Meet Founder and CEO – Femke Speelman
Design sketches, pencils, product samples, and inventory lists - and the occasional Barbie doll or crayon; that’s what you can expect when walking into Femke Speelman’s home office. A good place to start when attempting to sum up our founder. Femke is a designer, a businesswoman and a mother. She never puts one thing above another and each defines her equally.
While Femke Speelman is born to Dutch parents, and proudly carries her beautiful Dutch name, you might be tempted to call her a “world-citizen” before anything else. Much of her childhood she lived outside of Europe, and even after returning to The Netherlands, Femke always carried with her a strong desire to travel.
In 2011 Femke married a fellow Dutchman, who shared her passion for travel and adventure. Later the same year they moved to the UAE, where they live today, raising three beautiful little girls.
Femke launched the Phemke brand in the spring of 2016. From the very beginning her vision was clear; She wanted to create a fashion line that was ethically made, from only the highest quality natural materials, and at the heart of it all she wanted to empower women, local communities and honor artisanal craftsmanship throughout the world.
As a creative person Femke has always been drawn to artists and craftsmen. Her appreciation for handcrafted items, together with her deep respect for their history and tradition, is one reason her products are made in such a widespread of countries. She manages to find the most authentically skilled artisans she can, and today her products are handmade in Bangladesh, Ecuador, Spain, India, Madagascar, Turkey, Indonesia and Afghanistan - a list that reflects Femke’s international mindset, and that knowing her, will only grow as she explores and discovers new amazing artisans.
Femke’s vision for a sustainable brand is simple; if you can conduct business without harming the world and those around you, you should. And if you can give someone a hand-up along the way, then why wouldn’t you! If you ask her about this strong sense of responsibility, the conversation always circles back to her upbringing. Femke has never lost sight of the experiences and support she was given by her parents. Not only does she want to pass this on to her own daughters; she wants to pay it forward. As an example she has partnered with a group of women in Bangladesh, all divorced or widowed, through learning the skillset behind making jute products, they have been empowered to provide for themselves and their children.
Femke has created more than a brand; she has created a mindset and a lifestyle. When you purchase a Phemke product you get a piece of Femke with you – artistry, compassion and a travelers heart.