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:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.”

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

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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