Plaids & Shawls
Peter van den Hengel took over Hotel de Vischpoorte in Deventer in 2010. Over the years, he has developed this into a fine three-star family business with 13 different rooms. Before then, Peter had always worked in an international sales and marketing position, and the commercial blood runs through his veins. Peter came into contact with plaids and shawls from Nepal, and he decided to start up a second company: plaidsenshawls.nl
A friend of Peter was a mountain guide in Nepal who made some money on the side selling plaids and shawls which he bought from a local weaving mill. What makes these textiles unique is that they’re made from yak wool; this wool is very lightweight, insulates well and is much less itchy than sheep’s wool. Peter was asked whether he would be interested in selling these beautiful natural products in the Netherlands. He decided to take up the challenge, and so Plaids en Shawls was established.
Peter orders the products straight from the weaving mill. In this case, it’s a charity where disabled people work on the plaids and shawls. The profits from the sales benefit them as well. In addition to the plaids and shawls from Nepal, Peter imports the same products from a similar charity in Ethiopia. The only difference is that the products are not made from yak wool, but from silk and Merino wool.
Largest selection in the Benelux
The products are sold via the online shopping site and in the hotel lobby. The sales are split about 50/50 between the online and offline channels. Visitors to the hotel love the products and visitors and tourists visiting the town centre know where to find the hotel lobby. Peter: ‘It helps that the ferry has its drop-off point right in front of our door. People are more likely to come in and have a look around. The great thing is that we have our online stock in storage next to the lobby so visitors can choose from hundreds of types and colours.
The hotel and Deventer attracts many German tourists, and they love the Plaids and Shawls products. This has led Peter to open a German online shopping site as well. The first sales from abroad are coming in through this site. The aim is to double sales over the next few years. The potential is certainly there.
Plaids & Shawls | Peter van den Hengel