CEO Tijn van Elderen talks 100 years Brabantia

Brabantia celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, making this the perfect time to have a talk with CEO Tijn van Elderen. He is the fourth generation in the family business. “Since the age of five, I have known I wanted to become Brabantia’s boss.”

 “When I was younger I used to play with my friends on the roof of our factory in Aalst, and I knew I wanted to become the boss of Brabantia, the company of my father, my grandfather and great-grandfather. For twenty years I had different roles in marketing, innovation and sales and in 2012 I became CEO,” says Tijn van Elderen. “Most family businesses do not last beyond the third generation, so we are very proud to have made it this far. How we managed that? With focus and by consciously making choices for the long term.”

 

“When I used to play with my little friends on the roof of our factory in Aalst, I knew I wanted to become the boss of Brabantia”

A lot has changed at Brabantia in recent times. The brand has evolved into an international interior design brand. The image has changed from a practical and sustainable brand, to a practical and sustainable brand that also looks very stylish in your interior.

#enjoythedoing

Another point of focus for Brabantia is #enjoythedoing. “During their lives, people spend a lot of their time on household chores. These chores are never finished and most people do not enjoy doing them.” This made Tijn wonder: “What if we could add value and meaning to these chores?”. That is why Brabantia has taken products to the next level. Take, for example, new innovations such as Bo Touch Bin, the Linn collection and the Tasty+ collection. “These are all products that make separating rubbish, the laundry or cooking just that little bit more enjoyable. Brabantia is at the heart of the household, the place you return to every day and where you feel at home. We love to look ahead. We are already thinking about how to make the business more beautiful for the next generation.”

The new Brabantia

Much is changing in household chores and everything surrounding them. We live in smaller houses, we eat out more and cooking at home has become more of a hobby. “We still look at all the trends in the market and act on those. I have almost all of Brabantia’s products at home and I test almost all of them before we release them to the market. Today’s Brabantia is about products that make life just that little bit more beautiful, pleasant and sustainable. At the moment, I am very proud of our latest products, the Bo Touch Bin and the Linn collection. They are a reflection of the new Brabantia: a combination of useful tools and interior design.” In other words, stylish and practical!

“In the early years, we made cans and mugs from old oil drums”

Sustainability

Sustainability matters to Brabantia and that is not a recent development. New products are made from recycled materials wherever possible. One example is the newIcon pedal bin, manufactured from 50 per cent recycled materials. “Just after WWII, we made cans and mugs from old oil drums,” Tijn recalls. “We were recycling even then! And we shall continue in the future. We want to hand over a completely recyclable business to the next generation. To achieve that, we are working on several big initiatives, and we continue to look at new products. Waste separation at home is important, for example. That is why we developed the Sort & Go trash bins, the Bo Touch Bins and the Regrow kit. The Regrow kit can be used to regrow leftover vegetables such as cabbages, spring onions and carrots.”

 Brabantia’s goal is that 100 per cent of the products it manufactures are Cradle-to-Cradle certified at Bronze level. At present, 90 per cent of these products are certified.  “Because raw materials are running out in the long term, we try to do more with less. We also ensure our products last longer and that spare parts are easily available, to extend the life span even more.”

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