You are who you are
Ben Akkerman (1942) is an optician and together with his wife he has a shop in Rotterdam: Eyeclusive. He started in the shop of his father.
Ben: “My father was an authoritarian man. I always followed my own path; also in the way, I dress. This didn’t please my father and one day he told that customers complained about my dress style. He did not mention names and I did not want to wear the kind of suits my father suggested. I was fired, but in the end – after weeks – he gave in and took me back. Back then I already had my own style and maybe there were customers who could not appreciate this. On the other hand, there were also customers who liked it a lot and so I learned that you should stick to your own thing. You are who you are. ”
“My style has changed over the past few years. Before this period I dressed in a Mad Men style. Jacket (a little too short) and tie. Somehow my style has become looser. Rick Owens is my favourite designer, as well as the Greek designer Issi and the German designer Thom Krom. I grew my beard and I feel comfortable in these clothes. I often get compliments about the way I dress. I will start worrying when nobody is looking at me anymore.”
“For me, appearance is an important way to show who I am and how I feel. In the morning I first think about what to wear that day. When I figured it out I will rise out of bed. I like to wear jewellery and as you can see, I wear lots of rings and usually this necklace. ”
“We used to have our own shop, we sold it and I worked for somebody else for a while. But I couldn’t resist having my own store, so a few years ago I went back to the bank, at the age of 73, to ask for a starters loan. For the bank people, it felt a bit like a joke, but I was able to convince them. I succeeded and together with my wife we have a shop on a beautiful location at the Nieuwe Binnenweg in Rotterdam. This is it; I do not want to become a pensioner, ‘cause that will make me a very unpleasant person. ”
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