Typical Aartsen


What is typical Aartsen? How does this family business stand out from the pack? In a series of articles entitled ‘Typical Aartsen’, we take a closer look at the characteristics of the company. In previous articles, we described quality control, the product range, talent

development, brand policy and financial reliability.


The outside world

To the outside world, Aartsen may appear characteristically quirky. In a nutshell, quirkiness means having peculiar or unexpected traits or aspects. If you consider this definition without being judgemental, it’s a strong asset. Without quirky entrepreneurs, inventors and intellectuals, there would be fewer developments and innovations.

Quirky people discover, dare and do.


There are people who confuse quirky with stubborn. Stubborn is generally understood to

mean somewhat obstinate. This notion differs fundamentally from being quirky. At Aartsen, people simply see the value of being somewhat self-willed. Younger people can sometimes be unreasonably obstinate. They easily cross the divide between being somewhat obstinate and being unreasonable. By gaining experience, making mistakes and getting it completely wrong on occasion, you learn that being unreasonably obstinate gets you nowhere. And when a person learns how far to go, they can harness the benefits of being self-willed.

Unique strategy

Aartsen conducts business in a distinctive way. The company is not a follower. It does not look at other companies to replicate their performance. This family business has its own

strategy, which is reflected in all aspects of the business: commerce, staffing, culture, and

renovation and expansion, to name just a few areas. Everything is done in a unique manner. It is etched in the company’s DNA.

In the DNA

Right from the start, being quirky has been part of the company, which can be

traced back to the Aartsen family. The people who lead an organisation, company or department influence their colleagues. This situation is no different at Aartsen, where quirkiness filters down from above. The leadership style sets the tone for the organisation as a whole. This approach has achieved success for more than 110 years. Obviously, being quirky is not the only way to succeed in business, because there are countless organisations that do things differently and are also very successful. However, for Aartsen, this approach bears fruit.

In practice

Steadfastly pursuing a strategy is also a form of being quirky. For example, Aartsen doesn’t work with chain stores and the company does not do exports itself, even though its competitors do and Aartsen has sufficient opportunity tofollow suit. Yet these strategic choices are well considered, as Aartsen does not fall in line. Yes, this attitude could certainly be considered quirky. The company also takes a unique approach to recruiting staff. They don’t headhunt staff from other companies; Aartsen trains its own

employees. While some have said that this. strategy makes Aartsen a training institute for others, it’s largely a training institute for Aartsen itself because its employees are generally very loyal, simply because they enjoy their work and receive the recognition that they deserve.

Quirky employees

Of course, Jack Aartsen has clear ideas and views on how the company should be run, but he

appreciates everyone’s input. Opposition is indispensable. The directors and management

team certainly influence the company’s development. They improve everything with their ideas, plans and experience. Aartsen wouldn’t become better, more successful or more fun if its directors and management team consisted solely of yes-men and -women. Everyone has their own point of view, contributes something unique and ultimately influences the joint decisions. Being somewhat quirky and constructively stubborn is

also necessary for the commercial department to function properly. Yes-men and -women and people who quickly change their minds don’t really add value to the commercial team.



Quirky partners

What is expected of partners? Cooperating with partners internationally works best if you

see eye to eye when it comes to standards, values, beliefs and cultures. If it clicks, both

parties get the best out of working together. If there are no similarities, or only a few,

cooperation is often short-lived. A relationship based on mutual trust works better among

like-minded people. Quirky partners also offer input, ideas and developments from which

Aartsen can learn and grow. Note that you don’t always have to agree completely,

because there are partners who are even more quirky and stubborn than Aartsen. However, when working on the basis of mutual respect, recognition and common commercial ground, there are endless possibilities.

Critical customers

At the other end of the spectrum, you have Aartsen’s customers. Being quirky or, more

specifically, critical isn’t an unfamiliar characteristic of the company’s broad customer base.

Critical customers keep an organisation alert and on its toes, while quirky customers ask

questions that ensure everyone’s attention. Such customers also force the company to be

critical of itself. In this capacity as well, they are indispensable.

Genuine compliment
Distinctive, self-willed, quirky. If the outside world sees Aartsen as quirky, the company takes it as a genuine compliment. Now that’s what you call typical Aartsen.