Meet The Fam: Co-founder Saskia
Can you introduce yourself?
Saskia van Hofwegen, 31 years young, co-founder of Maha Amsterdam, originally from The Hague. 8 years ago, I moved to Amsterdam, for the love of my life. I’m a mom of 2 pugs, King Kai and Lord Bacon.
What are things we do not know about you but define you as a person?
When I was younger I wanted to be a professional dancer. I started with classical and contemporary ballet, and later on, ballroom and Latin dance sparked my interest so I started following extra dance classes in that style as well.
When I was old enough I also attended the Young Talent Programme at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, that until my body was disagreeing with the intense training schedules and flexibility one must have to be the perfect ballerina.
How and when did you decide to begin working in this industry?
After my big ballerina dream was scattered, I had to rethink everything that I wanted in life. All of a sudden, I had time to spare. I know, it sounds dramatic. I’m the type of person that likes to know what’s next and what to expect.
At the age of 15, I started working at a shoe store, quickly I discovered that I really liked working in retail and that people liked the way I dressed. Since then I never worked anywhere else than in retail. I almost did everything, from internships to sales assistant, to store manager and junior-buyer. Starting Maha with Dian was obviously the next step.
What does Maha mean to you?
I see Maha as a safe haven for anyone who likes to learn and experiment. I’m very proud to see that our community is growing and that they’re all progressive, stylish and emancipated womxn that love to empower each other.
As the co-owner of Maha, what are your main activities?
As we’re a small team I have different jobs within the company. In my role as Creative Director, I oversee our creative team. Together with a team of 3 we create, plan and deliver a strategic vision for Maha and our partners when we co-create and collaborate. This to keep the Maha brand in line and recognizable for everyone.
Together with Dian and our assistant buyer Esmée we curate the collection for the store. We visit showrooms from the brands we carry and make a selection that fits the Maha style. Pre-COVID this would happen during fashion weeks in Paris or London. Unfortunately, it’s all digital for now.
Can you share your most precious moment Maha?
I think it was the opening event of the first store, 6 years ago. Not a lot of people knew that we were the people that was opening a new shop, but knew that it was something for womxn in the street scene. The turn-out was major! The love and support from everybody that evening was the best feeling ever!
What has been your greatest learning point by running a business? What advice would you give people who admire a career like you?
Trust your gut feeling, don’t get carried away by other players in the market. What works for them doesn’t mean it works for you. Stay true to your vision. Whenever in doubt, don’t be afraid to spar with others.
What are your dreams and what's next for Maha?
My dream is to expand the Maha brand, collaborate with brands and create beautiful projects. We are working on very exciting projects for the future. I can’t wait for the moment to be able to share them with you!