For almost ten years, stylist Ingrid Korteknie ran a well known toy shop in Amsterdam, but she decided to go a different way with a web shop filled with handmade products.

Why did you close your toy shop, De Sprookjeskamer (‘The Fairytale Room’)?
“When my sister-in-law and me started back in 2000 we were unique. We styled our shop with a fairytale theme and we let our love of Little Red Riding Hood and things with polkadots on them run rampant. It was an amazing time, knowing we were on to something unique. We also came up with our own products and, while we were having fun, we managed to change the look of the average toyshop. You couldn’t find our combination of (themed) toys, clothes, shoes, dress-up costumes, bedroom items and a mixture of kitsch and anthropological items anywhere else. When so many other shops followed our example and the crisis hit it was time for us to make a change. Either we’d continue selling just items we’d bought and stop designing our own stuff or close up shop. In my heart of hearts I’m really not a shopkeeper, but a stylist who loves unique things. So we shut up our shop.”

Why did you start drawing and sewing?
“Once we’d closed the shop I fell into a bit of a hole. I didn’t have an actual shop anymore, no money either and I really needed to find a job. But nobody wanted to hire someone my age. To quench my rising panic I started to paint. It relaxed me. I took all kinds of courses in folkloristic painting techniques and once I found a way to print them on to 100% cotton fabrics I finally regained my enthusiasm. Then I just got behind the sewing machine with no prior knowledge, I learned so much just from YouTube.”

 What are your plans for the future?
“One day I’d love to combine all of it, painting, sewing and coming up with products I don’t have to produce myself. I have a great (styling) eye for a niche within an existing collection. I don’t come up with something new… I add to what’s already there. My greatest wish would be that in future I wouldn’t have to have a ‘regular’ job.”