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The Kindred Spirits® Founders
This is where it all started
“We share a love and passion for traveling, the beat generation, music and design”
Martijn: Jovanna and I met at a fundraising organisation for charity organisations where we would hit the road every day of the week to put up events to raise awareness and money for the good cause. We shared a love and passion for traveling, the beat generation, music and design.
Why makers of boots and accessories?
Martijn: On one of our trips we ended up in Morocco where Jovanna discovered this beautiful old boot made out of a old kilim rug and leather. Having worked with local artisans in various projects around the globe in my younger years I always had the urge to set up a company around local produced textiles and products you find on the road made with love and care. It's an exciting possibility for me to turn dreams and ideas that inspire me into reality.
Jovanna: The concept of the boot was inspiring. To create something new and useful from rubbish. But the quality was very low, the fitting terrible and it did not live up to any standards that can be expected from a boot that should last and beautify with age. By working with the original concept but taking the production in our own hands and handpicking the rugs ourselves we managed to produce high quality products within the original concept.
What are your best on the road memories?
Jovanna: The hunting and collecting for the most beautiful textiles is very rewarding and brings us to the most interesting places around the world and leaves us with endless stories to tell.
Off the beaten track anything can happen. Meeting locals artisans and seeing all the varieties of sun dyed colors, patterns and structures that are never ending. It’s incredible to work with such diverse products. The rugs and textiles we use are all handmade and tell thousands of stories about their makers and tribes. Which they are always happy to share.
What inspires you?
Martijn: obviously traveling and different cultures. But we also find lots of inspiration in music, art, design and the daily life in the city of Amsterdam where our flagship store and headquarters are based.
Jovanna: Amsterdam is a creative and liberal city and famous for its nightlife and summer festivals. Our Kilim boots took flight during the festival season in Amsterdam, and from there we were able to reach the rest of the world.
What do you consider the biggest challenge in your work?
Jovanna: To continue to travel and be on the road all the time and still find time to build a company and collection can be challeging at times. If only the day had more hours to it.
Martijn: Working with kilim rugs and textiles that are not meant to create shoes or bags out of is a real adventure. The textiles we find create our collections, not the other way around. They come in thousands of different weave structures too, so cutting them can cause problems from time to time. Some of the kilims are extremely damaged which makes it hard to cut identical pieces for the left and right feet.
What do you enjoy most in your work?
Martijn: I like the results, seeing new found patterns and textiles and century old symbolism being created into unique products, the experiences and the constant stream of new projects, but the thing I enjoy the most is interaction and exchange with local artisans and other entrepreneurs.
Which personal qualities do you need to work at the Kindreds?
Jovanna: Remaining true to yourself, which means keeping both feet firmly on the ground, taking a new look at ever-changing contexts and situations and not losing sight of the big picture. Ever.