What is typical aartsenfruit? How does this family business stand out from the pack? In a series of articles entitled ‘Typical aartsenfruit’, we take a closer look at the characteristics of the company. In previous articles, we described quality control, the product range, talent
development, brand policy and financial reliability.
THAT’S WHAT YOU CALL TYPICAL AARTSENFRUIT THIS TIME, THE TOPIC IS • QUIRKINESS
The outside world
To the outside world, aartsenfruit may appear characteristically quirky. In a nutshell, quirkiness means having peculiar or unexpected traits or aspects. If you consider this definition without being judgemental, it’s a strong asset. Without quirky entrepreneurs, inventors and intellectuals, there would be fewer developments and innovations.
Quirky people discover, dare and do.
There are people who confuse quirky with stubborn. Stubborn is generally understood to
mean somewhat obstinate. This notion differs fundamentally from being quirky. At aartsenfruit, people simply see the value of being somewhat self-willed. Younger people can sometimes be unreasonably obstinate. They easily cross the divide between being somewhat obstinate and being unreasonable. By gaining experience, making mistakes and getting it completely wrong on occasion, you learn that being unreasonably obstinate gets you nowhere. And when a person learns how far to go, they can harness the benefits of being self-willed.
aartsenfruit conducts business in a distinctive way. The company is not a follower. It does not look at other companies to replicate their performance. This family business has its own
strategy, which is reflected in all aspects of the business: commerce, staffing, culture, and
renovation and expansion, to name just a few areas. Everything is done in a unique manner. It is etched in the company’s DNA.
In the DNA
Right from the start, being quirky has been part of the company, which can be
traced back to the Aartsen family. The people who lead an organisation, company or department influence their colleagues. This situation is no different at aartsenfruit, where quirkiness filters down from above. The leadership style sets the tone for the organisation as a whole. This approach has achieved success for more than 110 years. Obviously, being quirky is not the only way to succeed in business, because there are countless organisations that do things differently and are also very successful. However, for aartsenfruit, this approach bears fruit.
Steadfastly pursuing a strategy is also a form of being quirky. For example, aartsenfruit doesn’t work with chain stores and the company does not do exports itself, even though its competitors do and aartsenfruit has sufficient opportunity tofollow suit. Yet these strategic choices are well considered, as aartsenfruit does not fall in line. Yes, this attitude could certainly be considered quirky. The company also takes a unique approach to recruiting staff. They don’t headhunt staff from other companies; aartsenfruit trains its own
employees. While some have said that this. strategy makes aartsenfruit a training institute for others, it’s largely a training institute for aartsenfruit itself because its employees are generally very loyal, simply because they enjoy their work and receive the recognition that they deserve.
Of course, Jack Aartsen has clear ideas and views on how the company should be run, but he
appreciates everyone’s input. Opposition is indispensable. The directors and management
team certainly influence the company’s development. They improve everything with their ideas, plans and experience. Aartsenfruit wouldn’t become better, more successful or more fun if its directors and management team consisted solely of yes-men and -women. Everyone has their own point of view, contributes something unique and ultimately influences the joint decisions. Being somewhat quirky and constructively stubborn is
also necessary for the commercial department to function properly. Yes-men and -women and people who quickly change their minds don’t really add value to the commercial team.
RIGHT FROM THE START, BEING QUIRKY HAS BEEN PART OF THE COMPANY WHICH CAN BE TRACED BACK TO THE AARTSEN FAMILY.
What is expected of partners? Cooperating with partners internationally works best if you
see eye to eye when it comes to standards, values, beliefs and cultures. If it clicks, both
parties get the best out of working together. If there are no similarities, or only a few,
cooperation is often short-lived. A relationship based on mutual trust works better among
like-minded people. Quirky partners also offer input, ideas and developments from which
aartsenfruit can learn and grow. Note that you don’t always have to agree completely,
because there are partners who are even more quirky and stubborn than aartsenfruit. However, when working on the basis of mutual respect, recognition and common commercial ground, there are endless possibilities.
At the other end of the spectrum, you have aartsenfruit’s customers. Being quirky or, more
specifically, critical isn’t an unfamiliar characteristic of the company’s broad customer base.
Critical customers keep an organisation alert and on its toes, while quirky customers ask
questions that ensure everyone’s attention. Such customers also force the company to be
critical of itself. In this capacity as well, they are indispensable.
Distinctive, self-willed, quirky. If the outside world sees aartsenfruit as quirky, the company takes it as a genuine compliment. Now that’s what you call typical aartsenfruit.