the installation of pumps, wells and water sanitation projects in Africa and Asia, while the willful consumption of tap water greatly reduces the amount of plastic waste and CO2 emissions. ✌

One of the community’s founders, Geraldo Vallen tells us more:

Continue reading “Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan: Join the Pipe Q&A”

Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan: Marou Chocolate

Marou Chocolate varieties

Pursuing one’s passion is no easy task. Finding it is a far greater challenge. In truth, it is a journey of a thousand miles that begins with a single step. Yet, for French chocolate makers Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou, everyday is a great adventure.

As expats living in Vietnam, the pair shares a common interest in the versatile cocoa bean and founded Marou, Faiseurs de Chocolat in 2011. Locally sourced from Vietnam’s southern provinces, the beans are individually selected and combined with all-natural ingredients to craft one of the rarest chocolates ever made in the country of origin. In doing so, Marou has become the first single-origin, artisanal chocolate maker, showcasing the best of what Vietnam has to offer. ✌

One of the brand’s founders, Vincent Mourou tells us more:

As expats living in Vietnam, what made you decide to pursue artisanal chocolate making and start an actual brand?

“Before starting Marou, I was working in advertising and Samuel was in finance. I was good at it, but it wasn’t completely fulfilling. I felt it was time to move on and do something else, so I traveled to Vietnam.

I met Samuel on a jungle survival weekend and we became friends. We both had a serious interest in cacao and we wanted to do something with it. One day we decided to take our motorbikes and bought 2 kilos of beans from a farm we spotted on the side of the road. We took the beans home and made our first chocolate test. Immediately, we knew we had the potential to do something. Forget trading beans. Why not make chocolate?

Besides the idea, the partnership is fundamentally the most important. We wanted it to be a personal thing –artisanal, authentic, real, not money-driven, and focused on quality of life– things that give meaning to us. Marou is an extension of our personal values.”

Continue reading “Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan: Marou Chocolate”

CreativeMornings Utrecht x phillipqgangan Q&A: Pet van de Luijtgaarden

CreativeMornings Logo

Collecting is considered both an art form and an adventure. For artist and collector Pet van de Luijtgaarden, it is a unique opportunity to explore on the acquisitive nature of man and to have fun with the ever-growing pile of stuff he has collected.

At the 5th edition of CreativeMornings Utrecht (20 July 2012), Pet shares his thoughts on his latest exhibition, Gullivers Verzamilingen (Gulliver’s Collections) and what it is like to be a collector of collections. ✌

♫ Listen to Pet van de Luijtgaarden’s exclusive interview with phillipgangan ♪

✍ The 5th edition of CreativeMornings Utrecht was featured on the phillipqgangan website and can be viewed here: Obsessive Collective | The Gulliver of Collections

☞ For more information on Pet van de Luijtgaarden, Gullivers Verzamelingen, CreativeMornings Utrecht and CreativeMornings™, visit the websites listed below:

Pet van de Luijtgaarden, Gullivers Verzamelingen

CreativeMornings | Utrecht and CreativeMornings™

Follow CreativeMornings Utrecht, CreativeMornings™ and phillipqgangan on Twitter:  @Utrecht_CM (CM Utrecht), @Creativemorning (CM Main) and @phillipqgangan

Creative Mornings Utrecht x phillipqgangan

Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan: Ikku® Q&A

Beyond the duality of function and aesthetic, good design is increasingly characterized by its social responsibility. Be it through ethical production or sustainable means, a product’s form is only as good as its make. One such brand that champions this ideal is Ikku®.

Launched in January 2012 by Daniel Archutowski, Frank Bleker and Janneke Grootings, Ikku is an Amsterdam-based brand on a mission. The label’s “future-friendly” products are crafted from recycled and organic materials, consciously designed to have a minimum impact on the environment. True to its Japanese name (meaning ‘coming and going’), Ikku pays great attention to where its materials come from and, more importantly, where the world is going. ✌

One of the brand’s founders, Janneke Grootings, who was also present at the Indie Brands Denim Event, tells us more:

Ikku® was launched only recently in January 2012. As businesses are growing more cautious nowadays, given a myriad of economic uncertainties, what made you decide to take the risk and start an actual brand?

“Starting Ikku never felt like taking a risk to us. It rather felt like an opportunity to design what we were looking for but couldn’t find: an affordable, sustainable sleeve with clean design that would also protect. Of course we can’t help but notice the economic uncertainties, but this doesn’t stop us from focusing on the opportunities. Also, it strengthens us in our goal to be as independent as we can possibly be. To be able to build Ikku on our own, we do all have our day jobs next to Ikku. Daniel as a designer, Frank as a product-developer and Janneke works as a freelancer in brand communications. So our main investment, next to money, is time.”

What do you find most rewarding in starting your own business?

“The feeling of freedom. And all the things we’ve discovered while working on Ikku. Things we didn’t know about ourselves, about each other, about the way things work in production, fashion, retail. And especially all the wonderful people we met and all the great places we visited!”

Apart from being Future Friendly, Ikku® products are also very well designed. What do you consider to be “good design” and how important is it to your brand?

“To us, design is leading in every decision we make and it’s the start of everything. It’s quite simple: we make products we’d also like to buy ourselves. And if it doesn’t look good, we wouldn’t buy it. To us, products are well designed when function and form are in balance and harmony.”

What is next for Ikku®?

“We have some beautiful new products coming up, accessories for iPhone, iPad and MacBook. This time, we used recycled denim, recycled canvas and a stunning woven fabric from Birma to make them. We’ll keep on looking for future-friendly fabrics to use for our products. We are full of ideas that give us lots of energy. Ikku means ‘coming and going’ in Japanese, and travelling and moving forward is exactly what we’re planning on doing.”

☞ Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan, features profiles and interviews on up-and-coming independent brands on the Indie BRANDS blog.

For more information on Ikku, Indie BRANDS and other brands featured in the Indie BRANDS blog, visit the websites listed below:


Indie BRANDS and the Indie BRANDS Blog

Ikku is one of the many brands featured at the Indie BRANDS Event | The Denim Edition

The Official Launch of Indie BRANDS (book) was featured in the phillipqgangan website and can be viewed here: Indie BRANDS, the Launch

Indie BRANDS x phillipqgangan

Q&A: Leiden International short Film Experience

The Leiden International short Film Experience (LIsFE) will celebrate its 4th annual film festival on 9 June 2012 at the Kaasmarkt Gymzaal (Koppenhinksteeg 13). With more than 1,000 entries from over 45 countries, the event will feature a premium selection of short films —from fictional works to documentaries and animated movies— showcasing this most underrated of cinematic genres via exposition and competition. ✌

In anticipation of the LIsFE, the organizing committee shares their views on short film making as an art and what we can expect during the festivities:

This being the 4th LIsFE, what can we expect from the upcoming festival?

Thibaut Prod’homme:

“This edition has been flooded with submissions by filmmakers from all over the world. After 3 editions, we never received and expected such a wave of films; the quality, the diversity, and the creativity we encountered still surprise us.

The 4th LIsFE will thus offer the finest selection of films since the beginning of the festival. This is also because after three editions, both the selection process and the eyes of the participants have considerably sharpened. We are now more exigent than ever and aim at offering our audience the best quality, the most creative and diverse shorts so that they can have a rewarding and complete one-day experience of the short film art, since every new edition we expect them to have higher expectations and hungrier eyes.

This year we also put a particular focus, through special film sessions, on a set of genres within the short film art: dance films, documentaries, “not so short” shorts, and gore/horror shorts. By doing so we hope to offer our audience the possibility to choose and breathe during this very intense one-day festival.”

Sally Pasquarè:

“I am really looking forward to seeing what people will think of this edition. We really put a lot of work in it and as Thibaut mentioned, with experience comes a sharper eye so we really tried our best in finding the most diverse and interesting films from all over the world.” Continue reading “Q&A: Leiden International short Film Experience”

30 x 30 Q&A: Tessa van Asselt | Insights Strategist, TrendsActive

Tessa van Asselt is an insights strategist at TrendsActive in the Netherlands. More than simply trendwatching, Tessa delves into the world of social cultural trends, translating and developing them into business strategies, communication tools and design concepts. Her agency, TrendsActive has worked with Fortune 500 firms and non-profit organizations alike, helping them to implement these trends in their day-to-day operations.

In anticipation of her lecture at the inaugural CreativeMornings Utrecht event, Tessa shares her views on trends, creativity and how creative thinking plays an integral role in trend interpretation:

TrendsActive specializes in the interpretation of social cultural trends to develop business solutions. Why the focus on social cultural trends instead of consumer trends or market trends?

“Social cultural trends describe the knowledge and values of people within society and can be used to explain their behavior. Because social-cultural trends are long-term trends (they last at least three to fifteen years), they are very useful for business strategy. Consumer and market trends are part of social cultural trends, but they are more focused on products. We don’t focus on so-called ‘product trends’, for instance, LinkedIn or the iPhone are not trends. The real trend is the mindset of people, which led to the success of these products. That is why it is important to understand people’s behavior.”

Trends have the tendency to come and go very quickly. Is it the same for social cultural trends?

“Trends don’t have the tendency to come and go very quickly, but fads and hypes do. A lot of trendwatchers like to let organizations believe that trends change fast and are difficult to understand. The fast changing (product) trends they describe, are not social cultural trends. These products are just the form in which long term trends manifest themselves. By studying the structural social cultural trends that shape the era we live in, we study trends that change very slowly and remain relevant for a long time.”

How significant/important is creativity and creative thinking in your line of work?

“Creativity and creative thinking is essential in our work. In the translation process from research to business solutions, creativity is literally indispensable. But also in our research process creative thinking is important. We gather information from different sources such as trend reports, academic books, conferences, blogs and experts. Handling all this data in an associative and creative way is key in connecting all the dots.”

Is creativity something that we all possess or is it limited to a chosen few?

“We believe everybody can be creative and come up with an idea. You can even train creativity, for example by training yourself to think in an associative way. However, the applicability of ideas people come up with varies. The translation of ideas into useful concepts is difficult. At TrendsActive, we work with people that are highly specialized creatives who know how to balance creativity and strategy and connect the dots. And that is limited to a chosen few.”

CreativeMornings Utrecht | 30 March 2012 | In De Ruimte (Oudegracht 230A) | 08:30 (AM)   Inaugural talk by Tessa van Asselt of TrendsActive | Futureproof: Implementing Global Trends in Your Work/Design

Registration opens Monday, 26 March 2012 at 10:00 (AM)

Follow CreativeMornings Utrecht on Facebook and Twitter for more information on how to register or sign up for their Official Newsletter

@phillipqgangan | 30 x 30: We are all creative equals