With our Local Heroes in Amsterdam series we aim to share stories from inspiring individuals and companies, that have contributed in a positive way to a greater city. A City Made By People. And in edition #6, we like you to meet Janneke, Daniel and Frank. Three friends with different backgrounds in Communications, Design and Production, have combined their powers to create a future-friendly brand. Being called IKKU, they offer products from recycled and organic materials to protect devices we all cary along in daily life. Ever since they started in 2012, they've been praised for their beautifully designed products with a sustainable character. Not only on a national level, but also crossing borders they've been starting to work with internationally renowned retailers in various cities around the world. IKKU is a one-to-watch and we're both happy as proud to share their story with you today. Be future-friendly! Please introduce yourself… Who and what is IKKU? We are 3 friends creating products we love, as future friendly as possible. So far this resulted in sleeves for mobile devices, accessories like a cardholder and a tote bag, made from recycled and organic materials. How did the idea come to life and when did you start? We felt we wanted to actually make something ourselves, but didn’t yet figure out what. When I couldn’t find the well designed, affordable, sustainable and protective MacBook sleeve I was looking for, we knew what to make. We officially started in January 2012. We’ve never heard of the name 'IKKU' before… What inspired you to call it as such? What does it mean? IKKU means ‘coming and going’ in Japanese. We loved the sound of it and the fact that there’s this one word for it. And we like the aesthetics of the letter combination. It fits, since our products are always used on-the-go and we used recycled denim for our first collection. How would you describe your company in one sentence? Three friends creating things they’d also like to buy themselves. What makes you tick to do this and what is your biggest strength? Curiosity & curiosity.
‘Protect the life you create’
What product are you most proud of? I’m proud of all of them, but I felt this the most when I spotted our tote bag ‘in the wild’. People choose their bags consciously: it’s out there, for everyone to see. So when I see people rocking our tote bag on the streets, my heart fills with pride. Why have you chosen to solely provide Apple products? Being an Indie Brand means working with limited budgets and small production orders. So we had to make a choice for measurements. Our tagline is: ‘protect the life you create’, based on the idea that your mobile devices enable you to create. That mainly goes for Apple products. Plus, other platforms like Android have a large variety of sizes.
'People choose their bags consciously: it’s out there, for everyone to see.'
What really has been the best or most fun experience so far? Any inspiring collaborations/ partnerships? All our discoveries: about ourselves, each other, the way things work, all the inspiring people we met, the great places we visited. Most memorable so far: the day we received an e-mail from Carhartt WIP asking if we would be interested in a collaboration. We couldn’t believe it! The first Carhartt WIP X IKKU Collection is in stores now. Why do you think your product is so beloved? Apart from the fact that it’s well designed, and made from beautiful and future friendly materials you mean? We put a lot of tlc in our products: there is not a single IKKU item out there that we haven’t touched ourselves. What’s the most important lesson learned till now? What would you like to share with other fellow entrepreneurs? Go with your gut feeling. In regards to living and working Amsterdam. What are the advantages you think, starting your business in here? Life in Amsterdam is easy and challenging at the same time. Easy enough to be able to start IKKU next to our day jobs and challenging enough to always find inspiration. And if you could be a dreamer for a second: Where’s IKKU in 5 years from now? A second only? Our dreams won’t fit! In 5 years time, we’ll be selling a larger variety of products in all continents of the world, made of new future friendly materials. More brands will work future friendly, by consciously selecting their materials and designing durable. That will make us a little less extraordinary, but hey, that’s a small price to pay. In regards to going abroad: what is your favourite city to visit? Anytime soon? The city you either love or hate: Bangkok! We love it so much we try to go there every year. Thank you very much IKKU for having us at your offices! For more information on IKKU and its beautiful products, please visit ikkuonline.com Here some more Local Heroes portraits.