MEET THE FOUNDER
JEROEN OUDE SOGTOEN
At Maison Nouvelle we care about the story and the people behind the brand. I'm so blessed to meet so many inspirational people behind brands that it wouldn't feel good not sharing a little bit of who I get to know.
Jeroen and I met when his colleague ordered a collection of Maison Nouvelle items for the next couple of years, which made me decide to deliver them personally. We immediately shared our love for service, a personal approach and quality. He was one of the most genuine people I’d met in my career in fashion. He was informed on everything about Maison Nouvelle and even knew my dog by name. It was inevitable to partner up with Zenology when relaunching Maison Nouvelle.
ON CURRENT AFFAIRS
Let’s get it over with and start with the topic that’s unfortunately still a hot one: COVID. What was the biggest learning for you this period?
"During this time I’ve learned even more that the course we have been sailing is the right course for us. Of course I had my doubts, but in corona time I saw our vision connecting to a 'new' world. It enabled me to leave many fears & doubts behind me."
Were there things you actually appreciated?
"I found the delay of the daily rat race to be very pleasant. It enabled me to find the right balance. I hope never to go back to letting myself be guided by the hysteria of the day. Deadlines… it's obviously good to have a goal. But Corona showed how quickly things can change and that a creative process is a natural process that takes time. I now try to follow a more natural course."
Speaking of natural courses; How sustainable is Zenology's course?
“One of our pillars is AS GREEN AS POSSIBLE. We will always, where possible, continue to work on an even more sustainable way of producing.
Our packaging is made from PCR bottles with a BIO additive and our CLEAN cosmetics contain ingredients that are not only good for our skin but also for the world we live in. So we’re already on the right track. But as soon as we see possibilities on becoming even more sustainable, we will not fail to do so. However, it is very important to be aware of what sustainability exactly is.
Natural vs synthetic, for example, is such a discussion. Natural is not necessarily better for the environment and/or skin. Fortunately, today's consumer is well informed and increasingly aware of what's good and what's not.
I should emphasize our thoughts on this more in the near future. E.G. we have been vegan and cruelty free for years, which was normal for me so I never spoke about it. Now it is time to put these years of expertise the spotlight.”
Because nothing beats the smell of coming home.
ON WOMEN AND FEMININITY
What is femininity to you?
"Male or female, it doesn't mean much to me to be honest. What is ultimately feminine? Maybe someone wants to be ultimately masculine in his/her femininity. I don't believe in separation or segmentation. I find it interesting what you personally stand for."
How do you know what women want?
"I don't know, how am I supposed to know? But do women know what women want. There are so many possibilities. I think it's more fun to stick to what I want and I hope to inspire people with that."
Do you have a muse?
"I need inspiring people around me. I like strong passionate people. I never think in man and woman clichés. I do what I think I need to do and then I hope that there is someone who wants that too. Labeling male - female, old - young, gay - straight doesn't inspire me, especially not in a creative process. It rather leads to clichés. It is wonderful to see how borders are becoming increasingly unclear. VIVA LIBERTA."
"I love to see how borders are becoming increasingly unclear
Where do we see you in 10 years?
"Hopefully at the head of a long table with all my loved ones around me enjoying life. In short, I do think about the future, but as an entrepreneur I also believe in flexibility and seeing and feeling opportunities when they are right. I am so tired of the malleable marketing driven mentality. I can't and won't think like that. I hope that by then - even more than now - I will have a company that mainly creates value instead of just an exorbitant turnover. That's what our motto CARE AND CONSIDER stands for."
How do you envision retail in the next 10 years?
"As an experience. Things like checkout, delivery, etc. will become much more of a service. But the experience of the product will become much more important. I'm already working with partners who are creating this reality. Retailers with a beautiful vision."
You have nice collaborations with, for example, Skins and Daily Paper, who would you like to add to this list?
"Collaborations such as SKINS Cosmetics (our very first partner) and Daily Paper are always unique experiences because we try to capture the essence in a fragrance session. It's a great, yet intense process. I'm not really interested in what people like but what they want to tell through a fragrance.
For example, the collaboration with MENDO, where we really managed to capture the passion and enthusiasm of these books afficianados in LIBRI.
I do have wish lists but in general I don't plan them too much because I also believe in real encounters and shared passions. This is how MODERN NOMADS for DAILY PAPER was born. Abderrahmane Trabsini (founder DP) and I ran into eachother at SOHO HOUSE and that's how I found out that they had been using our fragrances from day 1, to give an extra experience to their beautiful concept. That, of course, required a personalized creation. I trust my feelings about such a meeting and fully engage in a shared passion."
(Editors note to Jeroen - I see opportunities...)
SHOP ZENOLOGY'S COSMETICS
Have you ever got burned out? What did you do to either prevent it or come out of it?
"CERTAINLY. The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur is finding the right people in your team. A miss match can cost me a lot of energy. A wise woman told me to surround negativity with positivity and focus on that. Sounds simple, it isn't, but in the end it works."
What was your first earning job?
"On Thursday evenings - while enjoying FERRY MAAT's SOULSHOW - seller in a jeans store."
What does your average (work) week look like?
"Balancing between creating, sales, marketing, for three companies and meanwhile beinga a grandfather to two wonderful kids who are increasingly visiting the (work) floor. Of course larded with the right balance with my mates in our favorite pub."
Do you have a morning routine? And if so what does it look like?
"As an evening person, I gave myself a present for a few years. I never start before 10am. I need the calm start of the day to recharge in order to give my passion."
What do you do to let go?
"Go to the pub and laugh a lot. And dance! AND EAT!!"
Your advice for (wo)men to live their best life - and not be led by fear and insecurities?
"JUST DO IT! Have fun along the ride as much as possible. Every step you take is already one more than when you wouldn't. Be Curious."