Vedder Vedder

Two young women from Nijkerk who came to Amsterdam to try their luck. Esther and Anne Vedder started their jewellery line Vedder & Vedder from their student housing. Imagining that the whole world was just waiting for their jewellery. That wasn’t exactly what happened. Now, several years later, they have an office in Amsterdam with 70 employees. They are taking the Netherlands and Germany by storm and are working with influencers such as Chantal Janzen, Sylvie Meis and Rita Ora. Their product, personalised jewellery, is mainly sold online.

Text Mariska Pinxt
Image Mireille Sleenhoff

I met the sisters at the Pulitzer Hotel in Amsterdam. Just who are these apparent visions of beauty? Are they two young women who just happened to make their move at the right time? Or are they two businesswomen who clearly know where their bright spot on the horizon lies?


From the age of 18, they felt the need to start their own jewellery brand. Esther envisioned a dream that was so real, she felt she would succeed in becoming a major player in the business. Their entrepreneurial spirit was fuelled by this dream. This was what the Vedder sisters were born to do. “We read the book ‘The Secret’ and were able to put into words what we had always been doing unconsciously: manifesting.” Vision boards were created where they visualised all their dreams and aspirations, and they still use this tool to this day. The vision board now contains a new building for their expanding multi-million dollar company.


“We never had a concrete business plan, we just follow our instincts. If we spot a new trend, we take it on and bring it to market. That’s not always an easy task for our staff. We expect a lot of flexibility from everyone and are not very good managers ourselves. We hired a floor/operational manager a few months ago. She is a true people manager. When she has to communicate a negative message to an employee, she manages to do it in a way that the person still leaves with a good feeling. When we have to do that, it is more blunt and no-nonsense. We no longer do what we’re not good at.”

Vedder and Vedder is expanding and aims to compete with the major players. “We have to start acting like it too; we are no longer those little girls who just do whatever.”

Our processes are well mapped out, the organisation is streamlined and each team accepts their responsibilities.

“We don’t just look at training programmes any more, because talent is in people and not just on a piece of paper.”


The sisters are very appreciative of the staff they have on board. They no longer seek managers externally, but instead prefer to give their talented people the opportunity to grow.

“We don’t just look at training programmes any more, because talent is in people and not just on a piece of paper. We give talented staff a training budget and want to give them the opportunity to progress. But they have to have the VedderVedder feeling, recognise opportunities, work hard, have the desire to grow together and take the company to the next level. That doesn’t mean that you have to be the same as us. No shine without friction. We love it when there’s friction on the shop floor. We don’t need flattery, just share your opinion, defend it and let’s see where it takes us.”

The fact that only women work there is only a coincidence. Men are also welcome to join the team. They would like that, but because of the high number of women working there, men just don’t bother to apply. Successes are celebrated with the team, there is cake for everyone’s birthday and drinks every Friday.

A normal life

At home, with their parents in Nijkerk, they never talk about money. Their father works at Rabobank and their mother launches projects, so they don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs. The fact that the twin sisters have made it this far is still beyond belief for their parents.

“Our parents have to get used to it. For example, we often like to go out to dinner with our husbands. We work hard for it, so we deserve it. Our parents basically cook every day. A different generation with different priorities.”

They are currently working with an English singer that has 60 million followers. “If your parents don’t really follow this lady, and as a result don’t understand what the partnership can mean for your business, then you quickly run out of things to talk about. Then, with all due respect, the conversation quickly turns to more everyday things.”

At their parents, they are children again. Joggers, hair tied up in a bun and no make-up. That keeps them grounded, because in their hearts they will always be the girls from Nijkerk. Still, I can’t help but feel that their lives are very different now than when they were still working in an apple turnover factory in Nijkerk.

“We were at rock-bottom. And there was a lot of dry pasta for dinner.”

Dry pasta

They taught themselves everything by using tools like YouTube. They bought their first equipment with a loan from a family friend. “We worked night after night and put all our money into our business. We were at rock-bottom and there was a lot of dry pasta for dinner.”

We also wanted to go out sometimes, to the Palladium in Amsterdam. Then we would rummage through our whole house for change and find €3. We would take it with us, order one glass of wine and two glasses. When the wine was gone, we would go to the loo and fill the glasses with water, so the glasses still looked full and we could stay sitting.”

They are not money driven, at least not in their private lives. There have more assets now than they did before, but all the money goes straight into the business.

“We don’t want any debt. The money we borrowed for our start-up capital we paid back as soon as we could. We have never held out our hands, we are both too proud for that even though we didn’t have a safety net. Quitting was never an option.”

When they travel now, they first check with their accountant to see if there is a budget for shopping. “He sets the rules here, because we don’t just listen to anyone,” they say with a laugh. They each bought a watch with the first money they earned, which are cherished possessions. “When I look at it,” says Esther, “I think back to how it all started and I’m grateful for that. Owning ten handbags means nothing to me. I can only use one at a time.”


As identical twins, they have always been together. They were in the same class, had the same friends, studied, worked and lived together. I wonder if it’s possible to develop your own identity then.

“It would have been smart if we had chosen our own paths earlier. Then you would be able to develop independently. When we got older, our parents suggested that we do more things on our own. When you’ve been together all your life, you can’t just cut the cord like that. Our husbands know they have to share first place, my sister is always next to me. And when we say US, that means us as sisters. But now that we are both in relationships, it will have to be different, of course.’

Twins of gold

The reason they agreed to do the Videoland documentary Twins of Gold, which showcases their path to success, is to be role models for younger girls. “When we were young, we didn’t have any role models around us that we could look up to. That was something that we were missing back then…” Annemiek, the ladies’ PR manager, chimed in to say that Anne and Esther had really set an example for her eight-year-old daughter. She’s into jewellery, and thanks to Anne and Esther she dares to dream of making it happen.

“The world is actually so small that you can do anything you want, that’s the message we want to pass on. Dream big, don’t let anything stop you, and most importantly, never think that anything is impossible. No matter how proud our parents are now, they used to tell us not to blow our own trumpets. But do exactly that, shout your message out into the world.”

Entrepreneurship is like racing

Vedder Vedder started from their student housing. Now, from a lovely building in Amsterdam, they work with 70 employees and generate millions in turnover. But it’s not enough for them.

“I once heard Max Verstappen say in an interview that after a victory he was already thinking about the next race, so he couldn’t fully enjoy his success at that moment. I can relate to that, because that’s how I see business.”

As long as we can grow, we will. We still have dreams. Dreams of working with influencers like Jennifer Lopez, having our own engagement/wedding collection, a pop-up store in Los Angeles and becoming as big as Tiffany’s.

Anne Esther

Vedder Vedder

Beautiful ladies Business women

They decided that making their dream come true was their only option.

That becoming entrepreneurs means that you are always working on the next step.

And that the world is small enough for any big dream.

If you can see it in your head, you can hold it in your hand.

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