• CrossBorder Event 2023

    Thank you and see you next year!

  • CrossBorder Event 2023

    Thank you and see you next year!

  • CrossBorder Event 2023

    Thank you and see you next year!

  • CrossBorder Event 2023

    Thank you and see you next year!

  • CrossBorder Event 2023

    Thank you and see you next year!

'Marketing is not a tool, it's what we do'

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_video link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mao4FNY_zDo"][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern"][vc_column][vc_column_text]Author: Kari-Anne Fygi, editor Twinkle


Amsterdenim is a small Dutch denim brand that is getting its own way. Through marketing campaigns, brand awareness around the world is growing steadily. Director Ewout Key Rameijer talks about how 'Amsterdam' is helping his company grow ahead of the CrossBorder Event.What does Amsterdenim gain from the name Amsterdam? Well, it is a powerful marketing tool, says Ewout Key Rameijer. 'The Netherlands has a good name in terms of creation, innovation, flexibility, mentality. In addition, of course, the name is about the image of the city. Amsterdam is just as powerful a brand name as Rome, Tokyo or Paris, which are ten times bigger. The culture, the ideals, the self-confidence, or call it arrogance and freedom of Amsterdam - this is what Amsterdenim also radiates.'

Denim capital of the world

In addition, Amsterdam is the denim capital of the world, Key Rameijer points out. 'Take Denim City, the innovation campus established in 2014 for the benefit of improving and making denim more sustainable around the world. And you have the fashion event Denim Days, which now takes place in New York and Nashville in addition to Amsterdam.

'Big brands have their headquarters here. Not only Dutch brands like Scotch & Soda, Denham, PME and G-Star, but also, for example, Tommy Hilfiger. Pepe Jeans London is just in Amsterdam. Their presence in the city also beams down on us. We are a small brand, Amsterdenim now consists of five people, and if you count freelancers and interns, the staff counter stands at ten. But the size and quality of a big brand like G -Star also shines on Amsterdenim. "Oh, another good Dutch brand. Not everyone realizes that we are a small brand.

A name and a story

Marketing is important, the name is important. 'Marketing is not a tool, it's what we do. We are a marketing organization like Nike is, or Apple. We focus on design and promotion, that ís marketing and therefore the added value. Logistical processes are interchangeable, as are administrative matters. But marketing makes our identity. We have a story and the name.'

Absolute basic requirement, of course, is that the product be of good quality, he says. But even that is relative. 'Look at summer jeans and winter jeans. A thin summer pant, you have less use for that in winter and in summer those winter pants are too thick. So less relevant for that season, but does that make the product less good? No, it doesn't.'

Audi and Mercedes

All A-brands offer the same quality, he says. It is the marketing and the story around it that makes the product unique. 'G-Star can be seen as Audi - innovative, Amsterdenim is Mercedes, traditional, solid, tough. Both good brands but with a different look and feel.'

Marketing was also the production of a successful video (see video below) in collaboration with Speld & Partners, the branded content advertising agency of satirical news site De Speld, which put the brand on the map internationally. A humorous video about tourists in Amsterdam that sees the brand "as an exponent of the relaxed Amsterdam mentality. If you wear Amsterdenim, you are wearing a piece of Amsterdam, so to speak.


'The video works so well on its own. Recently, an Israeli journalist contacted us. He had found the video online and asked if he could broadcast it on TV. That, of course, is what we want, for the video to keep floating around. What we want is for our brand name to become part of the canon of Amsterdam, and a video like this helps with that.

Campaign with Zalando

What may also help is the campaign that Amsterdenim launched with Zalando, "I AM YOUMAN," a clothing line focused on "pride. 'Pride is about being proud of who you are, whoever you are. It is absolutely not exclusive, it is inclusive for everyone. Zalando knocked on our door for this collaboration. Amsterdam, of course, stands for being liberal and freedom. I mean, Amsterdam was the first city in the world to have same-sex marriage. No one can imitate us. Those values, he says, strike at the heart of what Amsterdenim stands for. (Amsterdenim was nominated for a CrossBorder Award for this campaign, ed.)

Germans with humor

The brand is now on sale in seven countries, including Russia and South Korea. 'You're at a trade show and you get found. That's how it goes.' The most important market for the brand is Germany. Ewout Key Rameijer himself has lived and worked in Germany and knows the market well. 'It's like the Netherlands, tastes and preferences come across. We are actually Germans with humor. They find us reliable partners.'

The American way

The growth of his brand comes from exports, Key Rameijer says. He is betting on partnerships with licensees. In the American way, so to speak. Building and loading the brand strongly at home - Amsterdam ís denim - and then entering foreign markets through licensees who will produce the clothing themselves.' He is now holding talks in the US, Asia and the Middle East.

In addition, Web shops such as Amazon, the aforementioned Zalando and Wehkamp are important partners. 'The issue you had twenty years ago: are you going to sell through third parties, has long since disappeared. Of course you sell through platforms. If you are not for sale through Zalando, then you are simply not visible in the market. And it is also a stamp of quality: not everyone can sell through Zalando, you have to offer quality.'

But actually, Ewout Key Rameijer sees more growth opportunities outside of Europe. 'Of course, the countries are not far apart, but the cultural differences are sometimes so great. In the United States, on a large market, you have much less trouble with that.'


CrossBorder Event

In addition to his nomination for the CrossBorder Award, Ewout Key Rameijer will be explaining at the CrossBorder Event how, as a relatively unknown brand, you can gain (global) awareness by deploying well thought out marketing campaigns and what this does for your brand. Twinkle is organizing the event, together with Dexport, on Thursday, Oct. 3. The program includes speakers from eLuscious, Bakker.com and Daelmans Stroopwafels, among others. DisQounts International, list leader of the CrossBorder Top 30, is also coming to speak.