PLTS Family: Interview with Janneke Dröge
“Let me start by saying that my heart goes out to all the people whose lives are touched by Corona virus. To everyone that works in vital professions, thank you so much!”
Despite everything, we are grateful that we can still connect with you all, the PLTS family, and be able to even get up close and personal with some of you. We’ve decided to make our PLTS interviews into a series. This week, we’ve had the chance to see Janneke Dröge, co-founder of the brand Blond Amsterdam, and take over our Instagram stories to show a glimpse into her life. Janneke is a hardcore PLTS rockstar and, needless to say, we’re fans! Janneke also took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some of our questions and allow us to have a closer look into her daily routine and learn more about her business!
So tell us a little about yourself, who are you and what is your story?
Janneke: My name is Janneke Dröge, I’m 44 years old and married to Jeroen van Els. We have two kids Lola-Marie (10) and Pieter (8). I went to Art Academy where I studied Graphic Design and Illustrations and for 19 years, I’m co-owner of the lifestyle brand, Blond Amsterdam. Currently, I study philosophy at the VU university. I love Dolly Parton and food…aaaalll of the food, but especially carbs (French bread with butter and salt and truffle pizza…my weakness).
We’re obviously experiencing some unusual times, but could you tell us more about your life routine pre-quarantine?
Janneke: Before Corona, every morning I woke up at 06:15 to make breakfast for the kids and after that hurried to the PLTS studio to arrive just in time to do the awesome PLTS workout. That ends at 07:50 so I’m home at 8, take a quick shower, have coffee, vegetable juice, and an omelet and then take the kids to school. After that, I go to work by bike to Lijnden or in the Pijp in our Blond Amsterdam Cafe. Together with my best friend Femque van Geffen, we are founder, owners and head designers of our company Blond Amsterdam. I’m usually home every day between 17:00/17:30 to have time with my kids and have dinner with them.
Then, twice a week, I’ll go to the VU for my philosophy lectures. Other than that, I like to train a lot, at least 5 times a week with PLTS, then also with a personal trainer and some ballet classes. And of course, I love to go out for dinner, hang out with friends and go to the piano bar to sing!
So you’re the co-founder, co-owner and also head designer of Blond Amsterdam, that’s amazing! We’d love to know more about your company, can you describe your Blond journey?
Janneke: Femque and I started 19 years ago. We were young and innocent and just had enough money for one month rent. We did not start to build a brand…neither of us had plans of painting and working together. Our little shop worked and soon we had customers. Then we got picked up by Riedel and Nestle and started selling in department stores. Our biggest challenge was staying in sync which is not always easy. It’s like a marriage, we don’t always agree.
But for the both of us, our friendship is the main and most important thing. We want to stay friends no matter what. Blond is like our baby and we know what we want for her. What really helped is that Femque’s husband, Willem-Bas, started helping us in the early days. He makes a lot of key decisions and leads our company financially, so we only had to focus on the creative part.
Thanks to him we have a good steady and healthy business and so we can cope with this crisis for now. There are over 30 people working with us all of whom are very dedicated and working from home since the crisis. It now feels more like a close team than ever. Femque and I both work from home but we found a formula. For the first time in 19 years we are not together but it still feels close. Maybe we work telepathically now. A lot of times she sends me something that I was thinking about and vice versa. I’m proud how we adapted. Life is what happens while making other plans…
How does the current situation make you feel? What are you grateful for and what are some challenges you’ve been facing?
Janneke: I feel blessed for having a strong body and mind and a lovely family whom I love dearly, who are all healthy, a house and a garden and the sun on my face. But then I also can feel clumsy, like an old apple, irritated, fat, and get angry at my husband and kids for not doing exactly what I want. I feel restless. And I see work everywhere, since I’ve had to take it home.
How have you keeping busy, aside from work?
Janneke: There is so much to do! I painted the house, refurbished my chairs and put all my clothes, groceries and tools in alphabetical order in the closets and still there are tons of things to do. I also still want to tutor the kids, clean the house and study at the same time.
Maybe I’m trying to copy my busy pre-corona life between these four walls. In a few months, I’ll probably look back to this time with melancholy…only I always have a hard time seeing that when I’m in the middle of something.
What about staying healthy? How do you take care of your body and mind at the moment?
Janneke: Currently, we’ve been doing PLTS workouts everyday. We’re super lucky because we have now have a steam/relax room, that we had been saving for and working on for a long time, was finished right before the lockdown. I usually spend some time there after my morning workout. Then, I do a ballet class online twice a week in the evening as well. I’m still trying to take it easy though, as I had the virus myself a few week ago and I’m still recovering from it. Excited to get back to my old self.
In terms of mental health, my mantra is currently to keep stimulating and challenging myself. I think it’s essential to fill your head with beautiful, interesting, and special things. Smell the hair of my kids, feel the sun on my face, drink a glass of wine and take care of myself and for the rest there is nothing to do. Just be.
What are you current essentials for quarantine survival?
Favourite drink: Seedlipp (alcohol-free Gin) and Chardonnay wine
Guilty pleasure: Kaasstengels and frikadellen 🙂
Favourite book: De Meeste Mensen Deugen by Rutger Brechman / Ethica by Aristoteles /
Favourite beauty products: I absolutely love the Crème Prodigieuse Boost by Nuxe, it’s like a little present for my face every morning. Then the Collageen Pills from Kruidvat are also an essential more me and I find them so much easier to take than the powders. A last random one is a new Zara soap I just got. I’ve been washing my hands so much lately and it’s super soft and creamy.
As a member of the PLTS family, can you tell us how your PLTS journey began?
Janneke: I’ve always done a lot of sports. When I was 35, I found out I had arthritis (nothing serious but a lot of pain) and I had a hernia. As a result, my body is not very stable, and I did not want to use painkillers. I started to do pilates, ballet and weight training and I live a pain-free life now. Besides that, it makes me feel so good mentally.
Finally, what is it about PLTS that you love?
Janneke: PLTS reformer pilates give me strength and flexibility physical and mentally. I love going there on my bike in the morning when the city is empty, and the birds are waking up. I love doing my routine on the machine and only hear the superstar instructors’ voices and the music. It’s hard work. There’s no time to think about anything else and it clears my mind, as if I were in a trance. My goal is always to complete the whole 50 minutes without stopping, and still after 216 lessons, I’m not always able to do that. That’s what I love about it, no short cuts, only hard work and the best feeling afterwards!
Thank you so much Janneke for taking the time to chat with us & for the kind words!
See you on the reformer!