The story of Mariëlle van Werven of Annadiva
In 2011, entrepreneur Mariëlle van Werven founded e-commerce company Annadiva. In particular, she was driven to develop something that did not exist at that time in the field of swimwear and lingerie. Since then, the company has experienced great growth. Florijnz guided her in her search for the best next step. This became a participation in the company by the Bosch investment fund (BIF), which now allows Annadiva to develop its own lingerie brand.
"There is so much more to this than initially thought. Florijnz understood this immediately."- Mariëlle van Werven, General Manager @ Annadiva
Two years ago I spoke to Hans for the first time. At that time my company was over 5 years old, and had grown rapidly over the years. I was trying to figure out how I could best grow Annadiva. In the retail sector, you soon start thinking about distribution to even more countries or a private label. Perhaps an expansion by acquiring another party or broadening your product range. I noticed myself that I was trying to do a lot, like selling men's boxer shorts. However, you soon come to the conclusion that that is not the target group Annadiva is aiming for. It is becoming increasingly difficult to determine the next step.
Then came the moment when my husband said, go talk to Hans to spar what you want to do next with Annadiva. That was a good tip. I just started Annadiva out of need, but never had the intention of starting a big company with staff. I still prefer to work on the product and its development. Florijnz understood this immediately. We then had many conversations about what I want, what the possibilities are for Annadiva, how the market works in terms of financing, acquisitions, etc.
How did Florijnz help you?
It has been a long process, so Florijnz has helped me with many things. In the beginning this was mainly strategic advice from Hans, but at a later stage Marieke really added a lot of value, literally and figuratively. I was very well supported by Marieke in the financial support when my controller was on maternity leave. Marieke really took care of things and did a lot of things that my controller would normally do.
Florijnz helped prepare the pitch for growth financing and asked around in their network of investors. Without their help I had no access to that experience and network. Florijnz has drafted the information memorandum, put it out and analyzed and filtered the responses. Because Florijnz guides you through the process you learn which direction you need to go thinking, and that in turn will increase the value of your business. There are no hasty things done. There is always gone for the best solution and the long term. Florijnz is not a party that wants to make money quickly, and the first and best investor tackle. There is really looked for the long-term solution.
For me as an entrepreneur, it is of course a whole process. On the one hand, you know that you have to take the next step in order to continue to grow. But you also have to think about it carefully, and support it, and especially get used to the idea. You commit yourself to something for a longer period, not just for a few weeks or months. You can't turn it back just like that. And then it is very nice that you get the time for that, but also can spar about it.
I was doing something like this for the first time, so it's nice to have someone to point out the steps needed to ultimately look back on a successful transaction. Faster is not always better. And when I look at the cooperation with BIF now, the organisation wouldn't have been ready for that a year ago. And I myself wasn't ready for it either. I've learned a lot during this process.
Why would you recommend Florijnz to others?
Because of the long term thinking, the facets of which there is knowledge; not only the knowledge of the process, but also the in-depth knowledge of my company. It's really that personal involvement. It's just nice that it's not a mega big company. They really look at you as a person, and what situation will work best for you. They look less at the numbers at the bottom of the line, but at 'what are you as an entrepreneur ultimately happy with'. What is good for the company and for a sustainable future. And so you end up with a situation that makes everyone happy...'.