Netherlands: Center of the burqini business

A mother and daughter from Meppel, the Netherlands are the key figures in the European and North African burqini business.

Dorelies Woortman, of Woortman Sportwear, thinks it's ridiculous that a manager of a pool in Zwolle removed a woman in a burqini. She says Muslims want to join in society and that is possible with this swimsuit.

Woortman has been selling burqinis over the internet and in shops for just over half a year. The burqini looks like a swimsuit with a hood and cover the whole body, leaving the hands, feet and face revealed. It takes into account the female body, with extra material around the buttocks and breasts.

In the Netherlands, Woortman has till now sold about fifty burqinis, but the demand will increase now that the new collection is in and the company is ready for it. Woortman says there are already 80 requests for the upcoming collection. In Sweden several shops had already orderd burqinis, most about a hundred per shop.

The burqini was developed by Aheda Zanetti, an Australian Muslim woman who hold the patent for it. Wortman made contact with Zanetti, since she regularly got questions from Muslim women who were looking for special swimsuits. The women had come to Woortman since she had a company specializing in UV-protecting swimsuits, which also sells swim-shirts with long sleeves.

Woortman made an exclusive contract with Zanetti, which gave her company the exclusive rights for distribution in Europe and North America. Zanetti first made the swimsuits herself in a workshop, but when demand increased she contracted it out, and they're now made by a factory in China.

According to Woortman the burqini is most popular in North African countries, where naturally many Muslims live. The first mega-order for Morocco of 20,000 burqinis will be leaving the Chinese factory soon.

In Europe the burqini costs 130-150 euros. The prise is too high for North Africa, says Woortman, and therefore her company makes cheaper burqinis for that area. The swimsuit is simpler and doesn't have special styles, like it does in Europe.

For the burqini to make it in the Netherlands, pools must cooperate. The ban by the Zwolle pool manager is not a stimulant. Woortman think that the commotion can also be positive. Due to the media attention, the company had gotten more orders. She had tried contacting the manager, but he didn't need to talk. He was quoted earlier as saying that other visitors were offended by the burqini and that Zwolle is not yet ready for it.

Whether there's protest in the Netherlands or not, the big market for Woortman is elsewhere. Besides North-Africa, she sees especially many opportunities in France, German and Sweden.

Source: De Pers (Dutch)

See also: Netherlands: Woman in Burqini kicked out of pool

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