Lieke van Dijk
March 2017 | Sofia Simeonidou
“Only lately I realised, or better accepted, I’m a creative person,” she said. Full of energy, inspirational, with great taste. Here we talk about her love for candelabras, travelling, and ideas that become more than projects. Sharp and direct, the way I like it.
I love the work you did with LUNEdot. Tell me more about the product.
It’s a unique candle concept in terms of functionality, and design. Consists of a tube, a candle, and a base plate. The colours and the minimalist design are part of what makes the candle holders dearly special. There are endless styling possibilities by using/mixing different colours and sizes. And because of its innovative modular concept, the candle looks as it never burns down. That’s some magic, how great is that?
Also good to note is that everything about LUNEdot is made traditionally, and manufactured in the Netherlands.
How did it all start?
I had the idea, and the creative urge for a long time. There was something about the timing that was never right. The timing, and me not being 100% ready to go out and do it. A year ago I decided it was time to do it or be silenced forever (laughing). I started working on it slowly during the w/ends. And then I participated in my first exhibition. From there on I went to the Dutch Design Week. Rosanna Orlandi discovered me, and that was it. I was up and running. I launched LUNEdot last August.
Is it more your business mind or your creativity?
I can finally accept I’m a creative person. Most of us have to choose a study at a very young age. I chose Law. Thankfully, I had a rewarding career as a legal advisor, and a highly paid one. But on the other hand, I never got the chance to try something else.
For the last 7 years, I’ve been working as a legal advisor for the metal industry. While visiting my clients, I felt this need to create something. I felt somehow jealous that there was a final product; they were producing something tangible. That’s where the idea grew on me. I thought “You know what? I’ll become a bit like my clients.”
And by the way, that’s why LUNEdot is made of metal.
So what makes for a successful product?
In my case, that’s a unique concept design that works. And affinity. The moment you see the product you think you know it forever. A lot of people say its clever. But it’s simple. There are a few expensive candleholders and candelabras in the market and way too many that look the same. There’s not much in between. Well, now there’s LUNEdot.
The moment you see the product you think you know it forever.
Should good design be affordable?
I wanted it to be affordable, and I wanted it to be made in NL. I had to scale price and business goals. In general, I think that all good things need to cost more. Otherwise, they might not be “good” enough or ethical enough, considering the sale you’d have to make to manage production.
Follow intuition or research?
I’m an intuitive and enthusiastic person. But with LUNEdot I did a lot of research. I was postponing the big launch out of fear. Too much research is a great excuse to never go to market. It’s just like your little hiding corner. But you just have to do it and either you win or you lose. For me, it all went well in the end.
How easy or difficult is it to combine practicality and beauty when designing consumer products?
The initial design wasn’t difficult because I knew exactly what I wanted. The design on paper was easy but to make the product functional, and follow up with the idea, was more difficult than I expected.
What inspires you?
Travelling. I’m like a child when I’m somewhere else. It’s like I have my eyes back. That’s when you have the kids’ eyes again. I also love the kringloop winkels (charity shops) and the surprise factor of not knowing what I’ll find there.
How do you launch? Where do you start?
It’s always good to have a network. Although this wasn’t really the case with LUNEdot. My network is in a different industry. What helped me with launching, and with marketing, and the product, was my social skills. I understand whom I need to know, so I get to know them. I’m an enthusiast, and I don’t give up easily. I believe I know who to talk to, and how to explain and sell the product.
So what is your go-to-market strategy?
Well, you can always invest money on marketing. And the good news is that nowadays you can promote your product with less. You can have a good online presence, reaching a bigger audience. Of course, it depends on the product, the market you’re into, and the conversions you’re interested in.
I don’t have an elaborate marketing strategy. I prefer to invest that money in new production. That’s what’s costly. And I’d also invest on participating in international exhibitions and networking events. I’d go to all if I could afford it. My latest is the Masterly-The Dutch in Milano event (masterly.nu), representing Dutch Design. I’m super excited about it. I also have more ideas, and even additional products, that we work on. But yes, financing new production is an issue.
Being self-employed, how’s your work and life balance?
I enjoy being self-employed. I was working a lot before. It was difficult to separate my life from my work. I’m getting more comfortable now with LUNEdot. I also have the opportunity now to involve my kids in what I do. I try to have the kids around whenever possible, and for them to help with a few aspects of the product. For instance, they can help with packaging. They love doing that, and so we spend some good quality time together.
Are you an organised person?
I’m not an organised person and it’s so time-consuming. Previously I had a secretary; someone else was responsible for organising my work. But I’m working on it. I wish to become more organised and methodical with my time. Time is always an issue when you’re self-employed.
What’s your favourite motto?
Sharing is the new having. I love the sharing economy concept. I try to follow this with everything we do, holidays, work.
Patricia Urquiola! I like her colourful aspect.
What’s the album you’d dance to?
To think about it now, I’d dance to Morcheeba!
Do you exercise?
A lot or not at all.
Where do you want to go next?
I’m literally going abroad. When you’re self-employed, like I’m at the moment, you aren’t bound to stay in one country. My husband is self-employed as well (having 2 start-ups) so we can travel, and do the things we always wanted to do. I love surfing; we want to spend more time with our kids, invest a good time on LUNEdot. LUNEdot has been more successful than I’d ever imagined. So why not go all the way, and make life decisions? Another reason I decided to follow my dream is in order to live the life I want, change my lifestyle. It’s time to take it all the way.
And there are more ideas for new products we ‘re working on. So you’ll be hearing more about LUNEdot in the future.
All LUNEdot products can be purchased here or in selected shops in NL and around Europe (see website for a list of resellers)