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AN INSIDE STORY
Desiree Kleinen, is the founder & creative director of Ree Projects, a luxury brand. She started her venture about three years ago, and is the outcome of a search for a new and personal definition of luxury.
Desiree was born in the seventies, raised in the south of the Netherlands with roots all over the world, from Latin America to the North & South of Europe and Asia.
Harpers Bazaar’s deputy editor in chief, Maaike Beekers, visited the Ree Projects studio and they talked about entrepreneurship, the fashion industry and Ree Projects. Desiree shared her story;
“My grandmother always fed my love for craftsmanship and thought me how to make clothes & little soap baskets when I was a young girl. My first venture was at the age of 10, when I set up my small soap basket business – setting up a mini production in my room and selling the soap baskets from door-to-door myself. I knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur when I would have grown up”.
“My love for the fashion industry started at an early age. I always chased my dream, developed my talents and skills to become a designer and eventually build an established brand. After graduating at the Artez academy of fine arts in Arnhem [MA, Fashion] I won the Camera della Moda Italiana award for the most creative collection at the Mittelmoda Awards in Italy. I decided to gain experience first before starting my own brand. Honing my skills at a number of Luxury Brands like Karl Lagerfeld, Balmain, Faith Connexion and other International Fashion Houses. After two decades of industry experience, I decided it was time do it my own way”
“Focus on quality, design and product rather than quantity is what I prefer, always committing myself to impeccable craftsmanship down to the smallest detail. Balancing out pure and bold shapes with functional and distinctive constructions is what I love to do. That’s how my business started and I launched my first Ree Projects collection end of 2015”
“It was the best thing I could ever do and I never regret my decision because I love my job every single day. It is a long journey, not always easy, but every day looks different and I just love every single part of my journey as an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship it is not only about building a brand and a business. It is also about personal development, who you are as a person and how you relate yourself to your business. The people you work with, the world and the things you do. In a human way because sometimes the fashion industry lacks when it comes to humanity. It's very holistic, I look at it as an extra gift you get when you're an entrepreneur.
There are much more dreams and things to come; I want to add more product categories to my brand over time, collaborations and a brand store. I prefer to take one step at a time and build my brand slowly, but surely in a sustainable way. My product is key and quality comes first”
Read more in Harpers Bazaar NL September issue
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