Team Tala: David de Groot, OEM Partnerships Manager
David de Groot recently celebrated his one year anniversary at Tala. As a valued member of our Sales team, we decided to sit down with him to learn more about how our commercial Partnerships work in practice, what he finds most challenging about his job, and his secrets to success on the internet’s top marketplace, eBay.
January 2020 marks the start of a new decade. Can you tell us one thing you’re looking forward to achieving or doing over the next ten years?
Wow that’s a big question! I love working in the design industry and I especially love lighting. Unfortunately, I’m not blessed with creative talents so I can’t design my own products, but I hope to one day run my own company that brings interesting brands and designs together. I hope the next ten years are enough to achieve this.
You’re a Dutch national with an interesting career journey. Can you tell us a little about it and what led you to Tala?
After my education in Law, I soon realised that I have a keen interest in commerce and love working with products. In the Netherlands, I started my career in the home and interiors industry as brand buyer.
When my fiancée was offered a job in London in January 2017, I was thrilled! Soon afterwards, I was offered an opportunity to work as a private label lighting buyer in the same city. With a design brief in hand I would go to various manufacturers in Asia, select off-the-shelf products and find the right manufacturers to make the fixtures that our team had designed.
In my role at Tala, I work directly with some of the greatest design brands in the world. I am now able to contribute to their well-known designs that I have loved since I was a child. Tala values quality over competitive pricing, which is the reason why we are the ideal and trustworthy partner for other successful brands that have similar values.
OEM Partnerships is one of Tala’s fastest growing sales channels. Can you explain how they work?
When people ask me “What do you do?”, I say, “I try to make sure that the greatest lighting fixtures in the world all have Tala bulbs in their boxes.”
OEM is an acronym for ‘Original Equipment Manufacturer.’ Big design companies have the best designers and expertise in-house to design beautiful fixtures that will be loved for decades. But designing a suitable quality bulb is very different, and that’s where we come in.
I sit down with designers and engineering directors to explain that our products combine the characteristics of an incandescent with sustainable LED technology, resulting in the perfect product for their fixture.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing to consider when choosing a bulb for a light fixture?
The most important thing is to understand the design of your fixture first. Some shades are designed with ripples or sharp corners. Select a bulb with a suitable brightness that enhances the details of the design. The finish and colour temperature of the bulb is also very important.
What do you like about the design industry? Can you tell us three brands you admire and why?
I like how things can be beautiful for some and ugly for others. How dull would life be if everything was beautiful for everyone?
I will mention TECNOLUMEN first because we celebrated the Bauhaus Centenary last year. I also love a good fabric and Pierre Frey is top of the class for this. The Piani desk lamp by Flos is one of the fairest of them all.
What’s the most difficult part of your job at Tala?
Managing expectations. Brands are so keen to get their hands on the best bulbs and often, they underestimate how difficult it is to fulfill their wishes. Designing and engineering a bespoke bulb is a long and arduous process.
More brands are starting to offer integrated LED in their new lighting fixtures. What are some of the merits and pitfalls of these designs?
The only reason to use integrated LED in my opinion is if you want to have a wafer-thin design. With LED, you no longer have to use a bulb, meaning the designs can be slimmer. The pitfall is that you often put an expiry date on the product, because not all integrated LED’s can be repaired or replaced.
Tala will celebrate its 5th Birthday in 2020. What do you think has been our greatest achievement during this time?
I think it’s amazing that in such a short period of time, we have designed a large number of bulbs in revolutionary shapes, sizes and forms that were unique to the market.
Finally, you have a side-hustle as an eBay seller and you’re known in the studio for finding good bargains. What’s your secret?
That’s a secret I will never tell! A small hint, it’s a combination of passion for products and a tiny bit of obsessiveness. I know a vast number of products and I know what they should cost. In the end it’s commerce 1.01. Buy low, sell high.
Land Rover Defender
Next holiday planned?
One Dutch treat you can’t live without?