The Hoxton Chats with Workwhile Founder, Amanda Cardinale

In advance of the latest Hox How To, the Hoxton sat down with Workwhile founder Amanda Cardinale to find out what inspired her to start Workwhile and what she loves about living in Amsterdam. Read the whole interview here.

Photo credit: Workwhile Member  Kiki Reijners

Photo credit: Workwhile Member Kiki Reijners

How did Workwhile go from an idea to a reality?

On the desktop of my laptop is an image of a letterpress print by Anthony Burrill that reads: ‘Persistence is fruitful!’ Persistence, in short, is how Workwhile became a reality. Starting a business can be quite a solitary pursuit, and it takes persistence to keep going, no matter what. 

Where do you go for a bolt of creative inspiration?

Out for run in either Westerpark or Vondelpark to clear my head. Movement is key to the creative process for me. If you ever see a woman running around either these parks recording audio notes into her phone, that’s probably me.

Which of your peers/other creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?

There are so many people in the Workwhile community and beyond who inspire me, so it’s hard to choose! I’m inspired by the risk-taking of Karin Schwandt (one of Workwhile’s original founding members) who closed down her infographics studio after fifteen years to go solo and reclaim her creativity. That takes guts. I’m also inspired by dedication to craft of the guys of High on Type, who have built an impressive body of work globally with their collective of typographic artists and designers. I also admire their passion for teaching and building a community of people who love type. (Check out their annual festival and their regular workshops!)

What would be your dream project?

I’d love to develop a project with a client that’s experiential, one where our creatives can build something that people can interact with in real life, not just on screen.

What’s your favourite neighbourhood in Amsterdam and why?

I love the area around Westerpark, mostly because of Westerpark itself. I love a beer on the sunny terrace of Troost Brouwerij, or a strong coffee at Espresso Fabriek. And did you know there is a kinderboederij (Dutch-style petting zoo) in the heart of the park? If you venture onward to Haarlemmerdijk, there are lots of lovely shops and cafes to explore before you hit the more touristy section of Haarlemmerstraat.

Where would we find you on a typical Sunday morning?

In my kitchen, making a big brunch with the produce, eggs, and bread I’ve purchased the day before at the Noordermarkt organic market. It’s a multi-hour ritual, but eventually we’ll get out of the house by mid-afternoon for a stroll around Oud West in search of a terrace in the sun.

What do you think is Amsterdam’s best kept secret? (are you willing to tell!)

Durgerdam along the Buiten-Ij. Using the ferry crossing to Noord, you cycle east into perfect little villages and farmland. It’s only about 20-30 minutes outside of city center, but it feels not only like a whole different world, but as if you’ve stepped back in time.

What do you think is Amsterdam has to offer better than any other city?

I chose to move to Amsterdam to live, not because of a job. And the reasons are many, including the people, the balance of work and family time, the culture of freedom and enjoying the simple parts of everyday life. 

What’s your first creative memory?

Learning how to draw a star for the first time from my neighbor. Though at the time, I was more interested in playing with her little white dog, Gus.

Whose wardrobe would you like to steal?

That of Garance Doré. Tailored and sharp as you’d expect of a French fashion icon, but laid-back enough to keep cycling around to Amsterdam.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?


What’s your favorite emoji?

The winky face. Because my sarcasm doesn’t always translate easily with words alone.

What’s the first ad campaign/commercial you remember having an influence on you?

The Absolut bottle print ads, particularly in the 1990s. I loved the clever ways the designers would subtly (or not-so-subtly) work the bottle shape into cities, art, and other media. An entire wall of my childhood bedroom was covered in them.

Best advice ma and pa ever gave you?  And is this the same advice you’d pass on to your kid(s)?

My dad’s philosophy is: ‘Anything that’s worth doing is worth doing right.’ I live by that philosophy (perhaps to a fault!), and I’ll certainly pass it on to my baby daughter.



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