“We want to help the smaller companies reducing their costs and doing business in a more sustainable way”
Two alumni from Nyenrode and an alumnus from Eindhoven University of Technology start a business together… This sounds like the beginning of a funny story, but it is anything but! This is the success story of a startup called SizeBuddy. Nyenrodeans Maurits Graaf and Diederik van Zantwijk have created a tool together with Teun Kortekaas to help online clothing stores significantly reduce the number of return shipments. This is not only good for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but also for the environment. An obvious WIN-WIN. The foundation for their successful collaboration can be found in their close friendship, their divers skill set and above all: a lot of fun.
The idea for SizeBuddy sprouted from a problem. Diederik: “When I was the owner of a web shop, I noticed how many clothing items were sent in return. Those returns represented a considerable cost item and definitely weren’t sustainable. A return shipment emits an average of 800 grams of additional CO2 and costs the shop owner more than twelve Euros. All the more reason to find a solution to this challenge together”.
During their problem-solving process, the friends applied an important starting principle: the solution must be easy to use for both consumers and web shops. And they succeeded. Maurits: “Just check the label of your shirt or trousers, enter the size and the brand name in the tool and the size you should order shows up right away. So for the consumer this is super easy to use”.
But perhaps even more important for the young entrepreneurs is the convenience for web shops. Teun, the technician of the team, explains: “Implementation of the tool is child's play: it only takes 1 line of HTML coding. Even the smallest web shop has the application up and running in under 5 minutes”. According to Teun, providers of existing solutions - size advice based on height, age and weight - often work with an implementation that can take up to three months. “That is only interesting for the larger players in the market. We want to offer something that helps all web shops reducing their costs and emissions.”
Maurits and Diederik laid the foundation for the idea, but the technical knowledge to build the tool was lacking. “That is why I approached Teun, a high school buddy”, says Maurits. “We had lost track of each other during our studies. But Teun was excited and has an entrepreneurial mindset too. Yes, we are partners, but above all we are just a group of friends who enjoy entrepreneurship together.”
Teun adds: “I have a technical background, but I lack the true entrepreneurial spirit that both Maurits and Diederik possess, partly thanks to their time at Nyenrode. I was impressed right off the bat. Maurits, for example, was super critical of the design and operation of the tool, which sometimes drove me nuts. But he puts himself in the user’s shoes, which is what has really helped to improve the tool. Both Maurits and Diederik are also bold and cheeky and they are good at networking. Those are skills they don’t teach you at the TU. They managed to open doors for SizeBuddy, doors I could not have opened on my own”.
The three young entrepreneurs were taught the importance of sustainable entrepreneurship during their studies, which is exactly what motivates them to turn SizeBuddy into a great success. They want to make an impact on the sustainability and efficiency of the entire e-commerce industry by reducing the number of return shipments.
Teun mentions another important motivator: “Entrepreneurship is also about doing many different things. If you keep going, creating and trying over and over, you will experience a lot as well. That is what makes your life interesting and what helps you in doing many great things for others.”
When asked about their ambitions for the future, the friends fall silent for a second. Then Diederik says: “I think that, to us, it is not just about the goal we are pursuing. The journey we are embarking on together is probably even more important. It is simply great fun to be working together as a team”. Teun adds: “I mainly hope that we can continue to work together for a long time and that we get to develop more ideas for SMEs”. Diederik: “It is really cool that we achieve actual results. When we present those results to our customers, we always have a big smile on our faces. It is the excitement of being able to pull it off once again!”
Both Maurits and Diederik have completed their Bachelor in Business Administration at Nyenrode. For the sixth time in a row, this education program has been named Best Education Program in International Business in the Netherlands by Keuzegids Universiteiten. This is a Dutch independent consumer guide assessing and comparing the quality of available courses and education programs.
More information about SizeBuddy can be found on their website.
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