She can be strict with her own people as well. ‘Do we really have to make another prototype, our designers will ask? Well, yes. We cannot afford to make something that doesn’t look good. That’s not what our clients have to come to expect of us and it’s taken us years to get to where we are today. Compare it to being a professional athlete. To practice, you have to continue to make prototypes until you get it right. And meet your clients in person whenever possible. With e-mails and middlemen, something always goes wrong. Which of course makes it quite a puzzle, with a child.’ Despite the work pressure, they each spend one day a week with Rem. ‘He got to use the actual drill Stefan uses yesterday. He was overjoyed, and only three. We recently gave him a saw, too, and he’s been walking around with it all day long, yelling: ‘I want to draw a chair too, daddy.’ On the days he’s not at home, he goes to a special nursery. ‘He thinks it’s super fun. He gets music lessons, does yoga, learns English and French words and is prepared for school. They eat a hot lunch. It also helps that we can take him in from 6:30 a.m. and pick him up as late as 8:30 p.m. If we miss a plane, he can even spend the night there.’ They never flew as much as they did last year. Usually separately. Stefan goes to Korea and Japan, Carole goes to America. It’s quite the juggling act to keep in touch, with all those time differences. ‘One time he came home at 5:30 a.m. and I left for Schiphol two hours later. That’s bizarre, obviously. At work, we’re mainly busy monitoring our designers. When we get home we want to spend time with Rem. To keep fit, we both go to the gym a couple of times a week and have an early night. At a certain point we felt that though we did see each other, we were never really together. Because you don’t want to talk shop all the time.’ So, what did you do about that? She laughs cheerfully. ‘We recently spent the weekend here in the Conservatorium Hotel. Went to the Spa. Left Rem with my mum. Lovely to feel: oh yeah, that’s how it is between us. Within a day and a half, we were back to being full of new ideas.’
This interview was published in WOTH issue No4 still available in our shop.