The Pitch: Funkie Collective

Every month, an entrepreneurial EUR student is put in the spotlights in ‘The Pitch’. The entrepreneur answers five personal questions related to entrepreneurship and gets thirty seconds – and only one take – for a video pitch. This edition: the ‘Rumble Romeo’ and ‘Jealous Juliet’ of Funkie Collective. Three friends, one passion for hot weather and cool sunglasses. Wesley van der Hoop (27), ESE student Pim Kühbauch (27) and web developer Stefan Luk (24) are the founders and owners of Funkie Collective: an online shop that sells affordable sunglasses with interesting names like ‘Rumble Romeo’ or ‘Jealous Juliet’. They launched their shop in the summer of 2013, and are currently expanding their product range for the upcoming summer season. These ambitious guys are not all about the money: part of their revenue goes directly to the Dutch Cancer Foundation (KWF Kankerbestrijding).   

When and how did you decide to become entrepreneurs?

Wesley: “Stefan is a developer and designer and I am an online marketeer. We figured that if we would work together, we could practically sell anything on the Internet. I checked out some suppliers and came with the idea to start selling sunglasses. Personally, I really like sunglasses, I just think they’re cool. I met up with Stefan to discuss my plan, and we immediately decided to go for it and ask Pim to join us. We’ve all been friends for a long time, about eight years already.”  

Pim: “Wesley and Stefan hate doing administration and taxes, which happens to be something that I like. So I guess that is one of the reasons why they wanted me to join in the first place, next to the fact that we’re good friends.”

Pim and Wesley

What are your entrepreneurial qualities?

Wesley: “I think an entrepreneur mainly has to be passionate about what he does, and to be willing to take risks. On a personal level, I think we all have different qualities. I am very impulsive and a little chaotic, and Stefan is very creative. Pim is pretty structured, which creates a balance. The fact that we are with three people is also a benefit. When you’re on your own, you can  procrastinate, but when you’re with two other guys you really motivate each other.”

Pim: “We’re also on the same intellectual level, and nobody really takes the lead. So in the end, the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and we all bring our own qualities to the company.”

You can buy sunglasses anywhere. What is your unique selling proposition?

Wesley: “I think we all like to be creative and don’t do things the standard way. We sell special models that you don’t find anywhere, for an affordable price, ranging from 9 to  23 euro. But it’s more than just the sunglasses. Most online retailers just stuff their product in an envelope, but we chose to deliver them in a box with some nice little extras. We also wanted to have our own names for our products, and came up with the idea to use the military alphabet. Resulting in names like ‘Rumble Romeo’.”

Why did you choose to give part of your revenue to the Cancer Foundation?

Wesley: “For me it has a very strong personal reason, because I lost my mother to cancer two years ago. By donating 50 cents for each pair of glasses to the Cancer Foundation, we want to give something back to society. It sounds a little corny, but it’s just the way it is. We mainly work on Funkie Collective for fun, we don’t do it to make loads of money. I also double the amount of money that goes to the foundation myself.”

What are your future plans?

Wesley: “In two months time, I’ll move to Kuala Lumpur for a year.”

Pim: “We’ll have meetings via Skype, but otherwise, it doesn’t change much. We do have to make clear agreements though, how often we’re going to talk and things like that. Or we’ll just end up doing whatever we feel like, because he’s in Kuala Lumpur anyway.” [laughs]

Wesley: “I’ll be closer to the supplier, so I could pay them a visit. I think Kuala Lumpur is a pretty nice place to do photo shoots, so it’ll definitely make our website look more exotic.”

Pim: “The ultimate goal is to have a range of websites, and to live off the revenue. That would be the best thing that could happen to us. But for now, we’re just having a lot of fun with Funkie Collective.” IS