Well, we have to dig into history for that. You grow up with it. In other words, you don't really know anything else. Grandpa van Oosterum once started a leather business a long time ago. Those were certainly not easy times. And a large catholic family from the South had to be fed. 5 brothers and 5 sisters. The brothers all wanted to work in the business. With Grandpa, their father. But there is sometimes a world of difference between wanting and being able to. One of the brothers, Gerard, lasts longer than the other brothers. To be exact, about 60 years.
Now that is what we call making a career within a company. Today we will no longer experience this type of employment. It was obviously more than an employment contract, it was a passion and that made it possible to keep it going for so long. Along the way, some of this typical leather virus was passed on to his own children. Brother and sister have found a way to continue the proud life's work of grandpa Jan and father Gerard.
The birth of a company. At the time of the great financial crisis on Wall Street, the foundations were laid for a new company in Brabant. Many companies in the region are involved in leather in one way or another. Jan van Oosterum also sees opportunities in offering a good piece of leather to the countless shoemakers and leather factories. Trading company Van Oosterum Leder was born: import and export of leather.
Brabant is quickly emerging as the center of the leather industry. Tanners and leather companies are popping up like mushrooms. Van Oosterum Leder is growing steadily and is able to withstand the difficult times of war. After the war, his son Gerard van Oosterum joins his father's company. He learns the tricks of the trade and together they realize considerable growth.
In 1989 Gerard van Oosterum orders the construction of a spacious new building in Raamsdonksveer. The building on the Dombosch-I industrial estate is a lot easier to reach than the old, less logically arranged warehouse and office at 32-34 Steenweg in Breda. At the end of the 1980s, Jan van Oosterum had already retired. The company is continuing a good development under the focused leadership of Gerard van Oosterum.
Until 2011, the daily management was in the hands of Gerard van Oosterum. In that year the third generation takes over from him. Son Evert van Oosterum, who is well prepared for this new adventure with the experience gained abroad, runs the company with the same principles and passion as the older generations: honesty, cordiality and love for the profession are paramount.
We are writing the year 2021. The pandemic has not gone unnoticed. Our customers also include companies that have had fewer opportunities to maintain their business. We are grateful that we were allowed to remain largely open in our sector. There's no time to sit back and relax. So, we take a deep breath and put our shoulders to the wheel. We're not done yet...
Books have been written about it. Is there anything that sets the family businesses apart from the rest? There are several possible answers here. And if I had to pick one characteristic out of it, I'd say long-term thinking.
Of course, every company has to fight for survival in the long term. However, we don't see this as a sprint, but rather as a marathon. We try not to be guided by the "delusion" of the day.
You have to stay in good shape. Move along. Maintaining all your relationships, choosing good products, reliable suppliers and everything you need to sell. With passion. Leather makes that easy. Leather is already emotion!
"I'm in the office today!" As if everyone immediately knows where you are. Now that question is certainly often answered very differently. However, some issues cannot be solved by working from home. So we still go to the office. And we feel at ease there, we have taken care of that ourselves. We are happy to receive customers, new and existing, at the office. In other words, in the warehouse. That remains a unique space and opportunity for us to convey the feeling that belongs to leather.
Let us know when you plan to visit us. Then we are all set.