Recently I had the pleasure of sitting down at the [ hoorenbeek ] office with Ansor Hoorenbeek and Pilgrim Nordwind, the two gentlemen behind the [ hoorenbeek ] enterprise. We had a most entertaining, humorous, revealing (and surprising!) conversation. I enjoyed peeking inside the minds of this dynamic, energetic partnership.  

[ Hoorenbeek ], Ansor Hoorenbeek and Pilgrim Nordwind

Liz Pinazzo: Hello gentlemen

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Hi! Welcome!

Liz Pinazzo: It’s so kind of you both to take some time for this interview

Pilgrim Nordwind: Hi Liz. Thank you

Liz Pinazzo: I’ve read the background on your company that you posted at the SLFinances site and there are several aspects of your business that I feel are unique.

Pilgrim Nordwind: For example?

Liz Pinazzo: The first is that you have grown solely through profit generation. How did you manage that?

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Well, it was a long way.. at least in terms of time in SL.

Pilgrim Nordwind: And in terms of sleepless nights

Ansor Hoorenbeek: It took us almost six months to achieve some of our goals and we are still working to achieve some more. And you must consider that we are two persons, working full time and that we own an internet company, so we have designers and staff to work in our SL projects.

Liz Pinazzo: Did you start out as clothing designers? Or is that part of your business growth?

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Well, we started designing t-shirts…

Pilgrim Nordwind:  Exploring a little bit in SL, seeing what we could learn and do.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: I wanted to have a t-shirts company.. you know, with logos and quotes. I always wanted to do that in real life, Ansor Hoorenbeekand SL seems to be the perfect place to do it, so I’ll do it. Pilgrim give me the tools and the knowledge and we became partners, as we are in real life.

Liz Pinazzo: Ok, so let me be sure I understand. Your original intent was to create a SL T-shirt company?

Pilgrim Nordwind:  Yes, while learning more and exploring the possibilities of SL.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Well, as Pilgrim said, we were exploring and we found endless possibilities and had so much fun working here… so… here we are…

Liz Pinazzo: Another aspect that I find fascinating is that you seem to be successfully bridging first and second life. Can you tell me more about how you are accomplishing that? I see that you’re working with several corporations that are based in first life and working with them in Second Life. Lucent for example?

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Well, we did some products for companies of RL, like Alcatel-Lucent, yes. But that was a shot in the dark.They came to us regarding the ACA, so we were in the right place in the right moment.

Liz Pinazzo: What’s the ACA?

Ansor Hoorenbeek: America´s Cup Anywhere sponsored by Alcatel Lucent. Same with Syntheon, the Medical Corporation

Pilgrim Nordwind: Part of being successful is having some good luck

Liz Pinazzo: Ah, of course. Timing is everything.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: But also, we are working to bring some of our RL clients to SL. So, we are working hard to merge RL business with SL business.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: We really believe that a sort of 3D Internet will be the future of the Internet, so… we are getting prepared.

Liz Pinazzo: I believe that you’re echoing the hopes of many in SL.

Pilgrim Nordwind:  Yes, it’s a long way still, but everything is moving in that direction.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Right.

Liz Pinazzo: Let’s talk about your IPO. Some might say this is a risky venture for both your company and for investors.

Pilgrim Nordwind:  I don’t see it so risky.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Hmmm.. well, in terms of security, yes… Well, I mean.. there´s no signed paper or anything. It is a system based on goodwill.

Pilgrim Nordwind: We have confidence in our business. It keeps growing and growing. If SL keeps working, then we will.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Exactly… is not risky for us at all, and for the investors.. well, i think we are the only company that gave dividends in the first month. I don’t know for a fact, but right now, I don’t remember any company who did that.

Pilgrim Nordwind:  And i think investors didn’t see it very risky either since the IPO was closed in 3 days.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Thats true. And they know we are here to stay. And we are working very hard to accomplish that. Like Pilgrim has said… too many sleepless nights. SL = Sleep Later. Pilgrim has the credit on that one.

Liz Pinazzo: For some design firms, they have closed doors to their future plans and strategies. Pilgrim NordwindSince you’ve gone public, you’re pretty transparent – and you’re meeting with investors bi-monthly. Do you think that helps in terms of security and the investors comfort level?

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Yes, of course.

Pilgrim Nordwind:  Investors can always ask us directly or post in the SLCapEx forum. And also, if required, we can do meetings. We post the financials with our expenses, income, etc, every month, which makes things quite transparent.

Liz Pinazzo: And you’ve been growing steadily. How many do you have on staff now?

Pilgrim Nordwind: The two of us, plus 2 designers at the moment, but it varies depending on the needs.  As you know, we also hired Crescendo for our PR and marketing, so there is quite a bunch of people working for Hoorenbeek.

Liz Pinazzo: Do you have additional support staff? Like secretaries, personal assistants, customer service representatives?

Pilgrim Nordwind:  Not yet. We like to take care of the business closely and meet the customers and address their concerns, and customers love to talk to the creators.

Liz Pinazzo: So right now you’re very hands-on.

Pilgrim Nordwind: Yes, as much as we can, but we have only 2 hands each

Liz Pinazzo: Right

Pilgrim Nordwind: YET.. Hehe

Liz Pinazzo: Ok gentlemen – one final question. For new designers just getting started in the business, what is your advice to them when starting up a company?

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Wow.. a tough one…mmmm…

Pilgrim Nordwind:  I would say to do products you would buy, to be passionate in what you do.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Be creative, work hard.

Pilgrim Nordwind: Yes. Passion can be noticed in your products.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: And explore. Explore the possibilities, learn about SL. There is so much to do here, it’s a new world, but with some basic rules as RL.

 

Now, this was the official end of the interview, but these two sharp-minded entrepreneurs turned the tables on the interviewer and started asking ME questions! I’m including the following discussion because it is the most revealing glimpse of the future goals, ambition and drive of [ hoorenbeek ].

 

Pilgrim Nordwind:  Shall we talk to you about some of our products?

Liz Pinazzo: Yes! tell me anything you would like. What are you working on that’s new and exciting? I see that you’re starting a line for women?

Ansor Hoorenbeek: mmm you don’t have that kind of time… LOL

Liz Pinazzo: LOL, I have as much time as you’d like. I’ll sleep later. Liz Pinazzo grins.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: LOL…

Pilgrim Nordwind:  Everyone likes my joke.

Liz Pinazzo: I do! Love it!

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Normally, we put new products every 2 weeks. Now we are working in some new lines of sculpted products, skins and a new collection of suits.

Liz Pinazzo: Skins, wow.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Yes… very, very hard work there….. and even we already have suits, they are the most sold product. I guess because of their quality and the many options that they have. But we want to create the best suit in SL… and i really think that is possible for us….

Pilgrim Nordwind:  We want to cover all the needs of trendy and classy men in SL.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Now i want to ask you something. Can I?

Liz Pinazzo: Of course

Ansor Hoorenbeek: In terms of leadership, do you think there is a leader brand in the market of men clothing?

Liz Pinazzo: A single leader?

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Not a single leader.

Liz Pinazzo: I don’t know. I believe that would be hard to determine without seeing sales numbers. I see several companies doing several things very well. In terms of corporate organization, yours is the most structured company that I’ve seen.

Pilgrim Nordwind:  Thanks

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Well, I don’t know the sales numbers of RL companies, but I know that Prada or Armani are leaders….I think at the moment, some SL brands are leaders in hair or accessories, even in women clothes, but not in men’s clothes, and that’s our final goal.

Liz Pinazzo: Ahhh. In what sector? In terms of couture? Marketing to the masses?

Pilgrim Nordwind:  We want [ hoorenbeek ] to be known as THE SL men’s clothing store.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: Exactly.

Pilgrim Nordwind:  THE men’s clothing store, as Armani is in RL.

Liz Pinazzo: Hmm yes, and he’s broad – covers from couture to streetwear.

Ansor Hoorenbeek: If someone asks Liz Pinazzo: Where can i find some really nice cool clothes? The answer must be hoorenbeek.

Liz Pinazzo: Gentlemen, thank you both so much, I appreciate your time.

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