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26.03.2021

THE PEOPLE BEHIND ESSENTIEL ANTWERP

ANOUK STERCKX
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If you’ve ever visited our Brussels store in Avenue Louise, you surely remember our radiant Assistant Store Manager Anouk Sterckx. It all started with wearing our brand on the catwalk in her previous modeling career and now she has been a part of our Essentiel Antwerp family for 9 years. She shares why she loves the brand, her job and the vibrant city of Brussels.
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When did you start working at Essentiel Antwerp?

Anouk — It all started by being a customer of the brand in their early beginnings. A while after, I happened to walk the catwalk for them during fashion events in Belgium. To then eventually start working at the Avenue Louise store in Brussels about 9 years ago.

Starting to work at Essentiel Antwerp is a story of fate. I initially applied to work at the Uccle or Woluwé store. I was asked to do a trial run at our Brussels flagship store, Avenue Louise. I just loved it! Yet, it did not go through at that time as I was pregnant. A year later, a headhunter contacted me for a job that was best suited for me. A vacancy was open for Assistant Store Manager of the Avenue Louise store and it was indeed a perfect match.



What is it like to work at Essentiel Antwerp?

Anouk — Working at Essentiel Antwerp is literally entering a world of glitter and glamour! Very quickly, I felt the family-like atmosphere. On one hand with my colleagues, with some I have been working closely since I started. But I also have this feeling with our customers, we really get to create valuable connections. A relationship of trust is undeniably important in what I do. Especially for an outspoken brand such as Essentiel Antwerp, our clients love to express themselves through what they wear.

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"There is nothing more satisfying than seeing our customers leave the store with a big smile and a great look that matches their personality."
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The store in Avenue Louise is quite impressive. What is your favorite corner in the store?

Anouk — I love the front of the store; the huge window makes the light come into the entire space. We are lucky to have such a great exposure in one of the main shopping streets in Brussels, we really stand out. I particularly I like the impressive & giant DIXON ceiling light pendant which gives a lot of cachet to the store. It was recently renovated and even with the drastic makeover, the pendant looks better than ever. It is the signature decoration item that makes our store unique among other Essentiel Antwerp stores.



You have been working at Essentiel Antwerp for a while now. What keeps you driven? What is the best thing about your job?

Anouk — The advantage of working in the fashion industry is that it is constantly changing. Even if it is cyclical, it is always revisited! In my position, the direct contact I have with our customers is what I love and keeps me motivated! My job is about listening to our customers and giving them tailor-made advice. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing our customers leave the store with a big smile and a great look that matches their personality. Even more so, sometimes even with a confidence boost.



Most memorable anecdote over time?

Anouk — Taking in consideration that I’ve been a part of the Essentiel Antwerp family for so long, I have dozens of anecdotes to tell. From big events in store or at the headquarters in Antwerp, to treating VIP customers in store. The one I will not forget is having our Belgian Queen as a customer. It all happened through a friend, who is her makeup artist and stylist. Queen Mathilde was very interested to know the brand, especially since it is Belgian. We had prepared a selection of dresses, pants and tops and created looks that would be a perfect fit for her. She was very receptive, and it was an honor to assist her in her choices. She loved the colors and the store! It was a great experience that we can hopefully repeat.

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"Working at Essentiel Antwerp is literally entering a world of glitter and glamour!"
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How does your personal style match the DNA of Essentiel Antwerp?

Anouk — I have a very eclectic and extravagant style. I have always been very comfortable in mixing and matching and creating unexpected combinations. I am not embarrassed whatsoever to go outside of the conventional line or trends. I mean, why wouldn’t you be able to wear sequins during the day, even to run errands or drop my kids off at school, and sweatshirts during nights out? At least, that is what I do (laugh). It is all about creating your own occasion, especially in times like these. Essentiel Antwerp makes it all possible and even more so, encourages it.

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"I like to go outside of the conventional line. I mean, why wouldn’t you be able to wear sequins during the day and sweatshirts during nights out?"
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What makes Essentiel Antwerp so special to you? Why do you love it so much?

Anouk — My wardrobe is mainly Essentiel Antwerp – thankfully, I work for the brand (laugh). I love the mix of colors and prints. I love to be able to express myself through my clothes. I would describe my own style as glamour with a touch of streetwear and I think it really matches with the design of the brand. The collections are always so strong and I very much love to mix them together.



What are your favorites of this Spring 2021 collection?

Anouk — The pink sleeveless ZARLEY jumpsuit, is my favorite item from this collection, it has the perfect fit and looks amazing. I also have a weakness for kimonos, especially in summer. It’s super versatile, as you can easily wear it with jeans or shorts combined with a basic T-shirt.



What makes Brussels special?

Anouk — Brussels is a village hidden in a city, it is small, friendly and vibrant! Very multicultural, lots of things to do and see. Everything is close at hand!



What are your favorite neighborhoods in Brussels?

Anouk — I love the discrict of Forêt/Vorst, I lived there for a long time. It is very green and close to the more city-like neighborhoods like Ixelles and the city center, both up- and downtown.



Let us start dreaming of the reopening of restaurants and bars. Where would you go to?

Anouk — Ooooh!!! I cannot wait for the first of May (potential re-opening of restaurants & bars – Ed.), let’s cross our fingers.

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