Mathilde Kamphuis (29) and Nathalie Zoeteweij (25) are besties ánd the sparkplugs behind T.I.T.S. store in Amsterdam. Correct, that does mean This Is The Shit. And it is the shit. They’re the only ones selling awesome (clothing, accessory, interior, beauty) brands like Skinnydip and The White Pepper, there’s a boyfriend corner (consider it the Ikea ball pit, but for grown ups) and next to clothing a lot of stuff you just really want in your life. Chapter Friday had a lovely talk with these Besties in Business.
What’s the best about business?
Nathalie: “That you’ll easily get to see the results of your effort and hard work. Like, a year ago we were looking for the perfect place for our store. The whole process from scratch to finish was amazing to pass through really. And now, all the lovely reactions we get, all the inspiring people we get to meet, oh boy, that makes us very happy people.”
Your number one startup lesson?
Mathilde: “Take the plunge, but only if it feels good and only if you’re confident enough. Don’t doubt your capabilities.”
Nathalie: “Be well prepared! Make sure your business plan is accurate and reliable. And go talk to other entrepreneurs, for advice but certainly for inspiration too.”
Working with your bestie: what are the pros and cons?
Mathilde: “I can only think of pros. It’s so nice to work with someone you know well, someone you don’t have to tell how you’re doing. It’s nice to have your bestie around when business isn’t going too well, but also when you’ve got something to celebrate.”
How did you know your motivation were inline when you thought about starting a shop together?
Mathilde: “Before we started T.I.T.S. we were already working together and were neighbors, too. So we knew each others way of working. We like to work hard, to give it our all. We’re not the nagging type, only happy faces are allowed (except perhaps for the first hour of the day). We’re both professional, but definitely know how to have fun as well. I just knew that it was a good idea, starting this with Nathalie. You have to be able to follow your intuition.”
Nathalie: “I had just graduated from Artemis and finished the House of Orange makeup course and was trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go in. Styling? Or makeup? A steady job, or a freelance position, or something completely different? When the thought of opening a store came to mind, I was overjoyed. I was already working with Mathilde and since she was also looking for a new adventure, I thought: bingo. So I asked her to hop into this store-adventure with me. And she said YES!”
Do you guys have a specific role and responsibility?
Mathilde: “Absolutely. Nathalie has a creative background and I studied Fiscal Law. So that makes me responsible for things like administration and accounting. Nathalie is good with social media and kills it when it comes to styling our store or bringing new ideas to the table. I’ll come in to check whether it’s doable or not. We do have a rule: if one of us has doubts, it’s not happening.”
Nathalie: “Correct. Nothing to add!”
So how important is honest communication when you work with a friend?
Mathilde: “Véry. Though I do always ask myself whether a problem is significant enough to mention. Certain problems solve themselves over time, so they’re not worth bringing up.”
Do you see each other outside of working hours? Do you go on trips together?
Mathilde: “Oh yes! We love to party together, and we go on inspiration trips. Next month we’re off to Copenhagen and preparing for that is half the fun. We’re definitely besties in business.”
Nathalie: “Looking forward to Copenhagen, yes! I love to discover new labels and draw inspiration from concepts that work in other cities. When not on the road for work we go to festivals together, and we love to throw T.I.T.S. party’s.”
What’s your default strategy for resolving conflicts?
Mathilde: “This may sound weird, but we’ve actually never had big disagreements. But if one ever comes along, as long as you’re upfront and honest, everything is solvable.”