#SupportYourLocals | Renee from Bbrood
In our column#SupportYourLocals, we visit our neighbors at the NDSM wharf one by one to hear their stories and share some encouraging words, where necessary. In this edition we speak with Renee Pater, one of the founders of Bbrood. Bbrood has been present at NDSM for years and Renee knows better than anyone how the terrain has changed over the years.
At first I was supposed to meet Renee in the brand new shop at NDSM, but because of corona our appointment turned into a phone conversation. Nonetheless, Renee’s passion could be felt through the phone as she talked about her profession. While I sit up in my office chair, I ask Renee how they ended up on the NDSM-wharf in the first place.
“We actually ended up in Noord via-via. There were people in our network working on real estate development on the shipyard. At the time, they were busy developing a kiosk, that’s what we called it at first. With the idea of also providing some tourist information there. At first it was almost the idea to make that a VVV point. We were really charmed by the terrain, the feeling it gave us and the place of course: you almost hit us with the ferry when you are visiting Noord. At that time the IJkantine and Noorderlicht were already there, but other than that there was nothing at all. It felt very genuine and vibrant here too. As if something new is happening every second, that was cool. ”
Additionally I ask Renee how it all started with Bbrood. “I started with my father,” she says, “I come from a real baker’s family. My father has an industrial bakery, but he also always had a childhood dream to start a small bakery with handmade bread, without additives and with a long rising process. Basically like bread was made in the old days, with the traditional way of crafting. Then he developed that idea together with a friend from the industry. That was also the moment when they found the building on the Zeedijk where the first store eventually came. I saw all this happening and I thought it was so cool and wanted to be part of it. We didn’t have a name then, nothing at all, just the idea of doing it. ” The trio then traveled to Norway and Great Britain to see how sustainable bread shops in other countries worked and to find inspiration for their own business. Shortly afterwards, the first Bbrood store opened its doors on the Zeedijk. It was and is a project born out of pure passion for the craft.
As you may have noticed, Bbrood moved from the silver kiosk to a new store in the Pontkade buidling at the beginning of this year. This has everything to do with realizing a new vision for Bbrood. “When we started, we already wanted the product to be sustainable,” Renee continues, “that means working with sustainable raw materials and knowing the origin of those raw materials. But over the years, your knowledge of what is organic changes. Organic certification only says something about the ingredients, nothing about the packaging or the rest of the production process. We have never been certified organic because that felt too limited for us. We studied the sustainability of our raw materials, but at one point we grew so fast that we lost grip.”
The NDSM wharf belongs to everyone, but at the same time it belongs to no one
After the 10-year anniversary, a turning point came for Bbrood and there was a discussion about how things would continue. That was also the moment that Renee became acquainted with biodynamic agriculture: a circular way of cultivation and entrepreneurship that takes into account the entire production process, from the raw materials used, to the clothing of the employees, to the building blocks of the store. “It was only when I learned about biodynamic entrepreneurship that I noticed how far we have come from the original process as humans,” says Renee. “We have become far too far removed from nature. I think that’s because sometimes we don’t fully understand nature. As humans we love to understand and be in control of everything, but nature has its own ways and laws. We want to be in control of nature so badly that we already try to do that in all kinds of ways in life. That sometimes works for a while, but nature is incredibly powerful and at a certain point it is impossible to argue with that. The world is much more balanced if we don’t try to intervene all the time, we should try to cooperate more with nature, instead of working against it. The new store on the NDSM has been completely set up in this way, with the aim of doing business as circularly as possible and therefore as sustainable as possible. ”
I then ask Renee about what it was like to open a new store with such a new vision during a pandemic. Renee smiles briefly from the other end of the line. “That was indeed quite bizarre, in Corona times,” she says, “we did an online opening with a 1.5-hour program with all kinds of interactive elements, which was great fun.” Renee says that for the counter in the new store they worked together with an artist from Eindhoven who processes wood by means of fire. The aprons of the employees are also designed and made by a local workshop. “We do like this collaboration with art,” she explains, “we think baking bread is also an art, so it is nice to have it reflected in the shops in that way. We are also working on getting the other stores that we have to this biodynamic level, I think it would be nice to continue the collaboration with artists there as well. ”
Then I ask Renee what makes doing business at the NDSM shipyard so special for her. She has to think about the question for a moment. “The environment, I think,” she says in the end, “of course, the past year has been a very strange year, so you can’t really count that in. But normally it is so vibrant here, with the festivals and everything that comes with it. As entrepreneurs, we are of course always happy to look for challenges and there is always a challenge to be found here. It stimulates you and still attracts you enormously, you also see that, despite corona, many people still come here to have a look. We enjoy contributing to that and being part of the yard. Although of course you give your own interpretation to this terrain, you also sometimes have to conform to how it is, and that is actually what nature does as well. The NDSM wharf belongs to everyone, but at the same time it belongs to no one; everyone also has to adapt a little. And if you don’t resist that process, I think it can actually lead to very extraordinary things. ”
Bbrood has also been setting up shops in various countries in Africa for several years now. They contribute to the local communities by teaching healthy bread baking and food safe entrepreneurship. Curious about this project, or more information about Bbrood? Click the button below! If you want to know more about the production process of Bbrood, you can also visit the new shop at NDSM. The employees are happy to tell you about the bread and the special store. The delicious croissants are made right in front of your nose!