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Radical Design produces high quality outdoor gear for over 27 years.
In 1990, Hubert van Ham started Radical Design. As a repair-technician for outdoor shops and with a passion for mountaineering, the goal was to make backpacks that excel in reliability and simplicity of construction.
Now over 27 years later little has changed and Radical Design designs and manufactures a wide range of top quality outdoor products with a team of enthusiastic and highly skilled personnel.
In 1996 Hubert van Ham not only had won the confidence of his customers, but he was capable of realizing a dream: to buy a business premises in the beautiful countryside of the Dutch province of Drenthe. This was also the moment to look for staff.
In 2000 Radical Design started to look for producers in Asia. Gradually the sales of certain products had gone up so much that we needed extra capacity. A big concern while looking for producers was the fact that we wanted a guarantee that workers were treated and paid properly. We are currently working with two specialized, smaller companies that deliver top quality as well as good working conditions and salary to their workforce.
Currently Radical Design consists of two companies: RD Manufacturing and RD Sourcing, the first of which solely concentrates on production in its own workshop, while the second is merely occupied with production inAsia.
For the future Radical Design aims at controlled growth guaranteeing the well-being of all people involved. The customer- based approach will remain a key ingredient in the growing strategy of Radical Design.
Radical Design distinguishes itself in the following ways:
our products last longer than what is usual in this market.
Materials based on durability and ecofriendlyness.
Machinery based on energy economy.
Energy sources based on sustainability.
Aiming for well being of employees, customers and suppliers.
Accessible and helpful.
Products: “more is less”.
Healthy profit and controlled growth: just to make development and innovation possible, reached with shareholders capital only.
A pleasant and easy-going atmosphere exists within the working ranks of Radical Design, incorporating a high personal involvement in the organization and final production, resulting from the high level of realization within each employee as to the importance of quality and their own roles and abilities within the company. This positive attitude adds the crucial ingredient for a client-friendly and quality-awareness, upon which the company Radical Design is based.
Customers see Radical Design as friendly and transparent partner that listens well, meets its agreements and offers high quality and service. The Radical Design range is seen as innovative and of high quality. The communication in four languages is highly esteemed.
Suppliers are chosen based on quality and honesty, rather than price. Radical Design expects the same values from its suppliers as it has itself, as well as being concerned in the supplied goods.
Hubert van Ham
Managing Director - Founder
Before founding Radical Design I had been traveling for 2 years and by doing so discovered that there are many simple ways to improve the life expectation of luggage, without using sophisticated engineering. So I decided to put my ideas into practice and founded Radical Design, making strong travel luggage. Strong luggage isn’t necessarily heavy. It is mostly the fancy details that make luggage heavy, details that more often than not make the luggage less sturdy. I try to make my designs basic, functional and well-fitting, while repairable with common tools. By using proven materials and rounded shapes, I am dedicated to make our bags last a very long time.
It is my conviction that we need very few things in order to be happy. For me personally I could put it even like this: having less makes me happier, as long as my basic needs are provided for. If my belongings are of good quality, they will last a long time, thus reducing my impact on the planet.
Fresh air is a luxury I enjoy every day. We are located in a rural area with very clean air. Mostly around lunch time, I take a walk with Catherine, my wife. We bring a few web orders to the post office, get some groceries and return. Even though it is no more than half an hour, we get some exercise, breathe fresh air and enjoy the view of a beautiful sky. It is like having a micro-holiday every day.
Accounting - Founder
My mother called me the wanderer because as soon as I was free from school, I would enjoy to be outside cycling, skating, climbing in trees of running or I would be training for gymnastic of riding horses. When I was tired, I would sit down with a book and my cat on the laps. My father wanted me to be an executive secretary. No way! I thought. I would never sit more than 5 minutes at a desk!
Before I met Hubert, I was a nurse and was travelling around the world, working in Paris, in Abu Dhabi, then in Santiago in Chili where I met Hubert. When he came back to the Netherlands, he started his company. We cut and sewed a lot of bags together. From this time I stopped nursing. We have got two daughters and I started yogic studies to be a yoga teacher. And now I am not sewing anymore but sitting at a desk . My father was right. He knew that I would do something like executive secretary! Well, when I am finished with the papers, I enjoy a walk with Hubert and also to give some yoga classes.
My favourite holiday, if needed at all, is walking with the Wheelie, camping, climbing or cycling. Outside in any case!
I always loved designing things and I dreamed that this could become my job. Already during my last two years of high school I started studying design, but after finishing my degree in industrial design, I realized how big the gap is between the worlds of study and work. I also realized that despite the knowledge I had received, I had hardly any practical know-how. That's why I decided to become Sellier-garnisseur with ‘Les Compagnons du Devoir’, an association that trains craftsmen by partnering up with companies in the craft industry. As the years went by, I went from crafts to prototyping to finally designing again.
I took a liking to cycling as soon as I learned to use it. For many years, I went everywhere by bike, but I always suffered from sore buttocks after a full day of cycling. One day, I discovered the recumbent bike, which fascinated me right away. That's how I discovered Radical Design and their products. I began to dream: would it be possible to combine my passion and my job?
Today I design and develop products at Radical Design, but I also participate in all the tasks necessary for the company to operate smoothly. I'm happy to have arrived here. I consider having successfully linked my childhood dreams, my teenage aspirations and my grown-up’s convictions because Radical Design values are also the ones I was looking for.
Production and Assembly
Radical Design is a company where wellbeing has top priority. Wellbeing for people, animals and the environment. This shows by the way we separate waste, but also in the purchase of products. Hubert and Catherine, the owners, take their responsibility. They do what is in their power.
But also towards us as staff, wellbeing, I would say, is the most important. Pressure is out of the question, because that would only cause stress and stress increases absenteeism, so not good.
We are people, not numbers. This of course can be achieved easily if you're a group of 7 people, but it’s not just a matter of size. It is rather our attitude and our approach towards each other. Even though there is a difference of boss / staff, yet we are equal.
We do not have to adjust ourselves to the company, but we are what makes up the company. If new staff is being hired, we’re all asked how we feel about working with the new person, before a decision is made.
All this makes the atmosphere within the company is very laid back and relaxed. I am very happy to be working here.
Marketing / E-commerce
When I was 2 years old my mom would take me for a walk everyday with an imaginary ball. She would kick the ball and tell me it landed hundreds of meters away. After running my lungs out to get it I would beg her to kick it again. It was the best way to make me lose my excessive energy and her escape to a little bit of peace during the rest of the day. Now 37 years later my energy levels have luckily balanced out but I'm still a fanatic sportsman.
After a decade of studying, working, playing sports and drinking beer I met my wife who was the first to be better in all these areas except the sporting part. It was after this first encounter that my life changed dramatically. I took one day to really determine what my goals are in life and what basically makes me happy and 1 year later I earned my long awaited Engineerings degree and applied openly to work for Radical Design. It's now that I can say that together with marrying my wife this was the best decision I ever made.
Radical is a very special company. It's goals of making the most durable gear and serving it's customers with the best possible service is extraordinary. Foremost since it's strives to achive these goals with controlled growth and self funding only. Responsible for the online Marketing and Communications I cannot help to feel very proud to be part of this journey and being able to set out Radicals future course.
In my personal life we have three children (Rik 5, Emily 4 and Tessa 2) so don't be surprised if you see me kicking fanatically in the open air somewhere seeing how far I can get our ball to go.