It's safe to say that the fact that vtwonen grew into the second fastest-growing brand in the Netherlands can be attributed to its cross-media effectiveness.

In addition to the magazine, there is an event, a web shop and a TV programme. vtwonen also entered into an exclusive marriage with the decorative DIY retail chain Karwei. Ard Siekerman, Sanoma's Dutch brand director Home Deco, and manager category management Ronald Erftemeijer from Karwei tell the story.


Ard Siekerman, you were proclaimed Cross Media Man of the Year in 2015. The jury named you as the architect behind the success. How did you steer vtwonen in this direction?

Actually, that route had been chosen long before my time, when the first vtwonen paint was launched, 20 years ago. We’ve been producing vtwonen products alongside the magazine ever since. Consumers don’t just want to be inspired, they also want action. Three years ago we decided to buy a full service e-commerce company, which we called vtwonen.nl. Visitors can shop there, watch videos, create mood boards, you name it. It’s a crossover between content and home deco stuff. We also started producing TV programmes on SBS6 about 18 months ago, growing our brand audience from two to four million people. In addition, we not only rebranded the Woonbeurs into vtwonen & design fair, we changed the set-up too.



Ard Siekerman, Sanoma's Dutch brand director Home Deco.

"We also started producing TV programmes on SBS6 about 18 months ago, growing our brand audience from two to four million people"


Ronald Erftemeijer, manager category management Karwei.

To what extent does this marriage with Karwei add to the positive trend?

Siekerman: It was a very important step. Karwei sold our products in the right way and was already a valued media partner. And if you look at its communication, you see that Karwei really is a great fit with vtwonen.

Erftemeijer: In this case, one plus one really do make three. As A-brands, we complement each other well, and that's quite rare. Rather than getting in each other's way we reinforce one another in terms of communication power and positioning. Karwei stands out as the hardware store of choice if you want to decorate and put the finishing touches to your home. And vtwonen, an excellent partner in the decoration domain, completes the picture.

"Rather than getting in each other's way we reinforce one another in terms of communication power and positioning"

How did you shape the collaboration?

in 2015 the magazine circulation increased by± 30 per cent.

Siekerman: We started collaborating more strategically about five years ago. vtwonen floors were flying off Karwei’s shelves and window dressing was going really well too. A few years ago we decided to work together on all fronts. We started by building special vtwonen houses in the stores to give us extra presence. We also sat together at the creative drawing board, for TV and new product lines. Karwei is a licensee of vtwonen products, which works well. For us it’s all about brand experience and it’s important for us both that we sell many things.

Erftemeijer: In working together we listen to each other with open minds and exploit one another’s knowledge and expertise. We combine design and communications with retail and product knowledge. And it just keeps getting better; initial successes have already been booked and it can only improve.

"For us it’s all about brand experience and it’s important for us both that we sell many things"

And what exactly does a vtwonen house look like?

Erftemeijer: The house is a kind of shop-in-shop, a showroom of products in which we show how you can combine vtwonen products with Karwei’s. They clearly demonstrate the added value of this collaboration between us. You can show customers everything online, but in a store they can pick things up, touch them and experience them. vtwonen houses inspire customers to make certain decisions.

Siekerman: There are now nine such houses in Karwei stores. And if it's left up to us that number will definitely grow.

Erftemeijer: We are now assessing whether these houses actually increase revenue. It certainly seems to be going in the right direction though.


Vtwonen started building special  houses in the Karwei stores to give extra presence.

What new products will come off your drawing board this year?

Siekerman: We have high hopes for the garden furniture line created by our stylist and the Karwei crew. This really is a product line that we have created together and one that we are really proud of.

Erftemeijer: It's very exciting. You can invest significantly in such products, but that's the fun of the game. Expectations are running high.


Vtwonen also started producing TV programmes on SBS6.

And what's in the pipeline for TV?

Siekerman: We are really entering a new level in that area. There’s to be a second series of 10 episodes, focusing more on consumers who are busy with their homes. We now have more time to prepare for the episodes, so we’re confident it will deliver some great TV.

Erftemeijer: Thanks to this extra preparation time there's more opportunity for Karwei to really leave its mark. In the first series we had to arrange everything quickly, but we considered it a good pilot. This year we plan to follow through on that success. We see it as a commitment to each other and to absolute quality.


 "We see it as a commitment to each other and to absolute quality"

Facts & Figures 2015 vtwonen

  • ± 30 per cent magazine circulation increase
  • 120,000 monthly circulation vtwonen
  • 600,000 print reach
  • 900,000 unique visitors per month vtwonen.nl
  • 250,000 fans on various social media
  • ± 30 per cent growth in advertising revenue