'Confident with customized sneakers'

Start Up Campus Haarlem in conversation with Amber Straathof

Foto Amber Straathof Hoofdfoto

Amber Straathof (20) is a second-year International Creative Business student in The Hague and makes custom sneakers with her own company 'Customizies'. She has already made more than 200 custom sneakers.

‘Everywhere I go, I see opportunities’
'I am creative and driven. Everywhere I go, I see opportunities. And ten new business ideas pop into my head every year. Yes, I am an entrepreneur. 

Although I like to take the initiative in a project, I can also move along with a team. The most important thing for me is that we achieve a result in good cooperation. In a group I bring positive energy and always that creative angle. That is my strength.

I am also a bit impatient and quick. Then I sometimes say to myself: 'Tone it down, Amber'. Haha! The funny thing is, when I started my own business, I went into it with full focus. Then, I am very precise about it. I won't stop until it's perfect.'

Wethouder Hilbert Bredemeijer met Customizies sneakers

Hague Skyline for the Alderman
‘With my company Customizies, I specialize in customizing sneakers. I buy the sneakers and paint them on commission. It is customization. There are endless possibilities, examples are Pink Blossom, Rick and Morty cartoons, Lion King, and Feyenoord sneakers. I have already done over 200 commissions. One of the nicest assignments was a pair of sneakers for Hilbert Bredemeijer, the Alderman for Education, Youth, Sports, and Services of The Hague. National Vitality Day in September 2022 was the Hague Sneaker Day. On the sneakers, I drew the Hague Skyline. I was invited to the city hall and got to hand this pair to him myself (photo). It is so cool that I allow others to express themselves through their sneakers. They are unique messages. This is also how I am found around gender reveal parties and weddings. That I can be a part of that, I find very special.’

Foto Amber Straathof2

There is a market for this
'At sixteen, during corona time, everyone started picking up old hobbies. I started a new one! That's how I started. With a pair of sneakers, paint, and a video on TikTok. That immediately had over 100k views. Then my entrepreneurial brain went on: 'There's a market in this'.

It wasn't immediately perfect, it was just fun. I experimented a lot. Different paint, different sneakers, more complex designs. At first, I only shared this with my friends and family. But social media pushed my videos well. Then my friend said, 'If you want to do something with this, you need to invest in professional materials.' And that's what I did then. I follow trends closely. At one point, brown shades were in. They were not for sale in stores, but I could make them very quickly. I make what my generation wants. That catches on.

I work on a personal product. That includes a personal process. Think about listening carefully to the client's wishes and coordinating and sending photos in between. I want them to experience a sense of pride and joy when they have the sneakers on. I want my clients to feel confident in their shoes. Literally and figuratively. That's also what makes my job so much fun.'

Foto Amber Straathof Customizies

Equal sparring partners
'In September I started the Growth program at Start Up Campus Haarlem. The monthly workshops give me lots of practical information as well as lots of ideas. That is so valuable to me. The group is full of equal sparring partners. When I ask a question or have a challenge, immediately everyone starts thinking about me. Everyone wants to help. Every time, I go home motivated and inspired. That helps me so much.'

Everyone starts somewhere
'To anyone considering entrepreneurship, I would say: do what you love. If you're doing something you enjoy, it doesn't feel like you're working. I often experience people who are afraid to present themselves. In entrepreneurship, you have to. Remember: Everyone starts somewhere. Start small, and then don't be ashamed of it. Social media is a perfect tool to go public with your business. It has done so much for me.

About SUCH

Start Up Campus Haarlem is the place for entrepreneurial students of Inholland University of Applied Sciences. Through an inspiring five-month program of events and workshops, you work on your business, and entrepreneurial skills and grow your network at lightning speed. Entrepreneurship begins at Start Up Campus Haarlem! Want to know when the next Start or Growth program starts? Check out our Instagram or website.

Comments 1 - 1 (1)
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sanket choudary
how to an a account
Patrick van Loon
Hi Sanket,

On the website https://www.customizies.nl/en go to Order Now. Or scroll down on the website and check 'How does it work?'