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Head of swatch department Astrid Bertrums

Whenever you hear uplifting Latin music, you know Astrid is nearby. Our head of the swatch department is a ray of sunshine, and her colourful outfits perfectly complement the equally expressive fabrics around her. Which is precisely where she prefers to be. "I just really love fabrics," she says.

A creative at heart

Dozens of piles of swatches, cascades of the new collection and many rolls surround her. In other words, endless lengths of fabric. You couldn't make Astrid happier. After all, as head of the swatch department, she is involved with textiles and creating beautiful swatch books for customers every day. "I love fabrics and like being creative. I used to make a lot of clothing, cushions and other things for the home." Astrid also doesn't shy away from refurbishing and upholstering furniture. She laughs: "I would never think I can't do something. You just have to give it a go and see if it works."

Astrid Bertrums

Under the Spanish sun

This hands-on mentality has taken Astrid a long way. For instance, she ran a fabric company with her husband John. Not entirely coincidentally - as John is a cousin of Floris. In other words, the love of textiles genuinely flows through the Bertrums family's veins. "We also purchased part of our fabric collection from B&B Fabrics and sold it at the market, went to trade fairs and we had our own showroom."

Yet the enterprising couple wanted something different. In fact, emigrating abroad was a long-cherished dream. “If you want something, you just have to go for it,” Astrid believes. So she, John and their two sons moved to Gran Canaria almost 20 years ago - without speaking a word of Spanish. For them, however, this was no obstacle. In fact, within one year, the foursome spoke Spanish and was fully at home in the local community. "You shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes. At the beginning, I didn't understand anything about the language either, but we threw ourselves into the deep end." And that meant no Dutch TV at home, adapting yourself and even a job as a translator for Spanish doctors. "If you spend hours in the car with a Cuban doctor who doesn't speak English, you do learn the language at some point," Astrid says.

That their entrepreneurial heart kept beating also proved to be the case under the Spanish sun. "We heard that many people we knew missed Dutch food. It wasn't available anywhere here. John and I looked at each other: ‘We have to do something about that'." The pair bought a small shop, ordered a food container packed with Dutch food and started a supermarket. After all, 'I can’t' is not in Astrid's vocabulary.

However, when they opened their doors on the very first day at 8am, they looked lost. "No one came. It was eventually 9.30am and I thought: this isn't going to work." Fortunately, that thought had entered her head a little too early, because less than half an hour later there was a metre-long queue in front of the door of hungry Dutch people. Astrid's eyes start twinkling from the memory. "It was suddenly SO busy, really a madhouse. People were wrestling over the last ‘roze koek’ so to speak."

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 "You get to be one of the first to see the new collections. That's just a lot of fun."

Back home to the fabrics

After 15 years of living in Spain, however, it was time to return to the Netherlands. Back to family - and back into the world of fabrics, it turned out not much later. "Floris asked us if we wanted to work at B&B Fabrics.”

John is now an indispensable factor as account manager and jack-of-all-trades, and Astrid is also right at home as head of the swatch department. "You get to be one of the first to see the new collections. That's just a lot of fun. Even if a design is not quite my taste, I can still enjoy it." Astrid's colourful style, as she is always cheerfully dressed, therefore fits in nicely with the B&B fabrics. "I often love the digital prints, very expressive. But even when I see a tapestry, I get excited. You can really go either way with that. You can cover a chair with it, but also make a jacket out of it, for example. The texture and quality are beautiful."

Speaking of which, there is another new collection waiting for Astrid. “Time to get back to work," she says. And that means turning up the volume knob on the radio. Inviting salsa music sounds from the speakers. So, it still feels a little bit like Spain in picturesque Berlicum.

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Logistics team leader Vincent Lamers

Easy-going Vincent is a true team player and therefore feels completely in his element as team leader of the logistics department. "We work for and with each other, no one is on their own." And with that sentiment, he and our warehouse staff ensure that you, the customer, get your favourite fabric rolls quickly.