Secrid is a family business and 100% owned by the Van Geer family. The company was founded by René van Geer and Marianne van Sasse van Ysselt. By now, their daughters Michelle and Daniëlle also work for the company.
We are therefore free to set our own course, taking into account the long-term effects of all our choices. Social interests weigh at least as heavily as corporate interests for us.
Personal start – The history of Secrid actually begins on 4 May 1979. The day Marianne van Sasse van Ysselt (14) and René van Geer (17) meet and go steady.
Creativity – After a short flirtation with career opportunities as a kindergarten teacher and chemist, Marianne and René both opt for creative courses; Marianne in Fashion (Fashion Academy and Charles Montagne) and René Industrial Design (TUDelft).
Habitat contest – In 1986 they win a design competition and are invited to visit the design studios of Sir Terence Conran, the founder of the Habitat store in London. This trip turns into an unforgettable weekend during which it becomes clear to them what they want to achieve 'someday' in their lives: their own creative studio and their own consumer brand.
Design studio – In addition to his work at the NHTM, René does part-time freelance work. When his first employee joins him, his freelance practice changes into a design studio. This firm was named DSI (Design & Styling for Industry) on 1 January 1990. Marianne was expected to join later that year.
Design & Styling for Industry – Marianne does indeed join the studio, albeit a little later than expected, and completes the unique mixture of fashion styling and technological expertise. For many customers with design assignments this turns out to be a valuable approach, including the well-known manufacturer of child seats Maxi Cosi. Other customers are KPN Telecom, Satcom, Sitecom and Quooker.
Bodycard – DSI receives several assignments from the world of banking, including several balance readers for a new type of bank card that will be introduced that year (these are cards that will become known under the names Chipper and Chipknip). This also requires a new type of wallet. Based on this insight they designed the Bodycard, a patented mechanism for a plastic card holder that protects the cards against bending and breaking.
The first patent – The design of the Bodycard marks the first step into the world of cardholders and wallets. Our adventure as wallet makers starts when we first apply for a patent for our cardholder, dated 11 August 1995. Since then, we have been active in this field, closely following the developments of the other companies and continuing to lead the way with innovations, now registered in five patents.
SPIRID – The agency rebrands itself as SPIRID in 2001, with which René and Marianne want to indicate more clearly that they work from a spiritual viewpoint in the field of Industrial Design.
Secrid – Eight years after its introduction, the design of the Bodycard has become old-fashioned. They design a new model, in line with the style of the Nokia phones, with rounded shapes. The cardholder is also given a new name: Secrid, a variation on the new name of the design agency.
Crisis – The 2008 financial crisis hits the design studio hard. Almost all assignments come to a standstill. It is fortunate that SPIRID feels the impact of the crisis a little earlier than other agencies. Because of that all employees are able to find work elsewhere. The downsizing of the design studio – from ten employees to just one – is completed relatively quick and painless. Paul van Diepen is the only employee who remains at SPIRID.
Cardprotector – Around Christmas 2008, René, Marianne and Paul decide to stop all the activities of the design studio and focus on their own product. Bankruptcy of the design studio is narrowly prevented and turns into a dormant BV. Because they already had more than ten years of experience with the Bodycard and realising that during this economic crisis nobody really develops new products, they decided to focus on the development of 'the best card holder in the world'. This time the design is inspired by the iPhone, which was introduced in 2007, in terms of contours and choice of materials. Apple changed the world of design by working with high quality materials: metal and glass instead of plastics. This inspired Secrid to think of an aluminium cardholder as the successor to the first Secrid.
Help from family and friends – René and Marianne started this project in the middle of the economic crisis. No bank is willing to help them and investors only want to borrow money in exchange for 50% of the shares. They want to remain independent at all costs. During the first years they are dependent on loans from friends and family and accommodating payment terms from suppliers. During their twenty years in design, René and Marianne built an extensive network of manufacturing friends and some are willing to support them by investing in production tools. Privately, however, it is a rough time. Sometimes they depend for their food on packages from the food bank that they get through their friend Mirsada,
Made in Holland – Since the beginning of the 21st century, almost the entire small leather goods industry has disappeared from the Netherlands to the Far East. Everyone seems convinced that this type of industry is no longer possible in the Netherlands. We consciously opt for local production and for product design that makes this possible. We choose good working conditions and production processes that are as clean as possible. If someday we sell larger volumes in North America or Asia, we will consider producing locally, but only according to the same principles as here in the Netherlands. By producing locally, we can better communicate with our suppliers. This not only improves the process, but also the ability to guarantee the best quality possible. We are proud to work together with social enterprises for nearly all our assembly work.
Introduction OV-chipcard – The Dutch government introduces the OV-chipcard, the first card with RFID-technology which will be used extensively by consumers. This technology enables the activation of these cards to facilitate reading and even withdrawing funds from accounts linked to these cards. According to research institute TNO, these RFID-cards can be activated and read using specialized equipment from a distance of 20 meters, without the owner of the card knowing about it. Also, soon after the introduction of the public transport chip card, researchers from the University of Nijmegen publish disturbing reports describing that the software of the OV-chipcard can easily be hacked. The press jumps on this story and consumers are looking for solutions that protect them against the risks described, regardless of whether these theoretical risks actually occur. At that time, Secrid's Cardprotector is the only product that protects RFID cards and therefore appears in all press publications. TNO confirmed this protective effect in an independent study. Free PR for Secrid and a much-needed extra push during Secrid's market introduction.
Introduction Miniwallet – Technology and fashion come together beautifully with the introduction of the Miniwallet. More importantly we expand our wallet assortment to put forth our mission: increase awareness that everything and everyone is part of a larger whole and that small acts can have a large impact. With every transaction a consumer makes a decision: “Where does my money go?” This was, all consumers in the world combined manage an incredibly large cash flow. This cash flow shapes the world we live in. To ensure the survival of our world, these consumers have to become aware of the effects of this cash flow. Is your money ending up in the pocket of a company that respects people, animals and the planet? Which companies do you support?
Red Dot Design Award – The Secrid Cardprotector wins the prestigious Red Dot Design Award. We are very proud of this accomplishment.
Move to our Heartquarters (HQ) – Since summer 2008, Secrid was firmly rooted at the old Caballerofabriek, now a vibrant hub with more than 100 small companies. In 2008, we could make do with one small unit. Nine years later we were renting seven units and were by far the largest company there. It was time to think bigger. In 2016 we were presented with the opportunity to buy a set of old warehouses down the street from the Caballerofabriek. After spending a year and a half renovating these rundown warehouses, we were able to move into our own HeartQuarters early 2018.
Cardprotector 10 years – In October 2019 we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Cardprotector. During this decade, production has grown to more than two million units per year and the 8 millionth unit has just been sold.
RJ van Geer Beheer BV
Marianne van Sasse van Ysselt and René van Geer are each 50% shareholder of RJ van Geer Beheer BV. This BV is sole shareholder of SPIRID Creation BV and of DSI Holding BV. Marianne van Sasse van Ysselt and René van Geer are the directors of SPIRID Creation BV. The directors of DSI Holding BV consist of RJ van Geer Beheer BV.
DSI Holding BV
DSI Holding BV is sole shareholder of two BV’s: Secrid BV and Secrid Retail BV. Marianne van Sasse van Ysselt is, together with DSI Holding BV, director of these companies.