"To want something very badly, to think it through thoroughly and to work very hard afterwards", that is the definition of 'entrepreneurial spirit' according to Dieter Penninckx' wife, Anja Maes - a quote Penninckx now made his own.
A 10 year growth plan
One has to dare, Penninckx believes. "It is different when you have just come out of school and want to give it your all, compared to when you have a responsibility towards a family and 900 employees. In absolute quantities, we will take the larger risks now, but in relative terms, the risks will be much more limited."
Penninckx, with his wife and Manu Bracke, leads fashion group FNG. What started out as an idea to have a business, has turned into a group with a 130 million euro turnover. The ladies' brands CKS, Van Hassels, Expresso, Baker Bridge and Claudia Sträter, alongside children's brands Fred & Ginger, Van Hassels, CKS and Baker Bridge, have helped to reach that turnover.
"Luckily, I have shared leadership to help me as Anja, Manu and myself complete each other. That was the case when we started and that is still the case now, not only in the day-to-day workings, but also strategically", Penninckx said.
"That is why we have diversity in our board of directors. Eric Verbaere is a specialist in corporate finance, Emiel Lathouwers is a born entrepreneur from the retail branch, Gino Van Ossel is a marketing guru and we also have economist Geert Noels. I believe we can empower each other in areas we may not be too good at ourselves."
According to Penninckx, that diversity is key for a better soundboard. "Transparency and respect for other opinions and criticism is a key for success. You learn most if you are a humble leader, because no one knows it all", the FNG CEO said.
Penninckx will expand on the story of 10 years of growth at the second RetailDetail Fashion Congress on 12 June. The winner of the 'Belgian Fashion Personality of the Year' award will also be handed out at that time.