5 Questions with Hylkia from Hartendief

Hartendief is a beautiful Dutch brand specialising in children’s bedroom decorations. They make gorgeous and whimsical lamps, wall decorations, posters, wall stickers and wallpapers, and charming storybooks — all featuring the founder Hylkia’s stunning illustrations and designs. We were delighted to be able to ask Hylkia a little bit about herself, her family and her business. Below, she answers five questions and gives us a peek into her inspiring world.

1. Please tell us a little bit about yourself, where you live and about your family.

My name is Hylkia de Jong, I live in the Netherlands near the beach. My family is a family of five, from which two have flown the nest. One daughter, now 23, is a bus driver and lives close by, the other daughter, now 25 lives in London and is pursuing her career as a musician, songwriter/singer. Our son is still living at home, he is still in training to be an entrepreneur and works part time at Hartendief. He just turned 21.

Hartendief started out as a side job when I became a single mum. I did a bachelor in fashion design before having a baby. My daughter was nearly two at that time and I had to find a way to take care of her, so working from home was the perfect solution at that time. Hartendief started as a small initiative, I created plush music boxes and painted mirrors and sold these off to kids stores nearby.

It was a challenging time but has brought me the skills that I needed most: independence, stamina, creativity in all fields, and most of all: to believe in myself.
I was being a mum and an entrepreneur for the first time in my life. I met my husband Perry in 2004. From there on we had our blended family of five.

2. Tell us a little bit about Hartendief and how you came to create your brand.

Hartendief was still a bit dormant on the side at that time. I did several part-time jobs and did not really make use of its full potential. When the kids were in high school I had more time on my hands and Perry suggested to me to take a full year to discover what I really wanted to do with my creativity. Which I happily did.

Hartendief actually translates as: Stealing your Heart. So it was time to steal some hearts and I decided to go full force with it. The small space next to our house was transformed into an office/studio and from there it took off. We have been growing since 2016 and Perry left his steady job in 2019 to work at Hartendief. We have a team of five people and work from the warehouse at the former Navy camp in Valkenburg near Katwijk.

3. Where do you look for design inspiration?

Design inspiration for me comes from nature mostly, and from people. Just being in nature, trees, fields, birds, the animals around us, the wind, the stars at night.
Of course I also look at social media, at films, art, etc etc. It’s magnificent to witness the beauty people can create around us. It makes me feel very positive.

4. What do you love most about your job?

The thing I love most about my job is the versatility of it. There is never a dull moment. I love the hectic times but also find true joy and a peaceful mindset in creating stories, doing photography, styling and drawing new things. I do a lot of watercolour painting, it’s a fantastic medium as it dares you to let go while working. It’s a great way of learning to let go of processes when you’re actually a perfectionist, like me. 😉

5. Can you tell us something exciting you have planned for this year?

Absolutely! For the past six months, I’ve been working on a new story book and it’s finally in print! Yayy! We’re expecting the books at the second week of November so it’s perfectly timed as a Christmas gift. It’s a book about Otter who sees stars falling from the sky. He decides to go after them and collects them in a big pile. But he is so tired he falls asleep, and when he wakes up they are all gone…. We will regularly have sneak peeks at our Insta and Pinterest so keep an eye open. The book will be available in English, Dutch and German.


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