Interview: ‘Who’s your dad?’ Sander van de Vecht
Meet Sander van de Vecht, he is 40 years old and married to his beautiful wife Eva. Together they have two kids, Mick (3) & Lara (1).
He has been working in the denim industry for 15 years and since the last 3 years he is running his own companies, Denim.lab & Furniture.lab. Denim.lab is a premium denim brand for men & kids. Furniture.lab is a modern aluminum furniture brand for home, office & garden.
We sat down with Sander to talk about his experiences as a dad.
What is the first thing you did when you found out you was becoming a dad? And who was the first one you called?
The first thing I did was doing my best not to tell anyone as of course a lot can happen in the first weeks… but basically I quit my (unsatisfying) job soon after I realised it is now or never to venture into my own company dreams.
When the time came to tell people we did it all face to face as experiencing the reactions is such a great thing, and you can really pull nice pranks on the parents. We brought some presents on a normal Sunday brunch… and the first gift was for my mom: a box of tissues. My dad got the second gift which was a baby spoon in shape of a fire truck. But my mom’s gift was already enough for her to guess what was going on.
Can you tell us something about how you handle parenting? Are there specific values? What do you teach your children?
We try to keep things as analog as possible; play outside as much as we can, go into the woods, riding bikes and be adventurous. That said, it is not easy… TV and iPads are always luring and sometimes needed to calm the kids down. Once they grow older we will see what they like doing but we should have showed them enough positive things for them to decide.
How did becoming a father change your life?
It was for sure the single largest change in my life (and way of life) and changing that routine in a few month’s time is not easy. The most noticeable change was my relationship with Eva, besides being my lover, now she is also my business partner in ‘running the family’. Having both our own companies and now adding a mini-me is asking for a lot of communication and ad-hoc flexibility of both. The first half year I was working from home so Eva could start working again, and in between I had to do my monthly business travels… so planning and flexibility were key.
Can you describe your personal style? What are your favourite brands? And If you could only take 6 items of your current wardrobe, what would that be?
In summertime, I wear a more streetwear style but always combined with denim, mostly worn with Nike’s or Vans shoes. In winter time I would switch to a more contemporary denim style, but still a clean look, not much vintage nowadays. Since I mostly wear my own Denim.lab brand in denim and shirts, I have the habit to spoil myself with things I cannot (yet) make myself. I am Nike sneaker addict, but also have a long love affair with technical outerwear. A brand I really like is a young Dutch label called: Black Mountain. If I would make jackets, it would be exactly like this; amazing functional fabrics, taped seams, hidden pockets and a modern approach on heritage designs. Like Arcteryx meets Barbour.
– my Denim.lab Yenko 454 dry denim
– my Denim.lab oxford selvage shirt
– my Aspesi wool blazer
– my Burton AK camouflage jacket
– my nike.lab X fragment airmax zero
– my Oakley frogskins sunglasses
Do you often juggle with work and being a father?
I guess on a daily base, finding the balance is not easy especially with two young companies that need more attention than I have time for and two young kids asking for the same.
It is too easy to say: ‘family comes first’, as when having your own company, it is like having an extra family member and they all need non-stop attention. Time management between the both is essential and unfortunate due to my work not always steady manageable.
How are the roles divided between you and your partner?
Eva is the steady base at home and I am the variable side wing. Since both of us have independent jobs, we are very flexible in our options and choices how we manage the week. Now the kids are bit older they are going to day-care together and we mix in drop-offs and in general we go a pick them up together. The DC is close by so we always walk which is also fun for them.
Is there anything in your partner’s wardrobe you really hate?
I tend to dislike some of the disposable fast fashion items, but that is an occupational habit I guess.
How do you like to see your partner dressed?
She looks stunning in black cocktail dresses but I prefer to see her in her favourite jeans.
What is your favourite destination? And if you have the opportunity to pack your bags with your family to move anywhere in the world, where would that be and why?
I love the mountains. Altough moving there would be a step too far maybe, but considering, Vancouver would be an option. I love that city and British Columbia. But I would probably choose for California, that matches best with my preferred lifestyle and it has everything to offer from surfing to mountains to long Sunday cruises…
Which gadget cannot be missing (out) in a dad’s life?
Hate to say it, but my IPhone 6+ basically runs my whole business. From my emails, dropbox files, my webshop, my online marketing like Instagram…everything. Second would be my Fujifilm Pro2 camera, I always carry it with me especially during my travels.
Name a dad with style that inspires you:
What is your ultimate daddy must-have?
A classic Jeep Wagoneer (woody)
What was the stroller you used for your baby?
Bugaboo, the denim edition. (I couldn’t resist)
Name any restaurant in the world which is your favourite and why?
Rue Cherche Midi: This is a very small traditional Italian restaurant on Rue Cherche Midi in St Germain, Paris. Where I have been coming every single trip for the last 10 years. The 3 option menu never changes and they have the best burrata and truffle pasta. The tables and seats are so small that you do not dare to get up for the bathroom as at least 4 people need to stand up for you and move tables.
What are your favourite holiday destinations with kids?
Since a few years we go to Thailand every November, which is a work-holiday trip for me in a very busy production month. So we decided to combine it with a beach break and island hopping.
What do you do when you are in need of inspiration?
I book a trip to Bangkok.
When you go out with your friends, in which club can we find you?
We will probably be in Maarten’s Mancave.
What’s your favourite drink?
An Ice flaked Asahi draft beer.
What is the best place to go to with kids in the weekend?
Definitely the outdoors in our village. We have great sand dunes surrounded by forest where we can hike, bike or just picnic out in the dunes.
Are you aware of your health? Do you exercise to stay in shape? What are your thoughts on your health?
The normal schedule is 3x a week to the gym; 2x after work during weekdays and on Saturday’s I go with Eva and the kids since they have a great kids club at the gym. In the garage you will also find a mountain bike and a racing bike, altough both became a bit dusty in the past two years. Lastly, we eat very healthy and avoid candy and sugared drinks especially for the kids.
What are the three beauty products, which you always have on your bathroom shelf?
My hair wax and my Aesop facewash and my Aesop eye crème.
What is your favourite city in the world and why?
Bangkok, best city in the world for food, best night markets, vintage markets and the best hotels with top notch service.
Is there anything you want to do or accomplish?
True balance in life.
Name 3 things on your bucket list?
Restore my dad’s 52 caddy. Build our own house. Get a dog.
What is your favourite family car and why?
That would be a classic Jeep Wagoneer, a woody. One of the most iconic family cars every made.
Where do we see you in 10 years?
Still wearing jeans, working 1 day a week less (in the weekends) and still traveling with my family around the globe to show my kids the world.
Any tips for new dads?
Travel the world together before having kids and don’t wait too long if you want to have a second (or 3rd). The sooner the diaper bin is out of the house, the better.
The Dad I would like to suggest for the next “Who is your dad” is….