Frame magazine
Ondernemers voor iedereen: Lies Mertens
Lies Mertens about Leeuwenkuil
Lies Mertens, designer & entrepreneur



Henry van de Velde award Consumer Design 2019 
Voka most promising start-up 2018
Winner Leeuwenkuil 2018
De Invasie 5 most promising designers 2014


Leather craft marocainery 2014-2017 
Cultural management creative industries 2014
Master in graphic design 2013

  • 2015


    After getting my masters degree in graphic design, I decided to follow a master in Management, because I wanted to know more how to run your own business. During these studies, I soon realised that I was not made to only follow a theoretical course. I missed being creative and working with my hands, so I signed up for an evening course in leather craft.

    I couldn’t find a beautiful, functional and waterproof backpack which I could use when driving my race bike, so I decided to study leather processing to make one myself. Of course, a backpack was not the first thing they let me make, but after a laptop sleeve and some good practice, the idea of my first collection was born.

  • 2017

    June 2017: Launch first Lies Mertens collection

    Lies Mertens exhibits her first series of handbags in an art gallery. Instead of showing the public some product shots, she organises an installation in collaboration with florist Blomster and event planner Eline Ros. Together, they create an atmosphere in which people can really experience what the brand stands for: consciousness, flexibility and simplicity. Over time, these will remain three key values throughout the growth of the label. If you want to know more about our brand values? Read about them here.

    Two months later Lies Mertens quits her job in order to dedicate her full attention to her business.

  • 2017

    October 2017: Finalist most promising start-up VOKA

    Lies is nominated as most promising start-up by Voka Chamber of commerce. Afterwards, she quits her part-time job in order to dedicate her full attention to her business. You read read more about the nomination here

  • 2017

    November 2017: Temporary store Kloosterstraat

    After launching the webshop, Lies Mertens opens her first store in the Kloosterstraat in Antwerp and asks Atelier Bontekoe van Put to design the interior. The philosophy of the Lies Mertens label is made tangible in the interior design, with qualitative, conscious and natural materials. We had a talk about our shop and the interior with Frame magazine that you can read here.

  • 2018

    March 2018: Winner of “De Leeuwenkuil”

    “De Leeuwenkuil” is a show on the popular TV Channel Vier, giving people with inventive business concepts the chance to pitch their idea to five seasoned entrepreneurs. Lies Mertens participates and doesn’t only find investors who are ready and willing to back up her label, but also reaches a broader audience interested in her collection.

  • 2018

    December 2018: Opening Flagship Store

    Mid December 2018 Lies Mertens opened her first permanent flagship store in the Steenhouwersvest, next to iconic names such as Christian Wijnants and Step by Step.

    Atelier Bontekoe Van Put was again responsible for the interior and took the space, with 2 large windows to a modern sphere. With a fluffy counter, rotating tableaux and modular elements this cozy store keeps surprising.  

  • 2019


    Beginning 2019 Lies Mertens won the Henry Van De Velde Consumer Award, for her forward-thinking design practice and consumer-minded product. As Belgium's largest and most prestigious design price, this award was a true honor and motivation to keep designing a product consumers need.

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