Who am I and how it all started;
I am Saskia Kroon - van der Kamp, owner of Kalenderwinkel.nl now 37 years young and born in Zuidhorn (near Groningen), living together with my partner Robin, son Jurre & daughter Bente, 4 cats and our Welsh Corgi Twirre.
In 2003, I came into contact with various suppliers at the Dibevo days (trade fair for pet shops). At that time, I had no experience with selling via the Internet, but started selling dog stickers via Marktplaats. In 2004, the website dierenartikel.nl went live and in the years that followed, it expanded into a webshop with more than 10,000 pet gift items. During this period, I also took the paraveterinary (veterinary assistant) course and got my diploma for this in 2006, and I immediately started working as a paraveterinarian.
2004 - 2014
In the years after 2004, we opened 3 more webshops, Kalenderwebwinkel.nl, Dierenkalenders.nl & Shirtwebwinkel.nl However, it became positively busier and busier, but consequently increasingly difficult to combine the shops with the work in the veterinary practice, where I worked passionately for years. This made me decide after a good discussion with our accountant to opt completely for the shops.
After resigning from the veterinary practice and saying goodbye to all the lovely customers and pets in April, I was able to fully focus on the webshops from May 2015, resulting in more orders, faster shipments and even better, happier customers and that's what we do it for!
January 2016 I turned out to be pregnant with our first son Jurre, this made us decide to make things a little easier in the future, to merge the 4 shops into 2; Kalenderwebwinkel.nl & Qwebwinkel.nl The result of this is that we offer fewer products, can keep more stock and deliver much faster.
On 10 October our son Jurre was born, right in the middle of the busiest time of the year! With helpers, it was a bit of a push through the last months of 2016 the busyness of the shop, a fair and a baby.
Meanwhile, we are already busy preparing to sell 2018 calendars.
Every year it is a treat for me to see which calendars are coming for the new year, with great enthusiasm we pick out the most beautiful & fun ones for our customers!
With lots of love, care & passion, every order is packed for you, Jurre even got his own taper roller after he was born.
Having just recovered a little bit from all the hustle and bustle the last 3 months of 2017, in early February we got the request & opportunity to take over the webshop Kalenderwinkel.com from Comello, alongside our current shop Qwebwinkel.co.uk
Comello is 1 of our suppliers that we have had very good contact with for years.
Talks followed and we finally tied the knot in early April, we are doing it, and we are embarking on a new adventure!
There was still some work to be done, but we succeeded.
1 May was the day and the revamped Kalenderwinkel site went live.
For the new year 2019, a lot of new calendar & diary titles are planned. We are still busy adding all new articles, but we expect to pass the 2000 different titles this year.
Given the arrival of Jurre in 2016, we can no longer be found at fairs in the Amersfoort region, however, like all years we will be present again in December at the Winter Fair in Garderen, entirely in Dickens Style.
2019 - 2023
As you can see, it's been a while since I updated these details.
So a lot has happened :-)
Let's start 2019 in February with the birth of our Daughter Bente! A happy little girl who, with her mostly pink clothes, puts a smile on everyone's face.
So yes, then we had 2 kids! hands full, and with the shop and space we were becoming increasingly limited in the current situation!
We had to look for another house with business space, plans for the coming year.
So in 2020 it really had to happen, busy looking for a house, with space to grow with our webshop.... that was a tough job! Amersfoort, Hoogland, Ede and towards Arnhem we couldn't find anything suitable and affordable. Besides, Corona was knocking everyone over!
Viewing houses didn't make it any easier either.
Eventually, in the middle of Corona's start-up, we bought a house in Zeewolde and were able to rent a large shed from an acquaintance just under 10min cycling distance.
The rush in 2020 and the 1st half of 2021 was huge! Puzzles were flying around our ears and the 1st lockdown was a fact! Orders went like crazy, and we got the kids home as presents! So we took them to the office, fortunately we have space here and there was a playroom, but it wasn't ideal!
Oh yes, not to forget that in this year we also took over a webshop from a competitor who wanted to quit, which in addition to corona also resulted in extra orders.
So in the first quarter of 2021, the train was still roaring along, but due to the enormous growth of the puzzle, our space was already too small, so we had to add an extra floor to our premises to create space for the calendars & agendas! So we set to work, sorted out and arranged everything, and by the summer we had a mezzanine with some 140m2 of extra storage space :-)
At the end of 2021, Corona was back on its feet again, fortunately. At the beginning of 2022, we finally got some air to catch our breath after two very strange years. We are lucky that neither of our families have suffered any serious illness or death.
2022 has been a relatively quiet year, the hustle and bustle stabilised again.
Then the year 2023 arrived, time for an internal renovation!
The puzzles all have to go up on the mezzanine floor so that the calendars and diaries will be downstairs again, this is a lot safer, as in the past two years we have had to lift a lot of bins and boxes down the stairs.
The shop is not standing still either, as we have recently added two more shops Shopcalendars.com and Hondenkalenders.nl.
There is relatively high demand from outside the Netherlands and through Shopcalendars we hope to make many more people happy with our calendars.
Furthermore, there are many more things on the agenda.... more later!
Saskia, Robin, Jurre & Bente
And don't forget my parents Fred & Marga, our packers!