MEET THE STORE #5 Black&Blue

Today the 5th episode of the topic Meet the Store. This topic Meet the Store shows you the best (denim) stores. The stores you need to know to find the right pair of jeans, the most durable boots, the outstanding jacket or your new favorite item. This fifth edition of Meet the Store is with a very unique and special retail concept as they carry next to workwear clothing the best BBQ’s. On top of that they’re also doing a lot of events and special workshops in their Black&Blue store. Thanks Barry for sharing the Black&Blue story in the 5th episode of Meet the Store!

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Barry van den Heuvel together with business partner Sjors Coolen.

  • Name: Barry van den Heuvel
  • Living in village & country: Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Age: 47 years
  • Instagram ID of the store: @BlackandBlueNijmegen
  • Number of Instagram followers of the store: 7.151 followers
  • Website: www.black-and-blue.nl
  • Daily work: Running our shop Black&Blue. We don’t only sell clothing, footwear and headwear, but we also do BBQ. We sell the hardwear and we give workshops and do caterering and festivals. Next to that we have an agency for the Diefenthal 1905 brand (German hat and cap company).

Can you introduce yourself:

My name is Barry, I’m from the Netherlands and together with my companion Sjors Coolen I run our store called Black&Blue. Before going into retail I worked for 4 years as a parole officer and 16 years as a mentor, coach for men that have been in prison. I have two lovely daughters and a beautiful girlfriend. Since 3 years I live in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, a city I realy love.

Barry and Sjors in their Black&Blue Store.

What kind of store is Black&Blue:

Our Black&Blue shop is based on two principles: Clothing & BBQ.

Next to our clothing and BBQ we have two great guys in our shop with a shop-in-shop. They’re running their own business, but they’re a very important addition to our store. Together we’re a team. One of our partners is Barber Dji and the other one is By Boaz, who’s a leather craftsman. He’s making the most coolest leather products. He’s doing everything by hand, so no machines, and done from scratch. By Boaz has a small corner in our shop where he makes his handmade products. He makes a lot of custom products and is working on a total line too.

Barber Dji (Djihan) works on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in our shop. He’s doing the authentic barber work, the classic treatments, but not only that, he can do a lot more. On the days he’s not with us he’s giving clinics to hairdressers and barbers through The Netherlands and Belgium.

The clothing collection is heritage and denim orientated. We like authentic and new brands. Brands that stand out, brands that use great fabrics and details. Products that are made by crafted people with a huge passion for durable clothing and products.

We don’t want to be a hard selling store. Friendship and atmosphere are very important in our store. New customers have to feel to be our guest instead of a customer. That’s how we are, not what we made up. I think we can not do it in an other way. We are relaxed and the people who visit us have the same spirit. Just feel good and be yourself!

The BBQ section is based on the low and slow principle. We hardly use the grill, only when its really needed. So the BBQ’s we sell are different/special, the food we make is different and the love we put into the food is different from the way most people BBQ. We like to surprise our customers with the things we make and we love to tell about. Same goes for the clothing, USA orientated.

Can you tell a little bit about the history of Black&Blue:

I have always been a huge fan of the heritage clothing style. When I was young we didn’t have internet so the process of getting to know what was available and where to get it took quit some time. Lucky for me we had one of the best clothing stores ever in our city. It was The Globe in Arnhem, The Netherlands. The first time I stepped into The Globe, owned by Harry Wonder, I felt this is what’s its all about. The smell, The dry denims, the Red Wings, the fits, everything was new to me but it felt like coming home. So when we made the plan of starting a clothing vs BBQ shop I didn’t even think about selling other brands then the ones I liked from the beginning. This is what I am, and this is what I do. Is it wise not to do stretch or pre-washed jeans….I don’t know…we’ll find out. But we are not doing any concessions in that direction. It’s ‘Dry till you Die’ (stole this one from the Grivec Brothers from the Grivec brand). Two guys I also really admire and respect for their blue blood.

What are the core/most popular products at Black&Blue:

All our brands have their own customers. A brand that goes very well is Pike Brothers. John Spoel (the Dutch agent for Pike Brothers) was the first one we talked with when we wanted to open Black&Blue. He was very enthousiastic from the beginning. The brand has got a very good vibe, nice design and good quality. The fits and the price is good as well. A killer combination.

We have a warm bond with Lee Jeans. We even developed our own limited edition Lee Rider jeans which was a very big moment for us. I’m a big Lee Jeans fan from the start.

Shot of the limited edition Lee 101 Rider Jeans.

Eat Dust is another brand you gotta love. Those guys are so nice and their stuff they make is very special. They do things their own way, and I really appreciate that.

Indigofera is the brand a lot of our customers don’t know, but once they see it they start saving money for it. The stuff they make is just awesome. Of course we do Red Wing. Why? Just because we love that brand so much. I love the 877 style to death and wear my pair for 15 years now. It’s such a quality product, with heritage all over it.

Sjors and Barry with an Indigofera blanket.

We started also with Stetson for hats and we added Diefenthal. This is another love of me, hats and caps. One of the most beautiful brands we have, or maybe I have to say is had, is Rising Sun. This is heritage at it’s purest; beautiful shapes, vintage fits and American made. It all stands out.

Pretty new in our Black&Blue store are Wrangler and Benzak. Both great brands in their own way. We love Edwin (the Nashville style has been my jeans for I think the last 9 years). We are testing the JWJ brand and we are flirting with Tanuki, a small Japanese brand who really put a lot of love into their fabrics.

What are the most popular brands at Black&Blue:

If I have to name one, it would be Rising Sun.

What’s the most popular denim brand and fit at Black&Blue:

The Pike Brothers Roamer Pants 63 and the Edwin Nashville are the two bestsellers in our store.

Are there new brands added to the Black&Blue SS18 collection:

We’re testing a couple of brands at the moment as Tanuki and JWJ, but we will also expand our Edwin collection too. I’m looking forward to see some brands on the upcoming Selvedge Run trade show within 2 weeks. The brand Stevensons is high on my list. I’m also interested in the Mister Freedom and W.H. Ranch Dungarees brand. So we’re in a period of orientating new brands which are a perfect match in our store collection.

JWJ denim jacket.

What’s the most iconic items available at Black&Blue:

Rising Suns Cattleman jacket and the Rising Suns Blacksmith jeans.

Indigofera’s Fargo.

Red Wing Irish Setter 9875 boots.

Red Wing Irish Setter 9875 boots.

What’s your personal favorite denim brand(s):

My favorite jeans is from Edwin Jeans, the Nashville style.

Brands: Lee101, Indigofera, Rising Sun.

Looking forward to test some new brands for our store as Mister Freedom and W.H. Ranch Dungarees.

What’s your personal favorite denim brand and fit:

It was the Edwin Nashville for many years. Now I’m wearing the BDD-707 #1 from Benzak Denim Developers for the last months. And I really like this jeans a lot. The Tanuki jeans will be the next one.

I really like the straight fits. I wear these with high cuffs.

What’s your favorite denim city:

I always like to visit Amsterdam, but I can’t say that the stores really inspires me. Most of the stores are more fashionable than my own taste. The store Sivletto in Stockholm was a big inspiration for me. I really liked the total look and feel of the store. It was just epic!

Can you show the most crazy faded jeans from the Black&Blue hall of fades:

The first jeans is a pair of Lee101 which is worn by Sjors.

 

The second pair is from Edwin Jeans, fit Nashville, worn by Barry.

What can we expect in the future of Black&Blue:

We want to bring great brands for our customers. For us its a kind of a challenge to sell brands we really love and other stores don’t. We want to become an important store for special jeans, clothing and BBQ. Next to that we want to grow as a store, businesswise, without losing our own vision. And without losing our own identity.

We hope people are willing to drive a bit further to visit our store. We want to share and unite our passion for authentic workwear, our passion for BBQ, denim, music and whatever. It’s a lifestyle for us!

Barry and Sjors at a local food event with their BBQ’s.

Together with our clothing we want to expand our American style of low and slow BBQ. We never thought that it would grow so hard as it does right now. We do a lot of workshops and catering on festivals as well. We do this on location and in our own shop. Because we do both things together we survived the first two years already. We want to continue our dream and do it our way, which keeps us fresh and outstanding.

www.black-and-blue.nl

Read also the previous editions of Meet the Store;

Oeben’s Mercantile in Utrecht: here.

Concrete Matter in Amsterdam: here.

Red Wing Shoes in Amsterdam: here.

Cultizm (online store): here.

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Written by Wouter
I'm the founder of Long John. Next to running this daily magazine I'm working as a freelance marketing specialist for brands and retail. Specialized in denim.