In our "Inside Bellerose" series, we decided to meet with Bjorn. Part of the team since 2013, the story between Bjorn and Bellerose actually goes way back. Officially our retail and marketing coordinator, we invite you to discover the numerous facets of the talented man with the Red Wings shoes.
When did you start at bellerose? And why did you choose to work here?
I started working for Bellerose in the Spring of 2013. I actually got to know Bellerose when I was still in my early / mid 20's – I’m turning 37 soon. I used to frequent the Ghent store often, since I was drawn to the unique, slightly off-kilter vibe of the brand. I loved the fact that I was able to find some of my favorite brands from overseas there, such as Clarks Originals, Red Wing, Penfield, Barbour etc. After having worked for Levi's for 5 years I was ready for something new. When the opportunity to manage the Bellerose store in Rue des Chartreux (downtown Brussels) presented itself I just went for it. I immediately loved it, though it felt a little strange at first after having been a Bellerose customer for quite some time. The Chartreux store is very cool, it’s smaller and located in a beautiful, old building (which used to be a butcher's shop) in a lively, fashionable neighborhood. After about a year and a half of managing the store I switched to a new job at our office, assisting the Retail Director at the time.
What do your tasks consist of? What do you like the most in your work?
Good question. A few different things but my main responsibility is managing our stores in Flanders & the Netherlands. This includes recruiting and working with our store teams, animating and training them, following up business on a day-to-day basis, analyzing performances, as well as being the back-office support for these and our other stores. My own experiences in retail come in handy there.
Other than that, I’m also involved in our marketing department, mainly by writing, editing and bouncing back ideas. I write all descriptions for our e-shop and our collection texts, which is fun yet demanding at times, but I love writing. There’s a few more things but I’ll leave it at that. All in all, I love the variety my job has, it allows me to see different parts of the spectrum and I still learn every day from the talented people I work with.
How would you describe the Bellerose style ?
Though our Men’s and Women’s collections are quite different from one another, some of the key words that always come to mind are definitely authenticity and individuality along with a certain nonchalance. I dig the natural comfort and ease that make the brand very adaptable to different styles and personalities.
What does your life outside of Bellerose look like ?
I live in Borgerhout, Antwerp with my girlfriend Esther and our daughter Stella (she’s turning 4 this summer) so obviously, I spend a lot of my time with them. Other than that, I’m a music nerd so I often go to shows and concerts, I love digging through crates in record stores and record fairs, I love good food (bur who doesn’t?) and I also play indoor soccer.
When did you start your own musical projects ? How are they going today ?
Currently I’m in a band called Chain Reaction. It’s a band some friends of mine started and I joined them a while back. We don’t play out that often but have released a demo and will record a 7” EP soon. I’ve been in bands since I was about 18 years old, some better than others but I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed playing music and it’s enabled me to meet a lot of great people and see large parts of the world.
What word best describes your musical taste ?
I grew up on a diet of mostly hardcore/punk as a teenager but throughout the years I’ve developed a love for a wide range of music. So I guess my tastes are a little eclectic, which doesn’t help when you’re somewhat addicted to vinyl. Some of my favorite bands and artists include the Bad Brains, the Cro-Mags, Elvis Costello, the Stooges, the Smiths, Morrissey, Hot Snakes, Quicksand & the Stone Roses but I could literally go on for hours. Looking at this list I realize that most of these artists were in their prime in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s but I do enjoy a lot of new music as well. Some current favorites that I’ve been listening to are Ryan Adams - “Prisoner”, Supergenius – “Supertired” and Power Trip – “Nightmare Logic”.
What do you think about Red Wing ? How would you describe your style ?
Companies such as Red Wing with a rich tradition and history, along with unbeatable craftsmanship are definitely an inspiration. Authenticity can’t be faked. So yes, Red Wing is one of my favorite brands, I have a pretty large collection by now, mostly Moc Toe Boots and Chukkas. They all usually take a while to break in and get comfortable but once you reach that point they are the absolute best. As far as my style goes, I’m kind of a denim and workwear guy – I love classics done right combined with a rugged or urban twist.
Coffee or tea ? Other addictions ?
Coffee and tea are alright, Coca-Cola is the real deal though. That and chocolate are my vices of choice.
If you had to be reincarnated into any animal of your choice, which would you choose?
Probably a bear. Given my first name it seems like a logical choice.