A way is part of every shopping trip: the way to the HEMA
A path is one of the most important trips to the Netherlands: the way to the department store with the big red letters, the HEMA. I like to browse there, household utensils, stationery, simple and beautiful clothing basics, Dekokrams and especially the typical Dutch pastries, especially the Stroopwafels. Everything has somehow a simple, but special style that shapes the whole range and is priced relatively cheap.
Simple with taste
It’s hard to tell what exactly is the HEMA style, but almost all things belong to the HEMA range. Simple, but somehow a bit special. HEMA calls it Dutch Design, that may be true. Maybe it’s also described with ‘practically with the loving something’ as well. The uniform style I know otherwise only from Ikea. He clings to every fruit bowl and lampshade in the large Swedish furniture store, even before the names Äbblask å lar or Lysbryllar are perceived. HEMA does not need a special name. At most the department with the Jip-and-Janneke harness. In addition to Dutch design, Dutch tradition is also very popular in the design of its products. And the design is unique, a HEMA product can only be obtained from HEMA.
Favorable to the unit price
In 1926, Hollandsche Eenheidsprijzen Maatschappij Amsterdam , their first shop in the Kalverstraat, opened the main shopping street in Amsterdam. For this name HEMA stands as an acronym, translated means it Dutch unit price society Amsterdam . It was intended as a cheap branch of the upscale department store de Bijenkorf , in the style of the American department store Woolworth. All products initially cost 25 or 50 cents. Later also 75 cents and a guilder. This price policy lasted until 1945. HEMA was also a pioneer in the field of the franchise. It was the first franchise licensor in the Netherlands in the 1950s and is now the largest Dutch franchise with more than 250 franchisees and 680 stores. There are currently twelve branches in Germany .
HEMA in Dortmund
Stroopwafels in all variations, honey cake, gege koek , licorice and mints . In addition Dekokrams in Oranje to the important festivities, chocolate letters to Sinterklaas. In Mondrian year decorated HEMA in yellow-red-blue with black and white grid. It is the department store with the typical Dutch assortment and plays this trump card too. Not least because of this great identification with national rituals and traditions, the chain is so popular in the Netherlands. A true brand core, beyond the polders and windmills. Because there are many good and cheap in Germany, it takes the Dutch design on board, it stands out. Therefore, the specific Dutch products are also on offer in the German branches, if I had also wished for a larger selection of liquorice in Dortmund. The variety of sweet pastries was pleasing. If I do not come to the shopping in the Netherlands, Dortmund is now a real alternative.
A small disadvantage: the shop in Dortmund is not ideal cut. It has a fairly small footprint, over three floors with a dominant escalator in the middle. The clientele did not care in the first days after the opening, the crowd was neat. But in this country she still has to get used to the one collecting queue for several cash registers. Luckily, I already knew the principle from the Dutch branches and I think it is very likable, as fair as the conventional supermarket principle.
Special marketing campaigns
HEMA also attracted special attention beyond the NL community. An animation of the webshop which became viral in social media went through the net in 2012.
And how do I make eye-catching advertising for a push-up bra? Exactly: with a male fashion l. Or question the gender role altogether? One girl complained about social media about too much pink in the clothing selection. HEMA responded promptly: out with pink and light blue! From then on, only gender-neutral children’s clothing was in the range. This action also triggered a social debate! No matter if it was about corporate marketing, it was up front, innovative and sympathetic.
Near the cash register lurks in many Dutch branches another peculiarity of the retail chain: the rookworst , a smoked sausage, which is similar in form to the German meat sausage. For many, the sausage is the first association, but not always positively documented, because the smell of sausage spreads in large parts of the store. Since I’m not a sausage friend, I’ve been able to successfully ignore the offer so far. The story of the hot sausage was born out of necessity. In 1936, too many of the otherwise cold-selling sausages were ordered at a store in Amsterdam. But as a warm snack, they went away like hot cakes. Other businesses followed, and the emergency became such a successful action that became a trademark .
The secret of HEMA
What does it matter now, the secret of HEMA? The department store, which many of the Dutch have repeatedly voted as the most important Dutch brand , in 2010 with 62 percent?
The Hong Kong-born and Dutch-born documentary filmmaker Yan Ting Yuen went in for Het van de HEMA , who is still in the NPO media library .
In a subliminal way, I was always aware of the secret in my visits, somehow. But that is also the secret of secrets, that they do not immediately catch the eye, but rather give a sense of ‘oh yes’. That’s exactly what HEMA does.