On December 14, 2014, a new Mister B store for leather and fetish enthusiasts opened its doors in Antwerp. By doing so, the Amsterdam based company is now located in the heart of the Belgian leather and fetish scene.
Over the decades, the fetish brand Mister B has become one of the strongest and most beloved leather and fetish brands in Europe, and celebrated its twentieth anniversary last spring. The first Mister B store opened in the Warmoesstraat in Amsterdam in March 1994. In 2000, Mister B also opened a store in Berlin.
Now, there is also a Parisian franchise, and Mister B products are sold from the United States to South-Africa and Australia via a shop-in-shop program. With this new store in Antwerp, which is managed by Bart Anseeuw and Steve van Braecel, Mister B strengthens its position in the leather and fetish scene, also strengthening the position of Antwerp as a popular travel destination for leather and fetish enthusiasts.
The Flemish city on the river Schelde continued to develop itself, as did Mister B. Antwerp has become a popular travel destination for GLBTs who are keen to visit the many gay events and local gay bars. Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst, who performed at the Antwerp Gay Pride last year, has now also embraced the gay tolerant city.
The city already had a good reputation with men who love kinky sex because of legendary fetish club The Boots. And thanks to popular events, such as the yearly Belgian Leather Pride and its Darklands festival, Antwerp’s kinky reputation has only improved over the years. That Mister B now opened a store in Antwerp therefore makes sense, although courage was needed to do so, the new owners say. To find out more, we talked to the new owners Bart and Steve.
Where is the shop located?
“You can find us at the Falconplein 14A in Antwerp, Belgium. We’re very close to the MAS, the academy, and the red light district. The Falconplein has long suffered from a less than pristine reputation, but over the last couple of years it has become an up-and-coming neighborhood, thoroughly cleaned by the government and police. Now more and more citizens of Antwerp find a permanent place in the vicinity of the square, because it’s cosy and there’s always something or other to do or enjoy.”
What are the opening hours?
“We’re open every day except on Tuesdays. On Monday, Wednesday and Thursday we are open from 11 AM until 7 PM; on Friday and Saturday we are open longer and close at 9 PM. On Sundays we open at 1 PM and close at 6 PM.”
What are the surrounding stores like?
“Antwerp is a very popular shopping town and you can find all the large international chains in the big main streets. But the real fun in Antwerp is found in the small surrounding streets with special boutiques. Antwerp truly is fashion city, and it’s no surprise that the Fashion Museum and the Fashion Academy are located here.”
How long did it take to open the store, from the first plans to the opening on the 14th of December?
“The short version would be eight months. Exactly eight months before the opening day of the shop, we sent our first message to Tony from Mister B Amsterdam to inquire whether it would be possible to work together with Mister B and what those possibilities were. While those eight months have been an incredible journey in three acts, it isn’t the complete story. The long story is that our store has been in the making for years. When we were in the Amsterdam store for the first time, we immediately marveled at its awesomeness.
The fetish scene was already growing on us for several years, but it was there and then that we started considering the possibility of bringing such a concept to Belgium. After doing some market research, we came to the conclusion that the Belgian market wasn’t provided for in the way the German, French and Dutch markets are. So we planned to take over and renew an existing shop, although the owner wasn’t quite sure if he wanted to go through with it. So we contacted Mister B, and a short pregnancy later, we are proud to present our love baby: Mister B Antwerp.”
Have there been bigger issues that delayed the whole process?
“Life wouldn’t be life if there weren’t any. There have been issues, mainly with banks and money, even though a proper lady shouldn’t speak of such things. But proper ladies we’re not, so here we go: apparently banks are prudes. The moment you plan on selling some erotic articles, you get blacklisted for funding. Because banks happen to believe that sex isn’t something people are interested in, or something like that. So we had this business idea, a business plan, the backing of a great company, but the banks held on to Victorian ideals of a sexless society. In the end we found a great (small) bank that was willing to help us realize our dream, and here we are.”
What are your expectations about the shop, especially concerning being a Mister B franchise?
“We expect to provide customers in Belgium with the same level of quality, customer care and service that they’ve come to expect from the other flagship stores in Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris. We, of course, hope to become an essential part of the Antwerp fetish scene, a partner of other businesses like the Boots and the Red & Blue and Leather pride etc. Antwerp is already on the map of the fetish scene, we hope to give it some extra sparkle.”
Why did you choose the franchise concept of Mister B?
“Well, as they say you should only do something if you can do it well. There’s no point in doing things badly, so when we decided to open a fetish shop of our own, we simply wanted the best gear available. If you want the best, there aren’t a lot of options left, so we turned to the best available: Mister B.”
Mister B Antwerp
open daily 11-19, Fri/Sat -21,
closed on Tuesdays