SENSO | THINK UNITED
Raoul Somers
SENSO | THINK UNITED

SENSO | THINK UNITED

Manufacturers from Oude Veensegrindweg 50, Rhenen, Netherlands
Senso is the internationally leading company in the field of seamless resin floors for the esthetical market. Senso was voted by KPMG to be the fastest growing company of The Netherlands in 2009. Senso works for clients like Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Prada, Sony, Mercedes, Vitra and Moooi. The company has showrooms in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Milan and London.

Sensofloors were inspired by resin screed floors; their industrial counterpart. Originally developed in the 1960s, these floors were ideal for use in manufacturing facilities and warehouses, but terrible to look at. Industrial screed floors were not smooth, shiny, gave a cold, clinical ambiance, became yellow under sunlight and cracked at the slightest change in the underfloor. Made from crude oil, the resins contained traces of zinc, chlorides, lead and chrome. Moreover, application was horribly sensitive to the quality of the applier the visual result being dependent on his skill.

But being seamless, easy to maintain and able to be made in many colours it harboured great potential for use in different environments.

Senso was founded in 2003 by David Bols to build on that potential. Having worked for years as a salesman for an industrial screedfloor company Bols quit his job in 2002, not being able to convince management to diversify into new areas. The esthetical market was considered to be too difficult and demanding. Bols contracted two experienced appliers and started selling floors for the residential market, the first customer being his own mother. Often helping on site himself to save labour costs, the first floors were made mainly for friends and family.

The first income of the company was used for a professional photo shoot and an advertisement in a national interior decoration magazine that cost him £ 20,000 to which not a single customer responded. It was a huge disappointment for the start-up company nearing a full year after its founding.

Although it failed as advertisement, the photos helped to convince clients of the potential of the floors. What were photos of a 400 ft floor, led to the sales of a 900ft apartment floor, some small shops, a few houses. Making samples at night and selling floors during the day Bols’ efforts made Senso grow with small steps every day.

A new blow came with the discovery of his former employer that Bols ordered products from the same supplier. Although not illegal, his ex-employer made sure product deliveries stopped immediately using their greater importance to weigh the balance against the small start-up.

Looking back, however, this situation posed perhaps the biggest long-term benefit the company could have had in these early years. The product-stop forced Bols to look into any option available to get materials. He licensed a number of new, as of yet unproven technologies, found a supplier willing to produce it and started production himself. It made Senso then and there the only non-industrial company with own product development and production.

As a result product quality dramatically improved and costs became significantly lower than competition. It gave Senso an edge that it before did not have. In 2006 the company posted a turnover of £ 640,000. In 2008 turnover had grown to £ 6,000,000, a staggering 950% growth in three years. And growth continues regardless of crisis.

Senso offers nowadays the only resin floors in the market entirely free of heavy metals and VOCs. Sensofloors are not made of crude oil, but biopolymers. They combine quality and price with a fantastic visual result. A Sensofloor means ultimate smoothness, perfect seamlessness and warm ambiance. A Sensofloor is custom-made, soft to walk on and can be made in any colour. It delivers a revolution in the flooring industry. With a quality never seen before, it has taken customers by storm.

Nowadays, Senso is self-financed and entirely free of debt. This year, Senso opened new showrooms in Amsterdam, Milan and London and started cooperation with some of the worlds most renowned designers like Marcel Wanders and Tom Dixon.