Interview Kimberley - 4th generation Wolkat
We would like to introduce you to Kimberley van der Wal, 4th generation within Wolkat.
Kimberley (30) was born and raised in Tilburg. She grew up across the street of the Wolkat factory. She was literally and figuratively raised between the rags. Thanks to the international contacts that her parents had in the factory, Kimberley learned to speak English at a very young age. This allows her to deal flexibly with different cultures. Empathy, intuition and understanding are therefore some of her qualities.
When Kimberley was young, one thing was certain for her: she had no ambition to work in the family business. She studied International Business in Eindhoven and during her graduation internship she was immediately offered a permanent job that she could not refuse. After working for a while, she decided to go on a world trip. During this trip she realized that there are many problems in the world. It became clear to her that a solution to some of these problems was right in front of her, namely within the family business. Wolkat is a group of innovative recycling companies that offers solutions for textiles, from collection to end products. Through years of knowledge and experience Wolkat is the knowledge leader in the textile industry. No other company can match what Wolkat does. For Kimberley, therefore, a good reason to start working at the family business, enabling her to carry out her mission to make this world a better place.
In her role as Business Developer she is, among other things, involved in product development (look and feel). She also penetrates new markets so that Wolkat can sell its products there. Over the years Wolkat has grown into a company that creates real value from discarded clothing. Especially in this world where there is a lot of vagueness and greenwashing going on, Kimberley wants to tell her story as honestly as possible. Transparency is therefore very important.
On the one hand, Wolkat's target groups are municipalities and other parties that collect clothing. On the other hand, there is now a wide range of customers. Think of municipalities, but also big fashion brands! Kimberley hopes to expand her target group even further, because the world of fabrics is even bigger! There is still a lot of potential there. "Wolkat's big dream is that no piece of textile gets turned into waste, and that value is created from it everywhere," says Kimberley, "That is not feasible yet, but we are certainly striving for it.”
An important message Kimberley would like to give to everyone is that with all the recent developments, climate marches and all the media attention for textiles, people do remain critical. It is important to not simply believe everything that is said in the media. Before you believe and follow something, make sure you do research first, online and offline!
Kimberley does not need to sit still for the time being. She strives for openness within the sector and beyond, wants to strengthen cooperation, find synergy and distribute the cake fairly between the different parties participating in this market. She is also working on coming up with a new business model that can be applied to various parties. In short: there are still plenty of challenges to be met, all of which to be realized from one starting point: to make the word a better place!