From Stroopwafels to Hagelslag, welcome to the Dutch Adventure.
Updated: Mar 2
It is an honour to welcome you to our first edition newsletter.
BRANDSYSTEM is a Dutch company.
This month we follow the founders of BRANDSYSTEM as they get the company set up in The Netherlands.
As all good stories and epic adventures go, we had a bit of a rough start thanks to storm Ciara. This meant that we had to miss our flight from London to Amsterdam, leaving us stranded in the city of tea and, fortunately for us, Five Guys. This was what the Dutch like to call a "geluk bij een ongeluk". We are big fans of this fast-growing burger joint as it's a prime example of a brand that delivers on its "brand promise", a term that you will hear a lot from us.
Apart from the incredibly fresh food and very tasty burgers and fries, Five Guys is extremely good to their employees. Their Glassdoor rating of 3.4 is an amazing feat as the business has expanded to 1500+ stores in just 35 years, making it one of the fastest growing franchises to date.
What really stood out for us was the clean, honest interior design. This mirrors the brand's core value of "Don’t beat around the bush. Say what you mean. Do what you promise." Their focus on staying true to their values is refreshing, as they don't just SAY the things that make them unique, they DO them.
This was the best burger I have eaten this year:
The city of London marks an important moment in BRANDSYSTEM's inception.
Callie (more about him later), Jeanine and myself had a very important google hangout scheduled with Bradley Michael (CEO), Steven Kastoun (CFO) and Ravi Singh (COO) the executive team of Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group. This was our time to onboard a very integral partner that will help us develop BRANDSYSTEM for the Retail and Hospitality market, and as time zone differences would have it (Seagrass is in Australia), we had to present 02:30am.
Needless to say, the meeting was a great success as Steven had this to say after the live demo; " Thank you for your time today, thank you for sharing your system, you should be proud."
There where a lot of high fives going around after that.
It was also the place where we concluded our equity deal with the very inspirational Bradley Michael. With his guidance and support, we can only achieve greatness. Welcome aboard Bradley, may this be the start of big things to come. We where also fortunate enough to get a very special treat from him and his team at the new Butcher and the Farmer.
I just have to take the time to compliment the team at the Butcher and the farmer. Omar the store manager is incredible, he went out of his way to deliver on a special experience. The waiters were incredible, such love and passion for what they do. We ended up speaking to the chef about how they pickle the side veg and how they get that unique cinnamon aftertaste. The vibe of the entire restaurant was fantastic! Truly a brand poised to deliver on its promise.
An interesting fact that we have to bring to your attention to is that our first co-founding partner, Callie van der Merwe, and his team at Design Partnership Australia designed this store. It was such a great experience to see this project go from sketch to reality in such a short space of time. Callie has been instrumental in the conceptualisation of the "Add new store" feature in BRANDSYSTEM as his knowledge and reputation in the industry is incredible.
Callie is the handsome guy on the... no that's David Beckham... on the right. Yes Callie we think you are more handsome than David.
Our trip was all about business and maybe some horses along the way.
Our first big meeting in The Netherlands was with INCO Business Group in Breda. So off we went from Utrecht to Breda to meet with the team that helped us with all the paperwork to get the company set up in The Netherlands. As a side note; The main reason for our quest to the country of cheese and bicycles (besides it being renowned for creative spirit) is the love for tech startups. As you may be aware, The Netherlands is the home of many well known tech startups as the country is geared to offer the right environment, tax incentives and skilled development teams that get the challenges of creating something new and different.
So a typical trip where Jeanine and I are the co-pilots, it normally means we always get lost. And to add to the confusion, INCO has its offices in the middle of an equestrian estate. Luckily for me, I had some horses along the way to keep Jeanine distracted while I pretended to know where I was going.
Our meeting with Dennis Vermeulen (CEO/Founder) and Yuliya Postma (Legal Counsel) was extremely enlightening as they took us through the motions of establishing a global business with its roots firmly grounded in The Netherlands. We also took the opportunity to present BRANDSYSTEM and our go to market plan. Our focus was on the help we need to establish the perfect founding development team. They where excited about our company and our future.
We went to meet a friend and we missed him.
One of the reasons for visiting The Netherlands during this time was to meet with a dear friend of ours. Marcel Klaasen (The Executive Head of Business at FNB). He was hosting his YPO in Amsterdam and wanted to hook us up with some of the connections he had the opportunity to make over the years. Well, thanks to storm Ciara, we completely missed him, but in true Marcel style, he went out of his way to help us meet with some really cool folks. The first was Artem Galchenko at a tech incubation firm called Rockstart.
A map of the companies that Rockstart has helped.
It's amazing how with every meeting we have, we manage to build a network of excited, like-minded enthusiasts of BRANDSYSTEM along the way. Artem was more than helpful in our discussions and we look forward to potentially working with him and his team at Rockstart. His enthusiasm and interest was infectious.
So now that we are dressed for success, where to from here?
We have our company set up, we have our funding and our BETA clients, now it is time to build the team and get through our MLP phase. We look forward to getting the right people involved from the start, our founding team that will help us build a company with an impactful and inspiring legacy.
Here's to navigating our business to infinite success.