Interview – Cor Mounteban
COR MOUNTEBAN, INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER FOR HANS BOODT TALKS TO AVIATOR ABOUT THE ART FORM OF THE MANNEQUIN INDUSTRY.
I grew up in one of the older neighbourhoods in Rotterdam called Delfshaven and it was not until I was 12 years old that I moved to the South of Rotterdam. I was lucky enough to attend a Business Trade school and obtained two degrees in Marketing. I have previously worked in the fashion and sports industry and had never even dreamt of working with mannequins before. That all changed when I met Hans Boodt.
Hans Boodt was my neighbour and running mate! He asked me to work on an investigation/survey into the European mannequin market in wholesale and distribution and I immediately struck up a friendship with Marco Ouwerkerk one of the other owners of the Hans Boodt company. It?s now 7 years later and we are one of the largest players in the industry. We are a company with 12 years? experience in the mannequin industry with a history of more than 30 years in the visual merchandising industry. We are a flat organisation with a clear aim; to be a direct, hands on, service orientated and flexible company. We are a very creative team but also commercially aware, however most importantly we are very passionate about what we do. We travel around the world for inspiration and to meet clients and conduct business, and have partners and showrooms on every continent and work with global retailers and brands to fulfil their needs with our customisations tools. Through our down to earth way of working we believe we are the best partners for the retail world. It?s all in our DNA! We are very ambitious but that?s because we enjoy what we are doing.
I wouldn?t say you necessarily need any specific skills for working as I do in the mannequin distribution market; however experience in international wholesale along with a strong network within these industries certainly helps! The main skill needed is to be enthusiastic about your work and your industry. We have been honoured to work on so many exciting and different projects, both large and small. Each and every one of them is special as they all require unique elements or requests for something custom made. Past projects have included working with the global brands Espirit and Diesel on their mannequin development and we are currently working with our Australian partner on building a showroom to introduce the Hans Boodt brand to Australia. So there are lots of exciting projects in the pipeline.
Where can you see our mannequins? Apart from at Aviator of course! Now that?s a long list with many impressive retailers that we are very proud of. In the UK we have supplied to Harvey Nichols, Topman, M&S, Next, Selfridges and House of Fraser and in New York you can see our mannequins gracing the windows of Macey?s, Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue. We are honoured to have such a strong presence in the mannequin distribution and wholesale market and hope to increase our client list and expand our portfolio.
Mannequins and their application in events are definitely an art form. They are the perfect way to express something like emotions and minimalism. Sculpting is an art and mannequins are a form of sculpture. Our ideas and inspiration often come through art. However I would say our main source of inspiration and creativity is from travelling around the world, visiting cities, following trends in fashion and architecture and meeting and speaking with people from all cultures and industries. Every two weeks I am travelling throughout Europe, often to London, and I?m constantly looking for new inspiration. Sometimes it finds me! It is in our company DNA to keep innovating and produce new collections that are user friendly and successful.
If I could describe the Hans Boodt company in 3 words it would be innovative, flexible and reliable. It is a very special company to work for and I can honestly say that in the 7 years I have worked there we have never lost a client. Now that has to be a good thing. What more can I say!
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