Curiosity is a gateway to passion, something Product Developer Premium Brands and Assistant Manager for P.G.C. Hajenius Hans Sijmons understands after building a two-decade-long career in the tobacco industry in his native Amsterdam.
“I began as a trainee at a book store that happened to sell cigars and became fascinated with the history behind them. I started to work exclusively with tobacco and, after a couple of years, I was recruited at P.G.C. Hajenius where I discovered the world of handmade cigars.”
Long before he learned to appreciate the nuances of the handmade products, Sijmons had a more physically demanding career in professional bodybuilding. And it wasn’t until he met one of the most notable figures in the industry several years later at Hajenius that he realised he could combine his two passions.
“Success for me is about creating opportunities to get more people in the shop. When I heard Arnold Schwarzenegger was on his way to Hajenius, I was ignited! I got to meet my idol and exchange trade secrets. It was a surreal moment for me.”
Since he began in 2001, his role at Hajenius grew and now Sijmons is responsible for the premium brands, creating limited edition products, organising consumer events and administering the shop, while collaborating with the sales team in the Netherlands, marketing colleagues in headquarters and General Cigar Co., the Group’s American subsidiary.
According to Sijmons, the team at Hajenius enjoys their close-knit dynamic and the high energy of the shop environment. Inspired by the moments he creates in the store and the performance of the products he helps craft, Sijmons is always looking for new opportunities.
“My favourite part of my job is seeing a limited edition sell well or expanding the store experience to create more moments. I always have ideas for the future.”