‘The man behind the entrepreneur – Thijs Claes of Daddy Kate’ – Voka (Nov ’22)


So who are the entrepreneurs affiliated to Voka – KvK Vlaams-Brabant? To find out, we ask them about their personal vision, passion, career, interests … A bit like at networking events, only on paper, and for all our readers. From 50 questions, the entrepreneur randomly selects four. The result? A nice picture of the person behind the entrepreneur. This time we put the spotlight on Thijs Claes, CEO of printing company Daddy Kate.

1.   Which book should be compulsory reading at school?

“Factfullness by Hans Rosling. The subtitle says it all: ’10 reasons why we have a wrong view of the world and why things are better than you think.’ He manages to explain very comprehensively that our world is in much better shape than we think. It bases itself on facts rather than intuition and prejudice and has already completely changed my view of the world.”

2.   How do you motivate your team?

“Don’t! It may sound strange, but I don’t see it as my job to motivate people. As a manager, I do think it is your job to remove all obstacles that can demotivate people, like e.g. having to wait 1 month for approval to buy tools. Just give the company’s credit card to the employee in question and let him buy it, full stop. If people are intrinsically motivated and you offer them this kind of environment, the rest will happen naturally.”

3.   Who would you like to meet in person? What would you like to know?

“Ricardo Semler, who greatly inspired me with his ‘radical’ ideas. Like me, he took over his father’s company and afterwards brought about a cultural shift. But at the same time, his personal character seems to conflict with the ideals he pursues. I would like to know how he himself views that.”

4.   If time and budget were not an issue, how would you prefer to fill your days?

“As varied as possible. A combination of sport, being able to lose myself in a book for a few hours undisturbed, and going out with my friends until the early hours.” (laughs)


It may sound strange, but it I do not experience it as my job to motivate employees.

Daddy Kate is a printing company based in Sint-Pieters-Leeuw that also operates in France. The family business was founded by Guido Claes, father of current CEO Thijs. In 2016, Thijs was named Flemish Brabant Young Entrepreneur of the Year for his unbridled enthusiasm and entrepreneurship.

Source: https://www.voka.be/nieuws/de-mens-achter-de-ondernemer-thijs-claes-van-daddy-kate

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