Reshoring is currently the ultimate trend. The Dutch brand Secrid, inventor of the Cardprotector, is an expert in that field. ‘We have had almost all the parts produced in the Netherlands right from the very start”, says co-founder René van Geer. He predicts that producing in your own country will become the most normal thing in the world during this interview.
Secrid was founded by René and Marianne van Geer. They developed their unique and, above all, super safe Cardprotector in 2009, which can be used both loosely or form part of a wallet. Nowadays, Secrid’s cardholders and wallets can be found in more than 7,500 selected (web) shops across the world. René and Marianne work on improving and further developing the Cardprotector and their company every single day, together with their three children and almost a hundred colleagues.
Can you tell me about Secrid’s journey so far?
One thing’s for sure: it has certainly been a bumpy ride. Our first cardholder, the Bodycard, was an activity in addition to our design agency Spirid from 1995 to 2008. We learned that it makes good business sense to focus on one activity during those twelve years. That’s why we decided to take stock of things and say goodbye to our design agency during the crisis of 2008. Instead of designing for third parties, we decided we’d prefer to develop and produce products under our own management. So from that moment on, we were completely focussed on a new cardholder, allowing us to remain much closer to our own vision and objectives. One of the things at the top of our list of priorities is good, clean and socially responsible production. We therefore have almost all the parts produced in the Netherlands. We only obtain a few parts from Belgium, Germany and Italy, simply because they are not available in the Netherlands. Plus we stand for excellent quality. Only the best is good enough. In the unlikely event that products suffer a defect, we make sure this is repaired.
Why did you decide to keep the production in your own country?
Let’s turn the question around: “Why produce so far away when it can also be carried out close to home?” It’s interesting to note that producing in China is the standard and that producing in the Netherlands is something you have to explain. We don’t think that’s right. At the time, we simply didn’t see a need to go abroad. In fact, we identified many disadvantages where producing in China was concerned. We also noticed that many companies chose to produce abroad in order to save on environmental costs. We didn’t want to be part of that. We believe production based on the strictest environmental requirements is an important responsibility for every manufacturer. And guess what: you can easily make competitive wallets in the Netherlands with a smart design and pleasant partners.
How did you approach this?
Classic billfolds are labour-intensive and therefore expensive too. Producing in the Netherlands became an option for Secrid because we had thought up a totally new concept and had subsequently developed the production processes and tools ourselves. Our production time is therefore shorter than for classic billfolds. However, this doesn’t mean our production is fully automated. We provided work for about three hundred people at various production locations in the Netherlands in 2019. The staffing levels for our wallets is temporarily much lower during this 2020 ‘Covid year’, but fortunately many of our suppliers still have plenty of work.