Why this Dutch materials supplier is moving away from show-and-sell retail strategies

Utrecht – Remote working is changing the way creatives – particularly the younger generation – access resources. Taking note, interior materials brand Baars & Bloemhoff teamed its HQ in the Netherlands with a training centre for knowledge exchange between architects, makers, designers and students.

The arrival of Broeinest UTR (the ‘UTR’ stands for Utrecht, its location in the Netherlands) means every Baars & Bloemhoff location is now interwoven with a material library. No surprises there – these folks are in the business of materials after all, materials that have resulted in product collaborations with the likes OS & OOS and Lex Pott. But they’ve now combined their own offices with a training centre for knowledge sharing and upskilling in the fields of materials, techniques and entrepreneurship. No membership required.

‘As a company we don’t believe in the traditional push-marketing strategy,’ says Johan van der Meer, one of the Baars & Bloemhoff in-house team responsible for the interior design of the project. ‘We cooperate with a lot of Broeinest partners in our training centre [broeinest translates to ‘breeding ground’], so we offer a lot more than only our products. We sincerely believe that clients will buy our products anyway if we help them with the right advice and/or knowledge.’

Within the shift towards e-commerce and digitization, Baars & Bloemhoff sees physical training centres and material libraries as an important piece of its omnichannel strategy. ‘We’re making big steps in the digital era,’ says Van der Meer, ‘but a lot of our clients still like to see, feel and experience materials in life.’


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