1016 AN Amsterdam
2011 HP Haarlem
Instagram ID: @concrete_matter
Who are you and what is your role within the store?
My name is Tomas Huveneers, together with Jacob Garvelink and Bruna Zelic I run Concrete Matter. We have a small team of enthousiast hard working people. We all have multiple tasks to fulfil in the company. I would say mine is mostly to make sure the wheels keep spinning which means I am busy with buy-ing in, doing the administration and making sure everyone in our team feels at home. On top of that, I am also (day)dreaming about the next steps for Concrete Matter.
Can you describe what kind of store you have, or working in?
Concrete Matter is a store concept based on pure passion for what we do. We don’t take short cuts when it comes to this, neither do we like to take the easy route.
We are constantly busy in looking out for ways to source quality pieces. These can be pieces from days gone by, but also new items which still breath the quality of the times when things were made to be better than your competitor instead of cheaper.
Concrete Matter store in Amsterdam
When we started back in 2013 we sold everything but clothing. In those days we offered a wide range of unique items ranging from vintage photography, antique globes, airplanes as well as new stuff from old and established brands like: Opinel pocket knives, British made shaving sets and colognes and much much more. If you now enter one of our stores you will find mostly vintage clothing. We are still searching and offering the best products, but now in a wearable form. We are constantly looking amazing pieces ranging from American classics, timeless military classic and of course denim and other work wear items.At the moment we have one store in the famous 9 Streets district in central Amsterdam and one in one of the most popular shopping cities in The Netherlands, Haarlem.
Concrete Matter store in Haarlem
Which brands are the core of the store collection?
We source quality vintage, so not simple second hand stuff. This means we really love classic American brands like Pendleton, LL Bean, Filson and Woolrich. But also Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler and when it comes to leather Schott is amazing of course. We have one new brand which we really love and that is Pike Brothers. What we really love about Pike Brothers is that they make clothing based on the originals items and that their value for money is amazing. We also offer a great range of the most iconic army pieces which are of course unbranded, but everyone should know pieces like the M-65 field coat, the fishtail parka to name just two of many more items which we always have.
a wide range of unique items
Is there one brand in particular that is selling the best at the moment, which one is it, and why do you think it’s so successful?
Pike Brothers. It is our only actual new brand next to the vintage items at the moment (apart from several accessories brand like Hestra for example). Pike makes beautiful products for your hard earned money which will outlast anything you can buy in the standard fashion store.
How do you select/spot new brands to add to the store?
What we decide to buy and not to buy is a gut feeling, you could call it our business compass and also our identity as a brand. We always know instantly if a piece is something we want or not. In this we try to ‘educate’ our customers a bit too. Showcasing our style and making the choices for them so to say. We try to sell as much unique vintage pieces as possible. But if we want to add another brand, we first look at the quality, the story behind it, their ethics and exclusivity.
What is your favorite pair of jeans?
The Pike Brothers 1958 Roamer pant 15oz or a classic Levi’s 501 pre 1980’s. Both great pants. Pike has done an amazing job with their raw denim pants and this specific style I like so much because of the fact that it is a bit wider than normal jeans making it a great pants to wear with boots. The Levi’s 501 is one of the most iconic blue jeans out there for a reason! Finding the made in in USA pre 1980s ones has become harder and harder but they just can’t be beat!
How important are social channels to the store these days?
They are a life line in many ways. Our social channels are very import for our store as they are a unique way to communicate with a world wide audience. We can showcase what our brand stands for and it gives us the opportunity the engage on many levels. We use our social channels to tell the stories behind our products, but also to show customers a glimpse of our daily lives in the store. We like to think that our social channels are place for people to come to for inspiration, knowledge and also fun. Thats why we try not to take it too seriously, but at the same time they do eat up a substantial part of our time!
What kind of music are you playing mostly in the store?
We actually listen to quitte a range of music. We have 2 playlists on spotify where you can find a lot of classic rock, country, soul and blues.
Are selling other goods as well next to clothing, if so, what kind of products?
Yes, we also offer: Japanese Pocket knives, American Optical Sunglasses, Stanley Thermos flasks, Field Notes stationary, handmade jewellery from 877 Workshop and quite a lot of Mantiques like vintage globes, molecule modelles, framed prints and other curiosa to spice things up and make our stores a place of discovery.
What can we expect in the future of the store?
We are collecting old fabrics for a while and at the moment working on creating a few garments ourselves. Besides that we hope on finding more great unique vintage pieces.
Jacob Garvelink (l) & Thomas Hoveneers, owners Concrete Matter