Meet our Franchisees

Tjadlind Arends-Woller — Kvik Leeuwarden

Tjadlind Arends-Woller and her husband Ted Arenda opened  Kvik Leeuwarden in September 2020. With Tjadlind out front doing sales and Ted in the back, ensuring the kitchens are perfectly installed, the two of them together form a well-oiled machine.

Tired of working in the corporate world, Tjadlind and Ted decided to pursue their old dream, namely that of one day going into business for themselves. Tjadlind had no experience as an entrepreneur and also no experience in the kitchen industry. So how did she end up running a Kvik franchise? We asked her what it was like to start as a woman in a male-dominated industry during what was arguably a difficult period at the height of the pandemic.

From corporate life to kitchen sales

You come from a corporate career as an employee, without experience in the kitchen industry. How did you end up at Kvik?

I worked in the head office of Friesland Campina. I have always been an employee and had no experience in the kitchen industry. But, I always wanted to start my own interior design business. During my studies I worked abroad a lot and moved into the export side. When I turned 40, I started thinking, I had a good job, where I could stay until retirement. But my dream of one day starting my own shop remained.

Just for myself, I have always taken training and courses in the field of interior design. Scandinavia is my favorite holiday destination and I have a Kvik kitchen at home. To get my kitchen, I had to drive from Friesland to the Randstad, because there was no branch nearby. Kvik appealed to me because of the design and transparency of the company. I wanted my own shop, but not a small interior design shop. I would find that boring. It had to be something bigger, preferably with an international twist. At Kvik it all came together beautifully. So I had no experience in the kitchen industry, but everything can be learned and I was convinced that I had enough to make it work.

How did the start-up go?

Kvik shared my opinion and wanted to give me the opportunity. I had to learn the trade. The difficult thing was that the whole process started just before corona and just when we had signed all the paperwork, the world turned upside down. I also noticed this during my training period, because most of the shops had to close. There was no personal guidance possible from Denmark and there was little opportunity to shadow other Kvik franchisees. So learning the trade mainly had to be done online.

The world closed down, but many people decided to renovate their homes. The demand for new kitchens was enormous, which was nice on the one hand, but it was not possible to start up smoothly. Complying with all the rules was also difficult. Is this wrong because we still have to learn this? Is this tuition money? Or are the circumstances bad? Then it is nice that you have a franchisor who gives you the opportunity to learn along the way.

Have you consciously chosen a franchise and what are the advantages?

I was a bit hesitant about franchising because I had a certain image of it. The straitjacket idea. I push the boundaries and break the rules, but always for the better and Kvik appreciates that.

How do you make the store your own?

As far as I was concerned, the store should be in the middle of the city and not on an industrial estate. I had to fight for that, because people were afraid that the store would be too small. Fortunately, Kvik went along with my ideas and now that this is going well, Kvik even wants to focus more on such branches. Because the building has more of the appearance of a local hero, it doesn’t feel like it’s part of a chain.

I always have fresh flowers, you get good coffee with something tasty, served in a nice cup. I want to give a living room feeling, which is a nice complement to the 'cool' image of Danish design. The franchise organisation wants the best for the entire company, so they listen to ideas. I may be stubborn, but if it is for the better of the formula, I will be supported. That makes Kvik a very nice franchisor to work with. After a few months I was even asked to join the product council, which thinks about new products and innovations.


It's nice that your franchisor takes care of many overarching matters, so that you can focus on your business.

— Tjadlind Arends-Woller — Kvik Leeuwarden

What is the advantage of a franchise model like Kvik’s?

My fellow franchisees are located throughout Europe. How are they doing in other countries? What ideas might we adopt? That’s educational and interesting. At a national level, franchisees are also your colleagues, which is nice and useful. It's nice that your franchisor takes care of many overarching matters, so that you can focus on your business. I would like to be involved in sustainability and innovation, but I just don't have the time for it. That's why I really like the fact that there is a franchisor at the top, who thinks things through, sets out the big picture and works as a driving force. You just can't do that at that level on your own.

We regularly meet with Dutch franchisees. Then there is consultation, there are small workshops and we talk about which direction we are going. Each franchisee runs their own store, but you can always contact each other.


Signed with a pink pen

What is it like to work as a female franchisee in the kitchen industry?

It really is a man's world. I was the first female franchisee to sign her own franchise contract. I really liked that. I signed my contract with a pink pen. Of course there are more women in the franchise world and also within Kvik branches, but then it was still the signature of the man on the contract.

When I am in the store, I am sometimes told: “I would like to speak to the owner.” That's me. “Yes, but I would like to speak to the real owner.” Still me. Sometimes questions are asked to test whether I really know what I'm talking about. People are not yet used to the fact that women can also sell kitchens, advise on technical aspects, measure and assemble kitchens. So I really have to prove myself and hold my ground.

Other female franchisees started after me, so it's slowly becoming more common. I only have women working in the store. Not that men are not allowed to work for me, but it turned out that way and I actually really like it. I also think it's great that more women want to become kitchen designers. If you like it and are good at it, then why not? I have interns in the store who are 18 years old, and I also have them work in the warehouse. When they say that installing cabinets makes them happy, that gives me a lot of energy.

What is your Kvik dream?

I want a nice store, where I enjoy working, together with my people, and I want to earn money with it. I want every customer to feel welcome and seen when they come in our store. I want to convey that we are approachable, that you can easily walk in and leave with your dream kitchen. My biggest dream is to have more female employees, both designers and in the warehouse. I want to show that it’s no longer a man's world. I don't want to hear the word ”kitchen farmer” anymore, I'll stick my neck out for that.

Are you our new franchisee?