30 April 2015

Van der Spek Meet Up - Rotterdam - April 2015

This last weekend I attended the first Van der Spek meet up in Rotterdam. The meet up was hosted by Petra and the rest of the Van der Spek family.

Although the group was limited to only 10 people, we had travelled from far and wide to attend this great event (Switzerland, Germany, France, Belgium and of course the home country Holland)

Most of the people arrived on Friday afternoon/evening and we started off in a restaurant in the centre of Rotterdam.

L-R Jenny, Lindsay, Anke, Christoph

Priscilla, Petra

The next morning after breakfast we drove to the Van der Spek workshop at Puttershoek which is south of Rotterdam, about a 30 minute drive.

Petra greeted everyone with a ‘goodie bag’ containing leather samples, a catalogue and other goodies!

We settled ourselves down for an interesting morning with talks and demonstrations of some of the different processes involved in the making of an organiser.

Jenny had chosen what leather she would like and Petra ran through the order in the usual way with JP

JP explaining all the notes on the order sheet to Jenny (just out of the picture)

Jenny looks on as JP explains about the different areas of the leather hide

'Shall we do the outside of your organiser here... or here or here' Live instant feedback from the customer 

Template is placed... Jenny is quite excited!

JP cuts out the outside of the organiser and marks the rear to indicate which part this is. 

Then he went to work on the interior parts whilst we all watched. 

We moved over to the one of the machines that cuts out the parts more accurately

There we are... all the parts ready for stitching and assembly. 
We had a lovely buffet lunch and we all had plenty of chance to chat with everyone in the group, we were not rushed, which I am sure everyone appreciated and we all had plenty of time to chat with Petra and JP as well as Rene and Andrea Van der Spek as well of course.

There was plenty of time to wander around and look through all the items on display and in the storeroom, which as Janet found in October is an Aladdin's Cave!

'Janet Leather' (JL) or 104 in colour numbers! 

Ready made items that were for sale on the day. 

More leather!

Orders ready for despatch

Petra has also designed a range of bags and accessories see http://bagusbag.nl

Like the colours of the rainbow, some of the different coloured threads used to stitch together the the organisers. 

A confession.. I know these are Personal size (Standard) 30 mm rings without looking inside the boxes...
I will get my coat now

During lunch Petra showed off her new webshop, which should be going live very soon. The main improvements apart from the overall appearance to the site, is the ease at which Petra will be able to manage the site herself. The new site also includes Van der Spek Gift Vouchers... so you will no longer be able to say to your partners 'I don't know what I want for my birthday, anniversary, Christmas, Mothers/Fathers day presents (delete none of them!) ' and they come in various values too.

We all came back together in the afternoon and Petra gathered everyone around to make an announcement about a new product that Janet and I had helped design back in October 2014. Petra showed the group three nearly finalised prototype Travellers Notebook Covers in three different designs and different leathers.

Now although there are no rings in this product I am going to bend the rules somewhat and tell you about it, because I know a lot of our readers are using both formats these days.

Van der Spek as you know are well known for their huge range of leathers available for their custom organisers. Most of these will be available in the new Travellers Notebook range as well.

So some basics about the new product. At present it is only available in the normal travellers notebook size, which takes booklets that are 210 x 110 mm in size, a tall narrow format. Although given time I suspect a smaller size might be made available as well. The design is customisable, it comes as a basic cover and you then have options to add an inside left card slot pocket, a right hand secretarial pocket, and the last option is the pen loop. It has the capacity to take up to about 6 booklets.

On display were three different designs with different levels of options included.

Basic cover in natural 'Janet Leather' (104) with contrasting stitching

Undyed leather interior, no pockets or any extras. 

This example was in red ostrich type leather on the outside

Black leather interior with optional left hand pockets and right hand secretarial pocket

A brown Italian leather exterior

Pink interior with all the options including the pen loop. 
These aren't quite the final production version of what will be put on sale, the configuration of the elastics might change on the final version. But the actual cover it self is beautifully made, it wraps around the booklets with a very square profile around the spine of the cover. It is of course leather inside and out so it is very classy.

Van der Spek will of course be making these to order in their own workshop in the Netherlands, so the quality will be as good as we have seen with their range of custom made organisers a long with their excellent customer service both before sale and after sales.

The prices I think are very competitive and they are as follows:
  • Basic Cover - €85
  • Left hand side card pockets - €40
  • Right hand side secretarial pocket - €30 
  • Pen loop - €15
These prices do exclude VAT and shipping.  Availability or the acceptance of orders is as yet to be announced, but keep a watch on the Van der Spek shop and the Facebook group for more information. 

You can read about the development of this new product on the site of my dear friend Janet Carr, who sadly wasn't able to be at the meet up due to work commitments.

Naturally the announcement about the Travellers Notebook cover caused quite a stir and excitement during the afternoon! But we were not finished. 

JP Frumau who is a lovely fun guy who works for Van der Spek gave us a talk about leather and how it is prepared. Below is a video of his talk, it is unedited but I'm sure you will learn lots from this great talk. 

We eventually finished our day in a restaurant in Rotterdam, tired but very happy with lots of great memories of the day.

A few of us stayed another night before travelling home on Sunday. It was great to meet a few more fans, some I had met before, some I was meeting for the first time. And of course meeting Petra and the family and JP once again.

Thank you Petra it was a wonderful event and I know how hard you worked on all the preparations.

Until the next one......

1 comment:

  1. Looks like it was a wonderful event......

    On one hand, wish I was there......on other hand, I'm sure if I was, I would have ordered a few more vdS binders!.......

    After what has felt like a long wait, my binders just shipped! and what do I see in the photo above titled 'Orders ready for despatch' are what I'm sure are the binders I ordered in Brandy Italian outside with Brown Italian inside. They are the ones with the paper by them that has the letter 'I' in hi-liter pen on the page........

    Meanwhile, I've just checked shipment tracking and fortunately, so far, shipping is moving quickly ( I requested express shipping...). In fact, package cleared US customs already. So, continuing it's journey to me on the other side of the US. Tracking says it will be here by end of day tomorrow if all goes well. Unfortunately, I'm out tomorrow. So, won't my binders until Monday I think.....

    Very excited to see them......