Gardening for beauty is as old as farming and it is not just a source of herbs and fruits, but an everlasting inspiration for our daily life. English gardens are known for its creation of wonders way before Elizabethan times and many contemporary people are making a significant difference in today’s world and are known for leaving a legacy in gardening. Monty Don, BBC presenter who has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours last month, has dedicated his life’s passion to gardening. Monty Don identified a new approach to younger people’s perception on plant awareness and recently said: “Gardening is not a retreat from the world, it’s a connection to the world.” How fashionable is gardening in the modern world?
We reached out to Wilma Peelen who is the director of Sneeboer since 1986, to find out what is the latest in ‘the garden’ of Sneeboer tools:
‘The planting trowel has sharp sides and a pointed end allowing you to cut easily through the soil for all your planting and gardening needs. Use it for planting bulbs, seedlings and small plants or use the large head for breaking and turning the soil. The planting trowel can even be used to separate smaller perennials. The forged stainless-steel head will stay sharp and provide you with a lifetime of service. It’s also Monty Don’s favourite tool.’ Wilma says.
What is available for gardening enthusiasts?
The Dutch workshop Sneeboer perpetuates the secret of craftsmanship since 1913 and elevated garden tools to a higher level to add a very luxurious quality.
When Wilma met Jaap and learned about his business and the beautiful products they made by hand, she decided that everybody deserves to enjoy the gardening experience from a different perspective and enjoy their way into discovering a new blacksmith.
‘Everybody should be able to experience and enjoy the high quality of our tools; the way we produce, the way we care for our environment, the ways of our blacksmith, the family orientation and the high range of different tools (more than 240!) is something I am very proud of.’
In addition to the tools most regularly used by all of us in the garden, Sneeboer has worked hard to resurrect many of the old traditional tools that have proven their worth down the centuries – as well as striving to offer new innovative products. ‘To contribute to this mission is something that gives me energy. In 2013 an important milestone was achieved when the company celebrated its centennial and received the Royal Warrant of Appointment by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.’ Wilma says while her voice was getting deeper with humble satisfaction.
The story behind world’s most exclusive Titanium garden set
Known as the green sustainable factory, which produces gardening tools with care for the environment and keen on sustainable production, Wilma and her husband Jaap constantly aim to improve the production processes and machines to create a cleaner and safer working environment for their employees.
‘When we took over the business, it was a very small company and the garden world was not as big as these days. Every week we brought our tools and story to countless exhibitions together with our 2 young children to promote our tools, which was a big effort. Then we had a great article written about us in the magazine “Gardens Illustrated”, which gave us a huge boost internationally. From England to the USA, Sneeboer was suddenly well-known all over the world. After this article, we could sell a selection of our tools in Harrods, we created a limited-edition garden tool bag with a famous Finnish designer Harri Koskinen and we were invited by the Wall Street Journal to attend the design week in Milan.’ Wilma tells us.
Crafting quality tools by hand takes a lot of time, and up-scaling the business had a big impact on the small firm’s resource planning, challenging existing production lines to upgrade some parts of the process, like the implementation of a robotic waterjet to cut the stainless steel. The team had to ensure the craftsmanship in the elementary parts of the production process.
‘At this moment, we still have some waiting time for bigger orders. But this was a sacrifice we, and (luckily) our customers, loved to make for true quality.
The next challenge arose when we wanted to create an online web shop combined with an online marketing strategy to use the limitless possibilities of the Internet. As this was something we had never done before, we had a steep learning curve. It took almost two years to master this new outlet of Sneeboer but now it’s one of our strongest sales points. Really something to be proud of!’
Renowned for its winning coalition of timeless utensils that have been used for centuries to till and nurture the soil with contemporary finishes that sharpen them up for the 21st-century – both literally and aesthetically, this garden set is an elevation to luxury.
‘Designed to last a life, to be transmitted from generation to generation, Sneeboer’s exclusive TI-tanium line is made from a special grade Titanium, of course, hand forged and comes with a hand-made walnut handle. Intended to be truly elite amongst garden tools the three available hand tools, transplanting trowel, hand-fork and hand-hoe have a design of pure charisma, this set is a legacy for gardening and gardening enthusiasts’
Getting inspiration from the direct contact with their customers, who are invited to visit the factory or visiting their customers, their gardens, Wilma met amazing people from all walks of life, from the local enthusiastic gardener to famous people like Monty Don, Elton john, Catherine Deneuve, up to The Royal Family.
Wilma is exceptionally inspired by Queen Maxima, who is ‘a leading example of female power in the Netherlands, making a difference from her special role, by providing micro credits for people in need, empowering them to make the most of themselves.’ Wilma says.
Wilma understands people who love their garden and their gardening experience well. ‘Our founder famously said: “One who has once held a Sneeboer in his hands, never wants to use anything else again”. By delivering on this promise, our loyal fans are to be found worldwide: from the UK to Japan to the USA, but also very local in the Netherlands.’
Wilma believes that ‘We should never underestimate the power of women connecting and supporting each other at work, it is great to use this network to its highest potential. We experience the same obstacles and can learn from each other’s challenges and solutions to make the most of opportunities at hand. I believe that having more women in leadership roles will help social progress and prosperity in the future. All researches show that the best companies are led by a well-balanced mix of men and women. As women haven’t achieved full equality yet, this should have our attention until it becomes reality.’
Do you love gardening? You need better gardening tools!
Get in touch with Wilma now!
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