The Scale Lab Marleen Vogelaar

In this episode, Marleen Vogelaar – founder of Ziel & co-founder of Shapeways – explains how her experience with Shapeways defined her strategic approach when launching the on-demand manufacturing platform Ziel. She breaks down her journey towards finding the right product-market fit, opting for steward-ownership, hiring pivotal talent that expedited the scaling process, and securing VC funding in the US.

Listen to the episode

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Marleen Vogelaar at the Shapeways factory

Marleen Vogelaar is the founder and CEO of Ziel, which is the on-demand apparel manufacturing platform offering design, manufacturing, and ecommerce integration to brands and retailers that can buy and sell apparel with no minimum order quantities and delivery in under 10 days. She is also the co-founder of Shapeways, the world’s leading 3D printing service and marketplace.

Prior to Shapeways, Marleen was a Strategy and M&A consultant and was in operations management in the paper industry. Marleen is a former heptathlete and spends her spare time in the outdoors as much as possible.

Key highlights

18:43 – Marleen | “We managed to cut our CO2 emissions by 90% without applying any sustainable biodynamic technology, it was just by doing it smarter.”

29:32 – Marleen | “One of the major personal mistakes I made when I was at Shapeways was that I was the inside person focusing so much on the growth and the success of the company that I never really put a lot of time in building my own personal brand.”

30:20 – Marleen | “It took me 2.5 years to build a really valuable and deep network in New York. The good thing about New York is that if you have a good idea, people get really excited about it and they do want to help you.”

41:00 – Marleen | “When we started making hospital gowns, my staff came back from furlough because they were so bored and at the same time proud that they could make a difference.”

50:50 – Marleen | “I think what has really changed in the Netherlands is that there is excitement to be working for a smaller business and I hope it evolves further.”

52:09 – Marleen | “If you want to scale your business in the US and you are being your Dutch self, this really doesn’t work.”

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