Who’s Barbara and what’s your background?
I come from an entrepreneurial family of 7 children including 6 daughters and 1 son. In the middle of the family I learned to fight like no other. During my youth I did not belong to the oldest 3 daughters and with the youngest 3 I felt too big. My father was a successful entrepreneur who always undertook “out of the box” and through my father I developed that the other way around. Unfortunately my father died 14 years ago of prostate cancer, but still daily I think back to the lessons I learned from him. My maiden name is Peek and for good reason my brand is now called LaPeek. Call it an ode to my father.
You’ve designed the ideal sports dress. When was this idea born to you?
When I moved to Vinkeveen at the age of 44 with a husband and 3 young children, I joined a tennis club again. I always got to know new people through sports, so this was a logical step. Luckily I was placed in a league team with 4 very nice women. In the meantime they have become very dear friends. What connected us was that we all loved black sportswear. Ladies in Black we were often called. What we could never find was the ideal black sports dress that we could all wear. And when you consider that we ranged from size 38 to size 48, we couldn’t do that either. My girlfriends encouraged me to develop the ideal sports dress. This was 8 years ago, by now Lapeek has been around for 4 years.
What distinguishes a La Peek sports dress from other sports dresses?
Lapeek’s dresses are the only sports dresses in the world ranging from size 32 up to and including size 50. Also the only sports dresses that are made super long so that the length can be adjusted to the ideal length of your legs after purchase. The cup is graded to perfection so I can make every bust happy. The dress is made super timeless and durable so women can enjoy it for at least 5 years. I’ve only received 1 dress back in four years. That is the ultimate proof that my dress fits every woman and also makes it look slimmer. And then it also works that besides the black dress I make the colors custom made so that Lapeek’s dresses are and remain exclusive.
What is your number 1 golf course in the Netherlands?
Of course it’s The International, close to Amsterdam. I have been a member here since 2016 and I love the atmosphere of this club. It’s a club that is run in a very businesslike way and where many successful entrepreneurs from the Amsterdam area are also members. No old-fashioned atmosphere like at many shitty clubs in the Netherlands, but really an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome. And then the job. It’s so incredibly difficult that I can’t get tired of a round of golf. The hospitality industry, which is at least as important to me, brings out the best in me. No round of golf without a round of clubhouse for me!
You’re a network star pure sang. Why do you think networking is essential?
Networking is one of the most important pillars for running a successful business. Without a strong network you lose a lot of opportunities. On a new job, on a promotion or on a new client. Once people have made it, they often stop networking because they have become too busy. This is the stupidest thing you can do. As soon as your turnover drops you can start networking again and then they are often too late because a competitor who did continue networking has passed them by. Keep networking because you are as good as your last network I always say!
What tip would you like to give to an inexperienced networker?
Go and see where you feel at home. Often a hobby or sport connects and there are always business clubs connected. If you share something with each other it is in my opinion the best connecting factor. In my case I combined my network with golf. But you can also join a professional network organization. Take a look for example at the site of https://www.netwerkgidsnederland.nl/. You don’t play golf yet? Then I advise you to pass your course mission this winter and just play. You can play this sport at least until you are 80 years old and you will get a lot of new (business) friends, how much fun that is!
You are an entrepreneur, you give lectures and you have a wonderful family.
How do you find balance between private and work?
Haha, that is very difficult. I love working so much that I use every hole I have to work. While I’m writing this it’s Father’s Day and the kids are building Kapla with their father and I crawl behind my computer. As an independent entrepreneur there is always something to do. But that also means freedom to work within my agenda. On a weekday to a presentation at school by one of my children is never a problem. My strength is that I can plan very well and never arrive too late. And no, I’m certainly not perfect but I do have a very sweet man who does the laundry for our family every day and then I cook with love again. Teamwork it is.
If you could share one personal life lesson, which would it be?
Jeez, what a question…! Maybe this “dare to share” would make you grow up! And especially from a business point of view. Just an example. I’m particularly known as the ideal network dress on the golf course. It has grown so much because there is more networking on the golf course than on the tennis court. Anyway, I play golf with Robine Lempers from PAR69. Since 3 years one of the most beautiful golf brands in the Netherlands. Everyone around us calls us competitors and thinks we don’t give each other anything. Nothing could be further from the truth! To prove it, this summer on the 14th of August we organize a golf tournament that revolves around fashion, friendship & golf. On this day we are going to organize a great event for 72 great golf women. How cool is that. Just think of it as if Adidas and Nike are organizing an event together for their clients. That’s unthinkable, right? But we’re gonna do it, and that’s the power of “daring to share”. If you read this and you think, I want to join in, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you more info. So you see, I seize every opportunity to network and indirectly to “sell”. That’s nice.
What dreams do you still want to realize?
That Lapeek still exists in 7 years time and that I have found a lookalike of myself that Lapeek will expand internationally. By the time I turn 60 I want to go on a trip through the rivers of Europe with my husband on a boat. Then I’ll take my own bed on the boat and I’m sure I’ll sleep well. Because I am a princess on the pea…!
What’s your favorite Halsduk item?
That’s the silk scarf Fåglar large pink. If I wear this over my favorite red dress from Parioli then my day can’t go wrong. Then it rains compliments and I feel like the most beautiful woman in the world!
How do you prefer to combine your Halsduk?
The best about my red dress from Parioli.