Interview by Mark Schoones for Froot.nl
It had always been an idea in the back of her head: a duvet cover with a print of cardboard boxes. Especially made for charity. In 2007, advertising professional Peggy decided to execute on the idea. Together with her partner Erik she created Le-Clochard and Le-Trottoir. A duvet cover and fitted sheet that look like a cardboard box and a sidewalk. Most profits of these two special designs went to a charity organization supporting homeless youngsters in the Netherlands: 'Stichting Zwerfjongeren Nederland'. Supplies sold out in no-time.
But Peggy still had more ideas. 'Erik was sitting at home unemployed at the time and was interested in making this a full time profession. Prior to that, he had always worked in the buying and selling of sports apparel. And I had plenty of ideas still. We basically managed to nicely combine these skills.' Today, people from Amsterdam to Australia are sleeping under a SNURK design. The brand is sold in over 500 stores.
SNURK started in 2007 as a one-off charity project to help young homeless people. But we didn't stop there ...
Peggy laughs. Every day is a party, she explains while we sit in the warehouse at the edge of the Eastern Harbour in Amsterdam. And this is exactly the vibe in the house of SNURK. A warm atmosphere. Relaxed. Almost like it’s a hobby project. But then a hobby project that, next to Erik and Peggy, employs two full time staff members and an intern. And those are needed as the warehouse is currently filled with cardboard boxes containing duvet covers and pillow covers. All fresh from Portugal where the SNURK designs are produced. 'The first collection wasproduced in Pakistan. But the communication was a bit difficult and I wanted to be involved in the production process. Travelling to Pakistan as a woman wasn’t an option though.'
The SNURK office and warehouse are located in Amsterdam.
In Portugal, Peggy found a mad genius that wanted to take the SNURK designs into production. 'I like to work with mad geniuses. People who foremost display real passion and dedication for their work. People who like a challenge, to make the impossible possible.' An open mind is more than welcome, as before a SNURK design makes it from the drawing table into the warehouse in Amsterdam, multiple print proofs have been done. 'We use a so-called print screen. That's a rather old fashioned printing method. Our competitors also don't understand why we work like this. But it provides us with the most beautiful result.’
The collections of SNURK are featured in the leading design blogs time after time. But also the New York Times and the British Telegraph have contacted us before. Whereas Peggy had to write press releases in the beginning, nowadays, the media come knocking on her door on their own. ‘They will send me an email asking if we have any cool new stuff. I never thought it would all unfold this
way.' It is a sign that the SNURK style is universally appreciated. Peggy describes this style as sleek and realistic with a fun element. ‘Our designs may be sleek and design-like but not very serious.’ One thing is for sure: the SNURK kids designs are definitely different than the rest of the market which is, in Peggy's own words, 'very loud and Disney-dominated'.
SNURK works closely with its producers in Portugal.
Our starting point has always been that we want to simply make fun and original things. In the beginning, we always used to make jokes that the goal of SNURK was world domination. When we look at where in the world orders are coming from now, then we are actually getting closer to reaching that goal.
And now? Is SNURK really on its way to the dream of dominating the world of bedding? Peggy doesn't really know yet. Although her eyes do light up when she talks about SNURK's growth in countries like the United Sates. ‘Look, ideally we stay in this space. An even bigger warehouse stacked with boxes, would mean we weren’t selling fast or clever enough, right? But you never know how it will all unfold in the future.’ She laughs again. The SNURK adventure happily continues.
SNURK founders Erik van Loo & Peggy van Neer are also privately a couple and have two children together.
Erik hands out the sheets, Peggy designs them.