This week we are thrilled to introduce you to Anna Hegeman; a true creative, turned entrepreneur who can't imagine life without her Japanese wolfdog Kuma. Anna, who made a name in the niche parfum business with her brand SALLE PRIVÉE will share about her life, business, useful advise and her canine companion.
Q: We find you so inspiring and would love to learn a little more about you. Could you please tell us some things about yourself?
A: I am the child of two artists, my childhood consisted of art and museums. I studied Business in Copenhagen and Milan and did my internships in New York. I now live in Amsterdam with my boyfriend and dog.
Q: That sounds so cool! We are huge fans of SALLE PRIVÉE, can you tell us some more about it for the readers who are not yet familiar with it?
A: How nice! SALLE PRIVÉE is a perfume brand. From our store / HQ in Amsterdam, we are working hard to conquer a place in the niche perfume world and we are well on our way! Now available in 22 countries. We have 8 fragrances and the next one is in development.
Q: Impressive! We read that you that you've done different things. How did you become an entrepreneur?
A: Just started after my studies! Don't think, act haha. Sometimes not always convenient – Namely, I went through trial and error – but in the end it has ensured that I now lead a very nice team. I started out in fashion and have now put the knowledge I could use of that world to work in our current brand.
Q: Spoken like a true entrepreneur. What do you like most about what you do?
A: I initially wanted to say: that it is always different, but at the same time that is also the hardest thing. What I like is “to set something up” and to create something, with a team in which everyone has their strength.
Q: And that is what you did, you created such a cool brand. What are you passionate about?
A: Again, creating. I think making and working with my hands is the best.
Q: On another note, we often see your dog Kuma on your socials, can you tell us about him?
A: He is a very special and sensitive type. He is Japanese so we are sometimes lost in translation, but because of his extremely sweet nature, I like everything about him, including the annoying things. He is not easy like a labrador because listening is slightly less in the nature of Japanese breeds and he has a strong hunting instinct. But he surprises me every time with something new that he suddenly understands and he is very caring. Comes to you to comfort you or to hug you.
Q: He sounds so precious! Kuma is quite a particular breed; how did you find him? Did you always know that you wanted this breed and why did you choose this breed?
A: My boyfriend came up with a picture and for a few weeks he e-mailed me the picture of his snout, texted me, and yelled in my ear. I wasn't really looking forward to it, thought it would be inconvenient, and restrict my freedom and besides, I thought a dog would stink. (Fortunately, that's not the case with Kuma at all!) I'm totally sold, I can't imagine life without him anymore.
Q: We can imagine! As with the inconveniences, you go to the office often. Does Kuma come with you? Or how do you solve this?
A: I live around the corner from our office, my sister often says that I take “living on a stamp” to a new level. But Kuma doesn't think our office is funny, I think because of the extreme number of mirrors, so I am not doing him any favors by taking him with me. I walk with him after lunch and my boyfriend is a bit freer with his time so he takes him around.
Q: Talking business. What is the best advice you have ever received or do you have good advice that other entrepreneurs can benefit from?
A: What can go wrong will certainly go wrong and much more than that! Try to see it light-heartedly and besides: don't go beyond your limits. Guard your personal life.
Q: We take this advice to heart! On another note, do you have any tips for people looking for or already owning a Japanese Wolfdog?
A: It's not a beginner's dog. I am saying this, while I was also a beginner. My parents also have one and he occasionally makes them pull their hair out their heads. Their wolf is if possible even more wilful and my father especially likes it when a dog is docile haha. Tough luck.
Q: haha, oh my. At Furmey we always share little facts, do you maybe have a Furmey Fact for us?
A: Japanese wolfdogs communicate clearly what they want. When Kuma wants to walk he comes to me and gets his face as close to mine as possible to look at me until I get it. Kobe, my parents' dog does the exact same thing.
Q: He sounds so clever! We can imagine you have some fun stories that Kuma got you in.
A: Well what I like about him is that he really does have a wolf instinct. When an ambulance drives by, he goes to the window and throws his neck back to howl like a wolf for a few minutes. That is very sweet but also special to see.
Q: We would love to see this! You live in Amsterdam, what are some nice places to go together with Kuma?
A: We mainly walk through the neighborhood and only occasionally he goes to a terrace. He can chill out just fine, but as soon as another dog is around, he becomes much too enthusiastic and is no longer able to sit quietly.
Q: Understandably, so many new friends to meet! So, what is his favourite place to go to?
A: The forest, the moor, anything where he can see rabbits, hedgehogs, deers, and birds.
Q: Like a true Wolfe! it was so nice talking to you Anna, catch up soon.