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Dieter Naessens: Work hard, play hard

The big move “In 2011, moving on from a position as sales director to vice-president of sales, responsible for Europe and the Americas, the United States became my new playground. America: a new territory for me, and quite a cultural shock. The main trade show in our industry was the Housewares Show in Chicago, taking place in March. I

still remember walking along the Chicago River, which turns green around St. Patrick’s Day, and shopping at retail giants such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, …” “Despite of all the traveling back and forth, I never had the feeling that I really understood the US market. It was pretty clear to me: if you want to be successful in the USA, you have to live there, blend into the society and live your dream. So shortly after, in February 2012, I moved to New York City, the home of our distributor. Living in Manhattan, what a game changer! You no longer walk to work, you run to work!”

The American dream “In this country entrepreneurship is rewarded and humbleness is a handicap. If you are different, if you have the right plan, if you’re convinced and show dedication and passion: you will succeed. Think big! Be a winner. You’ll make it. And if for some reason you don’t, start over, it doesn’t matter. Before I moved to New York, the US was a market for us, like there are many other markets in the world. Now the US is by far our biggest

Dieter Naessens, vice-president of The Cookware Company

market in the world, we employ 17 people at The Cookware Company and our GreenPan brand is widely distributed. (We bought our set of pans at Target, LDL) Our products are even copied by established cookware brands in the market, the greatest form of flattery. So yes, the American dream is real. Nowhere in Europe will your entrepreneurship and innovation be embraced in such a big way.”

The Cookware Company The Cookware Company is a global cookware manufacturer with worldwide brand presence. Starting in Belgium with their original brand, GreenPan, The Cookware Company was the first to introduce PTFE-free non-stick cookware with the Thermolon ceramic non-stick technology into the market. Since the birth of GreenPan in 2007, The Cookware Company has introduced numerous sister brands, such as GreenLife, VitaVerde, Twiztt, Michel Roux and signed a license with homer Laughlin China Co., to create Fiesta cookware. Today, GreenPan and The Cookware Company’s other brands can be found in retail, department, hardware, grocery, mass market and specialty stores as well as on television shopping channels and retail websites in over 90 countries around the world. The Cookware Company continues to be known as the house of innovation!


“Family life is tough. Being a father of two, without parents or grandparents around, it’s hard to combine a family with working in the city. Schools are private under the age of five, so trying to build a career with two people is hard without the support from family. Although this kind of fast life is quite addicting, you can sometimes enjoy the peace and quiet of Tuscany (Italy) or Provence (South of France). It is a constant battle between the need for success and business satisfaction and a peaceful quiet family life. I’ll be looking for a balance in life soon, getting closer to 40 makes you realize that the faster you live, the sooner it’s over. So a possible return to Europe is an option, although I’ll have to come up with something that will satisfy my hunger for success in the biggest consumer market of the world.”

Work hard, play hard “After long days at the office and working late nights at home, I feel an enormous need to hang out with friends on Friday nights, having endless conversations at the bar, enjoying long dinners … and of course: I love to spend quality time at playgrounds with the kids. Last but not least I always make time for my lovely wife who just accepts this crazy lifestyle and tries to run the household as well as she can. Here in New York it is okay to spend your money if you work hard. I was surprised when I heard people in the street clapping their hands when they saw a guy parking his Ferrari. Success is respected here. Don’t get me wrong, I was the guy watching from the taxi, but one day maybe … We’ll see. Let’s work hard (and play hard) first!” – Leentje De Leeuw (from-chicago-with-words.

Julian Bros. Bakery


Home of the Michigan Mattentaart


www. gazette vandetroit. com



ieter Naessens (35), currently residing in New York City, was born and raised in a middle-class family in Waregem, South-West-Flanders, an area sometimes called the Texas of Flanders. In this part of Flanders entrepreneurship is encouraged, humbleness is mandatory, hard work is part of life and failing is embarrassing. “Growing up in an environment where the flax industry evolved into a carpet/ textile and laminate industry and where the daily activities took place around the church, it was quite unlikely for me to work or move abroad, so working and living close to home was almost a given. After studying economics in Brussels, I started my career in 2002 as a sales administrator in a local cookware factory ten minutes from my hometown. I worked hard and was committed to making a career at that company. Shortly after, I was promoted to account manager and I started traveling around Europe. Pretty soon after, my first trip to Asia was a fact. Hong Kong and China made quite an impression on me, to say the least. Before I even realized it, my life no longer took place around the church in my little hometown with about 30,000 inhabitants, but I was traveling for about 40% of the time, mainly to Asia.”

Family life

27805 harper Avenue St. Clair Shores, MI 48081 Phone: (586) 435-3026 Flemish and French spoken We use Schwarzkopf products

518 S. Rochester Rd. Clawson, MI 48017 Call us at (248) 588-0280 - (248) 588-0281 Fax (248) 588-7980 Try our raisin egg bread ("koekebrood") and Belgian "mattentaarten". Custom decorated cakes, cookies, pizza and much more.

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Gazette van Detroit - Dieter Naessens  

'Work hard, play hard' - Dieter Naessens talks about his American adventures.

Gazette van Detroit - Dieter Naessens  

'Work hard, play hard' - Dieter Naessens talks about his American adventures.