Boukje Koch (a Dutch designer in her 30′s) is this week’s Nicely Made in China’s (NMiC) guest. Boukje landed in Jiangsu province 7 years ago with a Master’s degree in industrial design and another one from the Arnheim dance academy. Today she’s at the helm of the Guangzhou-based Ask4me Group, a design company which not only designs, but also organises the engineering and manufacturing of products for clients from Europe and now, more and more from China.
Boukje, what brought you to China?
I came to China in 2005 to set up a factory in Wuxi for a Dutch company making simple electronic products. After a year and a half I moved to Guangzhou to set up Ask4me (pronounced Ask-for-me) with a partner.
What does Ask4me do?
When we started the company our goal was to have a design company but we found we were immediately involved with the production side as well. Today our strength is that we can create a good design and deliver the finished product within our clients’ budgets.
20% of our creations are toy or child related and the other 80% are household appliances, solar lights, personal care, home decorations, garden tools, power tools etc…
Can Ask4me be described as a one-stop shop?
Yes – even if we don’t always do the whole process from design to production. Our clients, who range in size from small and medium enterprises (SME) with relatively small budgets to giant corporations like Philips and Unilever, sometimes only want one or the other of the services that we offer.
Now let’s talk about a particular product which you have recently designed and will be launching soon – the Dream Light. Can you present it now to NMiC readers?
It’s in the shape of an abstract egg (made of plastic) which projects beams of lights onto the ceiling of a child’s bedroom. Originally I had bought for my son, a similar product in the shape of a turtle which projected stars, but he wanted something different. So our product -Dream Light – projects cars, planes and sailing boats! And we also now have a Dream Light which projects animal shapes: butterflies, birds and so on.
This is the first product that we’ve designed and produced under our own name. We recently presented it to the public at the Canton Fair in October where it was very well received. We have also developed the packaging for this product.
Has your son seen the Dream Light?
Yes and he loves it! He’s impressed with the cars and the planes.
Where will you manufacture the Dream Light?
We’ll manufacture it here in Guangzhou. We will work with our usual injection moulder with whom we have a good relationship.
Before we let you go back to your drawing board, can you give us any exclusive information for Nicely Made in China readers?
Yes, we’re now working on a new collection of tableware but we don’t have a launch date to give your readers yet….watch this space!