Camper Stories: Potketel

By January 9, 2017 September 23rd, 2018 Camper Stories


Rudolf, Potketel


1)   Tell us a bit about your company (why this idea, when did you launch it, did you get founded…)

Potketel is an idea lab where we validate our business ideas and a vehicle to help northern European customers with one-stop product development and production in China for their products.

2)   How long have you been in business for?

I started my first business in 1997, a general trading company in all kinds of China produced merchandise. From then on, I founded and partnered with various companies, as an investor, board member and in business development, ranging from Material Handling, E-commerce, Consulting and Sourcing. We founded Potketel in 2007.

3)   What brought you to Asia to develop your company?

My studies brought me to Tokyo for 5 months in 1993. From there, I had the chance to do case studies and attend seminars in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and Taipei. Hong Kong got my attention as an attractive and dynamic city. After my graduation, I got a job at a Dutch footwear company in TST-East. It took a few years to make the jump and start a business. 

4)   What are the main challenges for your company so far?

We try to help solve environmental problems. e.g. The world is hooked on cheap plastic disposables, we hope to wean our market off this addiction by choosing our biodegradable -and compostable- products instead. The challenge is to convince customers to do better in their CSR, despite the higher price.

5)   What are your main goals for the next years?

Validate our many ideas and create new business lines, with a strong eco-base in mind.

6)    What is the name of your company coming from?

Potketel is a short form of the saying “the pot calls the kettle black”, quite popular between my partner and me. Also, a potketel is a kettle used to distil gin or genever, originally a Dutch tipple.

7)   As an eco-responsible company, did you have any difficulties choosing your business partners according to your values?

Yes. To secure high quality, food safety and biodegradability is quite a challenge for our production partners in China. Some of our customers need a nudge too, that a slightly higher price for a better environment is worth it. Not just for the next generation, but also right now in their corporate responsibility performance and in their brand image.  

8)   Why did you choose co-working environment and what do you love most about it?

We have team members in a few locations and don’t need a large own office in Hong Kong. We use cloud-based systems for almost all operations and marketing. Hence Campfire is a fantastic base for us, flexible, attractive, comfortable and with a great community feel.


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