Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Iris Houkes, I’m 42 years old and a proud mother of two girls from 8 and 10 years old. After my studies in International Marketing Management, I worked for few years as an Account Executive for an international advertising agency in Amsterdam. I then moved to Barcelona and decided to follow my (creative ) heart. After a two years course in photography, I started studying Graphic Design at BAU, a Design Institute in Barcelona. Since then, my husband and I moved back to the Netherlands, to Maastricht, and I have been working as a graphic designer ever since. Just last year I made the switch and started my own women’s label in sustainable tees & sweaters with statement prints: wander.ful.
What do you consider your distinctive achievement?
My distinctive achievement? Since I am still a starter and building up my business I can’t really say that what I have done so far feels as a distinctive achievement. There is too much that still has to be done. Therefore, I would rather say that I am working on ‘being distinctive’.
What are you looking forward too?
What I hope for wander.ful, is that we will be able to translate the concept we have in mind, into a real, clear message and that people understand this message, namely, to address (social) issues through our statement tees & sweats. But not only this, with our prints -and also the way our items are made- we want women to feel good about themselves, to empower them. No matter what sizes, religion, skin colour or age. And thát is what has to make wander.ful distinctive from other labels. And you might think that we have worked this out by now, but to have a concept in mind is one thing; to translate that into a clear and strong message, is another thing. And then, of course, there is the issue ‘money’ and ‘time’…Bút..we are working on it, step by step. Therefore our motto is ‘small actions can lead to big changes’
Which advice would you give to other professionals?
If you have an idea or a dream and you have the opportunity to follow that dream, accept your fears and give it a try. Once on your way, you’ll see that certain things ‘happen’ to you to help you move forward. And find yourself a positive and honest sparing partner. It is essential to share and talk about your ideas and insecurities and have someone who believes in you.
What are the challenges that we need to come to make about cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
I think we can create more accessibility if we join forces between ‘creative entrepreneurship’ and ‘commercial entrepreneurship’. You see this already in the rise of platforms such as ‘The Artist and the Others’ but also in concept stores where young designers are giving the opportunity to display their products in a commercial environment. wander.ful in this matter joined forces with Le Marais Deux and just from today on, the Forza Fashion House in Maastricht, has started this great initiative called ‘Fashion Talent Take Over’ which is all about collaboration between local talents and local stores.
Thanks for reading!♥️