PEOPLE OF THE MONTH – INTERVIEW WITH SASKIA DE KNEGT FOUNDER OF WOO

 

Saskia  de Knegt is a designer and a businesswoman who puts together projects based on passion, quality, equality and “Savoir Faire.” Since 2012 Saskia proposes a vision ultra creative on home interior products via her label «WOO » and always reveals products more startling and audacious. If Saskia were a typographical sign, it would be a trait. A trait like a furrow that specifies a thought. A trait which carried a philosophy that tries to understand the society before defining her products. In short, a woman who relies on today to write about the places of tomorrow. Between conversion, rehabilitation, and creation, she traces her path.

The WOO philosophy?  Light up tomorrow with today!

Here’s the proof!

 

 

 

 

Bliss: Saskia, how did WOO start? What was the process of starting your own business like?

Saskia: The idea for WOO started in 2009 with an idea – an idea that I would like to create beautiful products to indulge and share that would benefit not only the people using the products – but also the people who actually make them. It took me three years to bring the first WOO product to the European market. It was a lot of work to create the suitable brand, source our beautiful European perfumes, get all suppliers together and the many other things that were required to set up a business & to create something unique.

 

 

 

 

WOO | A love story

 

 

Bliss: What was the idea behind the name WOO and your logo?

Saskia: WOO is about strength and passion.  We can all create a positive impact in our lives if we connect, share and ‘move.’ WOO stands for Worlds of Opportunities.

 

Bliss: It is remarkable that you set an extraordinarily great value upon the working and production conditions. There is much talk of environment protection, sustainability, workers and women rights, ethical principles, social responsibility and so on. Why are these issues so important to you?

Saskia: I started WOO as a premium impact brand. With the explicit mission to impact the lives of people in a positive way. Aside from my background in Branding – I had a medical background and worked in Development Aid.  WOO works as in the inclusive business model. We create Business – a Brand – with that we try to take care of people and the environment as good as we can. We are not perfect yet. However, we strive to do as many things as we can in a  good way.

 

 

 

 

 

Bliss: The history of your brand is today very established in the Netherlands,

How important is it to you that the company is originally a Dutch brand and how does the heritage influence the brand?

Saskia: I am from Amsterdam, but I also lived in Vietnam for a long time and also in the US and other countries. Our team is truly international. Coming from Europe is, of course, a key to the unique design and the high-quality standard of WOO.  The Dutch Culture is result-oriented and straight forward. I am a high energy person. Therefore I like to move and get things done.  Further, I am a perfectionist, and I am keen on transparency.  Energy, quality, and passion are key elements for WOO.

 

 

Bliss: How have you been able to build your brand while staying true to Vietnam’s heritage?

Saskia: We believe in co – creation. We carefully studied the various and stunning skills and resources of Vietnam. This country is amazingly rich with beautiful materials, craftsmanship, and people! WOO has a strong Vietnamese team that supports me to understand the Vietnamese tradition and culture. Vietnam is changing these days rapidly. We learned that Vietnamese women love our European design, our exquisite perfumes, and ideas on co–creation, and passion. WOO is a true LOVE brand.   Love for others and caring for your family are strong values in Vietnam. WOO enables people to buy gifts for their beloved ones to show them that they deeply care for them. And care for others too. That is a WIN-WIN.

 

 

Bliss: Woo’s candles and home fragrances are so special! Each scent smells unique and contains so many different notes. How long does it take to achieve the perfect scent?

Saskia: It took me more than three years to find one of the best perfume houses in Europe. We made thousands and thousands of tests with different perfumes. At the moment, we are absolutely happy with our current WOO perfumes. In future – we will add more perfumes to our collection. We are currently working on these new perfumes with our Swiss perfume house. Developing a good perfume is incredibly challenging. We are so happy that we manage to achieve it every time. We create perfumes that make both – men and women – happy.

 

Bliss: Do you have a signature scent?

Saskia: « Tranquillity » is our bestseller. It is very subtle and sensual.  Both – men and women – just love it.  We use it in all of our perfume products… It is the blue label… Personally, I love the zesty and reviving « Lime » perfume for our diffusers. Especially in Asia – it is fresh and energizing … The fragrance « Treasure » is a bit more floral, but extremely rich and loved by many of our loyal customers too.

 

 

 

 

Bliss: Woo has a pure philosophy when it comes to designs and material used. Do you create everything? Do you buy locally and transform? Are you involve in each step of the process?

Saskia: Yes, our team is engaged in every step of our supply chain. I like stylish, timeless and relatively simple design. For me, simplicity is classy.  We buy locally as much as we can – at the same time we go for high quality and we import the materials that we can’t source locally according to our quality standards.

 

Bliss: What do you most enjoy about your work?

Saskia: I love the positive reactions we get on WOO. I love the team that is growing every day. And I love the fact that WOO is globally more and more being seen as the Love brand that I wanted to create.

 

 

 

 

Bliss: As a mother  how have you managed to find space for that creativity with the demands of motherhood?

Saskia: Motherhood and a career are – for me – easier to combine in Asia than in Europe. It is easier here to build a support system with good helpers that take away a lot of the burdens of managing a household.  I am a strong believer that kids and career can be combined. Clearly, you need to be disciplined and accept that it is not always easy.  My kids are very supportive, strong and have been helping me a lot with creating WOO. All my four daughters support in one way or the other with WOO. Doing internships, helping with design, working in the store, supporting PR, sourcing or product development.  Or just bringing me coffee to bed in the morning. I am extremely fortunate with my children. They are a really important source of my inspiration and help for me and WOO a lot. Clearly,  WOO is a brand that is also meant for their generation and future! Their friends also support WOO and love to test the (new) WOO products…

 

 

Bliss: Your beautiful store in Saigon showcases your stunning range of candles, fragrances, and accessories  – was it always a dream to have your boutique in Vietnam?

Saskia: Our first WOO shop was in Amsterdam.  As Vietnam is an important country for WOO – where we source and co-create a number of our key products – we felt we had to set up a WOO store here as well. We have the same plans for other countries. Bali, Hamburg, Dubai and Vancouver are on top of our bucket list! We keep on dreaming and working hard. Let us see where WOO gets us! We dream big. We work hard. We strive to add value where we can. Let us WOO it – is our credo.

 

Bliss: What are you currently working on that our readers should look out shortly?

Saskia: We are developing a delicate jewelry line. We are also working on personal care products. All based on beautiful and powerful ingredients, the most enticing WOO perfumes and our unique, authentic WOO design.  Made with Love. Made with Passion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOO CARES. Just like you do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOO

32 Trần Ngọc Diện, Thảo Điền, Dist 2, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

Info: HERE

 

 

 

 

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Bliss Saigon is an online women's magazine dedicated to the art of living in Saigon (HCMC) and Asia. The magazine present a unique editorial approach based on experts and influencers contributions, written with optimism, humor and accessibility, offering an interactive and ludic reading on lifestyle topics with sharp selections for unique insights.