An adventure in importing from China shower degenerated into one of the fastest growing companies in the Netherlands. As the backbone combination webshop and physical showrooms. "In the showroom we sell a bathtub, the shower curtain on the Internet," says co-owner of Sanitairwinkel.nl Rob van Laarhoven (28) against DeOndernemer.nl. Telecom fighters growth miracle The fastest growing companies He founded the company together with his brother Erik (31). Five years ago the brothers from an attic in Rosmalen Sanitairwinkel.nl. This month they were at a gala dinner in the Fokker Terminal in The Hague honored for achieving second place in the Fast 50 for fastest growing tech companies in the Netherlands and Belgium. The figures speak for themselves: 3500 percent revenue growth over five years. This year the brothers expect the 7.5 million sales tapping. They have 30 people staff. Money-box Rob and Erik emptied their piggy bank in 2006 in Guangzhou, China a trade visit, at the invitation of a friendly importer of Chinese goods. "We had always had the idea that we needed to go. You can buy everything from paper clips to tractors," says Rob. Bathroom mirrors While combing the exhibition was the purpose of import of sanitation, such as shower doors, shower enclosures and bathroom mirrors. "My brother worked in an installation for ourselves before we started, so we had an affinity with technical products," explains Rob out. "Moreover, in this industry a lot less competition than for example the consumer." Prefabricated building From the parental home in Rosmalen, the brothers began their plumbing shop. It soon proved too small attic room, which their father a prefabricated building in the garden left tackle, so the company could grow. The sale of Chinese stuff was such a success that the great sanitary brands naturally knocked. Erik: "Now we sell mainly branded products, such as Villeroy & Boch and Grohe." Egg The brothers expanded the shop already in the first year with a physical showroom in their first company. Later large showrooms in Kruisstraat in Den Bosch and Kalmthout in Belgium. In those two branches, both brothers lost their egg. "I am very online minded, my brother again feeling with sales," says Rob. Shower The shop and showroom complement each other well, according to the brothers. Rob: "Customers order soon not a complete bathroom over the internet. A bath or furniture you want to see before you buy it." Small bath products go online or like hot cakes. Sanitairwinkel.nl retrieves therefore 50 percent revenue from internet, the other half is won in the showrooms. Erik: "In the showroom we sell a bathtub, the shower curtain on the Internet." Respect The showrooms give the shop more respect, says Rob. "Just by our shop to communicate on the Internet, you radiate confidence to the customer." Showerhead Online Sanitairwinkel.nl would include the difference on the internet easily found to be. "If you Google vanity searches, you should not be with us on a showerhead come", says Rob. The company has since three people full time on it. "There is a list of perhaps 300 criteria that you must meet in order to be easily found on Google. PR is important, for example, many websites link to us," explains Rob out. Retailer The online bathroom farmers want to grow in the coming years with new showrooms. Sanitairwinkel.nl should become a retailer. "We continue to make a difference online but offline see our chances," said Rob. That must happen gradually, not too much risk. "We want to expand their own money. Earn first, then spend," says Erik. Amsterdam The first step is put next year with the opening of a showroom in Amsterdam. Rob: "We wanted necessarily within the Amsterdam ring sit and we succeeded. We hope in a year to say that it is a success."
gloriacalzita is based in Quezon, Central Luzon, Philippines,
and is a Stringer for Allvoices.