Vera de Ruijter – Brainy Days in Amsterdam
Can you tell us about yourself?
I’m 28 and have been living in Amsterdam for 10 years. As a kid I was always looking for new adventures and Werkendam, the little town I grew up in, couldn’t bring me enough inspiration. After a short stay in Utrecht, it was time to move up to the big city. Fresh in Amsterdam I was well out of place during my first year at AMFI (Fashion & Branding), but it ended up shaping me to the Vera that was still ready to bloom.
Why have you started this?
I have always been collecting things and thoughts, which I was combining to new concepts and ideas. After my graduation I started as a freelance creative spirit, in which I shaped these ideas into commercial concepts.
The idea of Brainy Days started about two years ago and always had the same slogan; Think, Collect, Create.
Brainy Days is a combination of everything I love and love to do; styling, branding, photography, interior design, fashion. After some sidesteps, everything came together and I decided to take on the big adventure of opening the Brainy Days theme store.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My inspiration comes to me at any given moment of the day, I always see hundreds of things around me that inspires me, from shades on the wall to reflections in the water, and from people in their daily routine, to packaging of beautiful products. Everything is interesting.
Who inspires you and why?
My partner in crime and boyfriend extraordinaire, Hans. He helps me with all the business related things that are not my cup of tea (like finance ;-)). But most of my inspiration comes from small details, like the way the lead singer of Little Dragon performs and the way the customers walk through the store. By observing their reactions I can come up with new ideas and improve the store by restyling continuously.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Well last month wasn’t quite a typical month, since we opened the first theme store, webshop and published the online magazine. But mostly I wake up to a full e-mail inbox with all the creative people and designers I work with for Brainy Days. I combine my morning with Brainy Days and the freelance jobs from home. During opening hours I’m in the store, always busy with new ideas, helping customers and enjoying my own adventure. Since I’m not a morning person, most of my creative input comes in the evening, always exploring and looking for new brands for the new theme in July.
Can you name some of your favorite places in Amsterdam?
- To Eat: Paviljoen van Beuningen, especially the shakshuka brunch. Trust me, you definitely need to try this! For lunch De Laatste Kruimel, best sandwiches of Amsterdam!
- To Drink: Early – Coffee & Juices, Alex gives you the best way to start the day. Try the red-beet ginger juice. Late – Gin & Tonic cocktails at Razmataz. Besides a very, very good drink, the presentation will bring enough inspiration for the evening.
- To Relax: The usual, where you get the most sunshine; Hannekes Boom, Roest, Pllek and Noorderlicht.
- To Shop: Tatski & Kar, Cottoncake
What is the hotspot in Amsterdam that is still on your bucket list and why?
Lots of restaurants; Rijsel, Wilde Zwijnen, Bak, Luwte, Hotel Not Hotel…
Several Brainy Days theme stores, ready to explore in the major European cities. Who says you can’t dream big?