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An interview with Angeliek Pleune, Benelux sales manager at HOUE:

'With the first rays of sunshine, you immediately see the orders coming in'

HOUE, the Danish brand founded in 2007 by Lars Houe, has established itself as a leading player in both indoor and outdoor furniture. Angeliek Pleune, sales manager for the Benelux region, talks about HOUE's recent participation in trade fairs such as imm cologne and Maison&Objet, the company's new collections, and future plans.

Mixed Stories
'The trade fairs were very good for us. Although I've heard mixed stories,' says Angeliek. 'HOUE hadn't been to Cologne for a while, about four years ago. But it was definitely advantageous for both the Benelux and German markets to be back. I must say, however, that it didn't have the same charm as before, prior to 2019. Back then, it was much larger, with more halls and a more international audience. That's really different now. Maison&Objet also seemed to have fewer visitors. But for us, Paris was a very good fair. Everyone showed up, and we made a lot of new connections.'

New collections and old favourites
At the recent trade fairs, all the new collections were showcased, including the Avanti table, which stands out for its "infinite extendability", as Angeliek describes it, and detachable Thermo Ash tabletop. This table is popular due to its modular design.

The Avanti table.

Additionally, a new colour, "Muted White", has been added to HOUE's existing popular series, Click, Edge, Level, and Avon. A striking new introduction is the "Light nr. 1" lamp, which has become a huge hit with its versatility for both indoor and outdoor use. 'The lamps were the number one item at the fair. They're truly a bestseller." They are available in six different colours and can be recharged with solar energy. Angeliek adds: 'They also come with a separate charger for less sunny days. And you can even charge your phone with them!'

Furthermore, HOUE presented new aluminium chairs, Alua, and bistro tables, Pico. The Alua chairs are designed for versatile use and are maintenance-free and durable, while the Pico collection offers a timeless design perfect for various outdoor settings. 'Especially for the contract market, these were interesting. These are items specifically added to the collection for the contract market. There was a lot of demand to bring these types of products to the market,' says Angeliek.

MyTrash by HOUE
A notable initiative by HOUE is "MyTrash by HOUE", which turns plastic waste into designer furniture. Angeliek explains that this initiative stemmed from a deep-rooted desire to contribute to a more sustainable world. By recycling household plastic waste, HOUE succeeds in producting high-quality furniture pieces.

'We see that we really need to do something for the world. As a manufacturer, you have the responsibility to think about it and do something about it. Lars, our founder, wanted to do something different from others. There are many companies that use post-industrial plastic, which is already good because it's a by-product of existing production. But you're still producing new plastic. HOUE wanted to do something to truly recycle it and remove it from society. That's when the initiative arose to use household plastic as a raw material.'

The "MyTrash by HOUE" collection is a permanent part of HOUE at the fair. 'The first collection was introduced in 2018, and it's going very well. It took a long time to develop this, to find the right partners and to ensure that it meets quality standards. And the biggest challenge lies in the fact that your base is different every day. There are stacks of waste bundled on the premises. That's why we have 4 colours for the collections because with recycled plastic, your base is different every day.'

On the left: the NAMI dining chair in Olive Green. On the right: the AVON chair in White Ash.

Future Plans
After two successful trade fairs, Angeliek is excited about HOUE's future plans. 'I feel like the market conditions are more positive than last year. The Covid-hype has settled a bit, and I notice that retailers have a bit more confidence than last year. The outdoor season is coming up, so now we wait and see what consumers will do. But with the first rays of sunshine, you immediately see the first orders coming in.'

Furthermore, a reopening of the showroom in Copenhagen is on the agenda: 'It's being revamped and styled for 3daysofdesign. They say it will be bigger than ever, so I'm very curious. For the Netherlands, Design District is also on the schedule. We're right at the entrance, so they can't miss us!'

More information:
Rodelundvej 4a
DK-8680 Ry Denmark
[email protected]

Angeliek Pleune
[email protected]