At Rinkel, we are extremely proud of all our customers: hard-working freelancers, entrepreneurs and teams who use our services wholeheartedly. In order to increase their accessibility and appear more professional, among other things. This time, we take you through the story of Ellen Brudet, owner of Coloured Goodies in Amsterdam. She can be reached on a national 085 number. When she is in the shop, she wants to remain reachable by phone. The functionalities of her Rinkel subscription match her needs exactly. With her favourite being the opening hours feature.
How did you come up with the idea of founding Coloured Goodies?
The idea actually started back in 1966. My father is of Surinamese descent and my mother is Dutch. And me? I am a proud double-blood. Because my mother wanted me to relate to the dolls I played with, she was looking for a dark doll. Believe me: those were hard to find. It wasn't until I was 9 years old that my mother found one. Only by then I was no longer interested in it.
Later, when I got pregnant myself, the penny dropped for me too. Nothing could be found for a dark baby: not even a greeting card or a toy. And although I immediately knew: this has to be there, I didn't immediately take the plunge. I did not yet see myself as an entrepreneur and also had a full-time job.
What changed that you finally did take the step?
In 2006, I took the first step by participating in 'Women at Work': a women's empowerment course that focuses on entrepreneurship and guides you in forming your idea. This is also where the name Coloured Goodies originated and my motivation to take the step as an entrepreneur. This is how I initially started making birth announcements alongside my job.
However, things didn't work out immediately. My health problems did not make entrepreneurship easy. Namely, I have COPD, a lung disease, which leaves me with only 31% of my lung capacity. Although it was a difficult period in my life, it has also been a tremendous eye-opener: I was not my disease. I was just Ellen! And positivity is what it's all about, because with COPD I can just live to be 100.
From market stall to physical shop
Against the advice of my doctors, I started selling my products on the market in Amsterdam. But: I did it and I just did it. My shirts with the text 'Moksi baby' or bibs with texts like 'Give me roti' caught on pretty quickly and how proud I was of that! Being rewarded for my perseverance only gave me more energy.
In the beginning, I financed everything myself: so I put every euro back into the business and had to turn over every euro. Only in 2016, when I set up my physical shop did I take out a €10,000 loan to fill the shop. But that money ran out in no time!
What was it like starting a physical shop?
A physical shop is different from an online shop. It really didn't happen by itself. There is a lot involved when you open a physical shop. This made it difficult, but also very instructive. Now people know how to find our shop in Amsterdam and we have increased our turnover and profits since the opening. So you can say that a physical shop has been a good move for us!
Do you also have the ambition to set up a second shop?
The ambition certainly, but that is definitely not our focus. This shop is really the base and we mainly focus on online sales. That's where the most profit can be made for us. Besides, we are also still the only physical shop in Europe with a suitable offer for people of all backgrounds! As a result, there is already a huge amount of attention for our concept. Both in the Netherlands and abroad.
Do you run the whole business alone?
I have been working in the shop together with my husband since 2016, and since autumn 2020 I have hired a business manager. She mainly focuses on providing structure. For example, in the production of dolls or purchasing of fabrics. With her arrival, we hope to realise the next step soon: the Coloured Goodies franchise! We want to show the Netherlands that we are more than just a doll shop. Coloured Goodies really is a philosophy and deserves more stage than just in Amsterdam!
What is your end goal?
My very biggest dream is to have a Bijenkorf-sized building where all coloured entrepreneurs can rent a luxury space. We are already taking steps in the right direction to start realising this, so I am sure I will succeed too!
What is the secret of your success that you would like to pass on to entrepreneurs?
You have to do where your passion lies. It's about the energy and power you get from what you do. That power I get from making people and children happy with beautiful products: that's where I get my happiness and inspiration from. Then the perseverance and drive to make your business successful comes naturally!
What I also find very important is that, above all, you have to believe in yourself. There will always be sceptics, that was the case with me too. But I have always continued to believe in my brand, my vision and my product! Don't let a (physical) disability hold you back, you can do business even with a disability. Look at me!
Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It is hard work every day. But for me, and I know a lot of entrepreneurs with me, it is absolutely worth it. I am extremely proud of where I am today with Coloured Goodies and I am far from finished with entrepreneurship!
Are you also inspired by the story of Coloured Goodies? Then be sure to read our other blogs, aimed especially at (starting) entrepreneurs. Full of entrepreneurial tips and lots of inspiration! ↓↓