Get to know Leonie Hendrikse
To answer the question of who I am and how I became that person, I’ll have to think back to my early childhood, back when we first lived in Sydney and in Singapore and were about to head to New Orleans. We were moving around a lot because of my father’s career as an engineer. But we never made it to New Orleans. One day my father came back from America. He got into his car despite his jet lag because he wanted to get back to his family as quickly as possible. He died in an accident on the way home.
But life went on for the three of us: me, my mother and my brother.
"The designs that I create in my mind have become more structured and target-focused as I get older.”
The loss of my father taught us early on to make the most of life. In that respect, my older brother Patrick was always my role model. He founded his own company when he was only 20 years old. He dared to go his own way, which was not the custom at the time. By doing that he created numerous spaces for people to meet and enjoy life. I realized that even a half-full glass has its value. Self-deprecation, humor, and a positive French-influenced outlook on life help me to concentrate on what’s really important and avoid wasting my time on petty issues.
After my youth, which I spent in the Dutch town of Bloemendaal, I entered the next phase of my life, which included college in Amsterdam, long-distance travel for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and various exciting jobs—until I discovered my true talent while working at Wilhelmine van Aerssen Agenturen (an interior design agency in Amsterdam). While working there, I trusted my intuition and started to do what I was good at: creating my own designs. My inspiration, my instinct for colors and compositions stems from a long line of strong and creative women. At our house, there was always a sewing machine on the table. My mother can really do it all. She sews “vogue couture” in addition to beautiful drapes, and she even upholsters chairs and seats. My grandmother was among the first women to attend an academy of arts and kept drafting documents until she was 90, while my great-grandmother Lizzy was a successful still life painter.
Getting older absolutely has its advantages. The designs that I create in my mind have become more structured and target-focused as I get older. I’m eternally grateful for the chance to work with such a reliable team that works at my speed and is able to implement my flashes of inspiration. Stock Dutch design, my dear friends, and my family are my life. They are what inspires me to work with passion day after day. I simply can’t imagine a more fulfilling life.
Foto: Brenda van Leeuwen