Who is behind the brand? Interview with; Lieke van Hulsbergen

What did you do before you started your own swimwear / bikini label?

I studied fashion in the Netherlands at TMO mode (fashion) management. During my studies I worked in brand stores of some well-known Dutch designers. After I graduated I travelled in Asia for several months. When I came back I started my first proper job at an Amsterdam based Agent, where I was responsible for the sales of “TOMS” shoes in the Benelux and a very nice candle brand from L.A. “P.F. Candle co.”.

When did you move to Bali?

Lieke: “I moved to Bali last October, when my boyfriend “Sjors” and I decided to build our own yoga retreat villa (Happyfish Bali). I thought this was the ideal chance to work on TET.! When the first collection went into production we focused on building our place. A place that people would love as much as we do!”

Why the decision to built a yoga retreat villa?

Lieke: “When we came across this land to lease we thought it was a beautiful place to build a villa and receive guests so they can explore Canggu. We were thinking of programs to offer to our guests and yoga came up really quick. I started practising yoga a lot last year when I was busy building up TET. It really helped me to get my head straight and in line with my goals. I always start sessions with meditation, this helps me to quiet my mind and focus on what is necessary. We wanted to offer this same thing to our guests. Besides, yoga is a great work-out.
Sjors has his own surf school in Holland and wanted there to be a more active program with more focus on a physical than a mental level in addition to yoga. So we came up with a program that combines the relaxing aspect of yoga with other more physically challenging work-outs (like surfing, bootcamp or kickboxing). All of this combined creates a good balance and gives everybody options according to their preferences! That’s how we built our Happyfish yoga villa”. 

You were followed by a Dutch television program, Ik vertrek? !

Lieke: “Yes, it was actually a bit of a fun joke of ours to sign up for a Dutch television program “Ik vertrek”, thinking that we would never hear from them. But then we did! Just a couple of days later we got the message that they were very interested in our story. In the Netherlands “Ik vertrek” is a well-known show. It lets you see the whole process of leaving the Netherlands to starting up in Bali. We thought it would be a fun and good way to show people what we were doing. My grandma can’t come to Bali, but this allows her to see it all on television J We thought this to be an amazing idea. So… Now we are broadcasted on NPO 1, on the 6th of April (ikvertrek)! “

Why did you move to Bali?

Lieke: “I always wanted to move to Bali! It was my dream to have my own brand and be located in the “Mecca” of swimwear. Canggu is a place full of creative minds and entrepreneurs. I used to be the weird one with the big never ending ideas, in Canggu I’m actually quite normal J And without explanation needed… I don’t mind the beautiful weather ;)”.

What made you realize that there is a big plastic problem?

Lieke: “When I was travelling in Thailand and Indonesia after my fashion studies, I saw polluted beaches everywhere. Terrible. On a young age I had the privilege of travelling around the world with my parents. That’s where I first saw and understood how people in the world really depend on the ocean, on nature, etc. It showed me how people took care of the environment that they are in, because they needed it. Ten years later, to my shock, I saw how polluted places became. Especially when I was diving in Indonesia… I was just covered in plastic. I even saw fish trying to eat plastic. This made me realize that this is a big problem”.

What do you do in daily life to prevent plastic pollution?

Lieke: “I try to make it more of a lifestyle; I don’t think it is anything special. I have a favourite water bottle that I use to take my water everywhere instead of buying plastic bottles. I take my canvas groceries bag with me when I go shopping at the supermarket. I take care of the waste in our yoga retreat villa. I simply try to be conscious about the little things that I can do in my own life to use as little plastic as possible and never to leave waste lying around. There are a lot of people who don’t even clean up their own picknick after sitting at the beach… I think it the power is in all the small changes that everybody can make for them selves”.

Where can we find you in Bali, Canggu?

Lieke: “Our Happy fish yoga retreat villa is where I work with my small team. Although it is just around the corner of the heart of Canggu where all the action is… Our location is nice and quiet with beautiful views and we have an amazing cook who makes breakfast and lunch”.

Any other hotspots you would recommend in Bali?

Lieke: “I love to have an ice-coffee at Copenhagen café. It has a very clean style, it is a great place to get some work done as well. For dinner, I love to eat a good pasta from time to time, for which Bottega is the place to go. Good wine is hard to find in Bali, but at our villa I can drink a bottle J”.

X Team TET.