A 20 meter long cupboard in Yves Klein Blue is the heart of De Rode Winkel in Woerden, Netherlands. Every shelf is filled with jeans. "We offer a very large assortment, with lots of brands to suit many different customers. If you think of our store, you will think immediately of denim", says Jeffrey Dupont, Shop Manager. Interview by Samira Mikhail

Why did you open your store? Tell us the story behind it!
De Rode Winkel started as a family business in 1837 in Utrecht that was keen to grow. Now there are 10 stores located in the middle and the south of the Netherlands. The shop that I manage is in Woerden. The shopping area in Woerden is getting bigger and is a nice area to shop in.

Which is the most important ingredient for successful retailing?
The most important ingredient to have a successful business is service. Service is very important in order to keep your current and new customers.

What are your current bestselling labels? Which are your personal favourite items?
Our current bestselling labels are G-star & PME Legend. Both are Dutch brands and these are very popular among Dutch consumers. I am a great fan of denim and therefore my personal item is my own Lee 101Z 23oz., and I also really like my denim shirts.

Denim is an important segment for your store, why?
Our core business is denim; it is what we are known for. We offer a very large assortment, with lots of brands to suit many different customers. Twice per year we have a huge sale on denim and many of our offers are only on denim. If you think of our store, you will think immediately of denim.

De Rode Winkel, Woerden
De Rode Winkel, Woerden

In terms of denims: Which cuts / shapes / washings / colours are most popular at the moment?
The shapes that are very interesting for men lately are the slim fit models, which have been popular since winter. Women this year will go for a lot of bright colours and printed pants.

Which new labels have you added to your assortment recently?
The labels we have added recently are Edwin and Armor Lux. Edwin is a vintage jeans brand that uses fabrics from Japan, with selvedge finishes, which are also made in Japan.  Armor Lux offers a big assortment of striped tees and sweaters.

Do customers search for favourite brands and special styles or do they buy spontaneously?
Recently, many customers surf on the Internet where they get a lot of inspiration. This is something that we notice about the customer’s behaviour; when they are in our shop, they are especially interested in fabrics and the fits.

What inspires you, where do you get your information about upcoming trends and brands?
I get my information from a lot of different fashion blogs and the Internet. Those websites inspire me very much on all different kinds of things, which I can translate to my personal style, but also to the shop. In this way I can communicate the latest trends to the customers because they see us as a big example.

De Rode Winkel, Woerden
De Rode Winkel, Woerden

What do you think will be the key-pieces/trends in 2013?
The big trends that are up-coming for 2013 are denim and many prints. We now offer a lot of denim products like jackets, shirts, jeans and sleeveless vests, both for men and women. There are also a lot of flower and Hawaiian prints in shirts, pants and shorts.

How do you stay in contact with your (regular) customers?
We give the customer personal attention by offering something to drink and having a small, easy-going talk. We notice that the customers feel more comfortable when we personally approach them as an individual. Even when they don’t buy anything, they will be more likely to return to the store because of the personal approach. They will keep you in mind when returning the shop, because of your sincere help.

What does your shop offer that others don’t?
We have the biggest offer in jeans compared to our competition. This is our key, and this is why we can offer different jeans to many different consumers. Also, our personnel are well trained, through much internal training, which gives our stores more value.

De Rode Winkel, Woerden
De Rode Winkel, Woerden

What do you like about your location and your customers?
We are centrally located in the city centre of Woerden. I have a lot of experience in the fashion industry and especially in Woerden where I know a lot of my regular customers. When they see a familiar face, they will be more likely return to the shop. This is something that I experience a lot in my shop, because they know my colleagues and know who I am.

Do you have an online shop? Do you run any social media activities?
We have an online webshop: www.derodewinkel.nl and we also have social media on Instagram (rodewinkel) and www.facebook.com/derodewinkel.

Are there any role models for your shop? Any store – worldwide – which inspires you?
The role model for our shop is with capital letters DENIM. This is what we are known for! The shop that is very inspiring for me is Tenue de Nimes which is located in Amsterdam. They offer a wide range of fashion items all together in one shop, from denim, to books to sneakers and nice accessories.

Store's contact:
Voorstraat 29
3441 CC, Woerden
+31 30 2336309