Klibansky family business: “With the family we can handle the whole world”

Family businesses are the cornerstone of the economy. In this series he portrays M family businesses with a story. This episode focuses on Studio Joseph Klibansky, in which Joseph works with his father, mother, brother and sister-in-law. “It is not our work, but our DNA.” Text: Bart-Jan Brouwer
Online editorial: Noa Verseveldt
Image: John van Helvert
Hair & make-up: Eefje Schuur

Joseph Klibansky

What does family mean to you?
Joseph: “Family is the thing, that's what I do it for. I can't imagine doing this journey would do alone. Every day we are together, we spar. With the family we can take on the whole world. We have so much support from each other! This provides a strong foundation and an enormous dose of self-confidence. It's comforting to know that you can always rely on your family, in good times and bad. The relationship with my family is the greatest blessing in my life.”

Doesn't that put pressure on the future Mrs. Klibansky? It has to fit into the picture...
Joseph: “I have been with Victoria (Waldau; ed.) for almost three years. As my partner, you must have a certain character to be able to integrate into this family with its long, close-knit dynamic. Victoria has exactly the right properties to blend very well with it. She is whole humble, sweet, honest, does not always have to be in the foreground and uses the same family norms and values ​​as we do: she loves being together and loves children. In short: the perfect partner for integration.

Will she also become part of the company later?
Joseph: "No, not that. To start with, she is a successful influencer and has her own fan base with more than 220.000 followers. Apart from that, I want to keep her separate from my work; that is very important to me. I like being able to come home and talk about other things. For us it is quite intense: when we are together as a family, it is always about the projects we are working on, new ideas, improvements... In private life I sometimes avoid moments when we all get together, because I want some peace and quiet. And I know that when we are together, we can talk about work within ten minutes. 'Guys, Victoria is there. Can we talk about something else?' I have had to consciously say that many times. We live this. It is not our work, but our DNA.”

Leon Klibansky & Immechien Bonnet

How did you meet?
Immechien: “I emigrated to South Africa, Cape Town, for the weather. I worked there as a make-up artist. Leon was a photographer. We bumped into each other and just kept chatting – and we still do. We worked together from day one. We had a photo studio and did advertising and fashion photography at a high level. Later, in addition to make-up, I also did styling, acquisition and production.

Why did you go to the Netherlands in 1984?
Immechien: “Because of Apartheid. We were doing very well there, but there was a lot going on politically. You could feel the tension rising, which led to riots in September of that year. That's why we left. Simple as that.”

Was it that simple for you to leave too, Leon?
Leon: "No. It was quite a difference in lifestyle. In Cape Town it was 26 degrees and here it seemed like -26 degrees. That was a shock. And I had to get used to many more things. I knew it was time to leave South Africa and saw New York or Paris as a good option. But it became Bergambacht.” Immechien: “We did go to Paris with our portfolios. We could easily start there. But with two babies it was easier to settle in the Netherlands.”

Louis & Susanna Klibansky

Louis, what do you know about your hometown Cape Town?
Louis: “I am one year older than Joseph. We moved to the Netherlands at a very young age. My father wanted to preserve the romantic image he has of that time and that is why we never went back. That's why I mainly know Cape Town from its stories, beautiful stories. The relatives I still had there – grandfather, grandmother, aunt, uncle, cousins ​​– have all left too. Half of them moved to Sydney, the other half to LA. So we didn't have to return to Cape Town to visit family.”

How did you and Joseph used to get along?
Louis: “We were always best friends. And a lot together. That was also due to my parents' work. If they went to a fair, we had to come along. So we always had to rely on each other and spent a lot of time together. We were always each other's backup. At most, we spent less time together in high school, because we went to different schools. But then again, we did have mutual friends and were always in each other's friend groups. We are completely on the same page and both know that we are always there for each other.”

When did you meet?
Susanna: “When I was sixteen and Louis was eighteen. So at a young age. I knew Joseph even longer, since I was fourteen. I lived in Laren, he in Bussum. But we did have friends in common. When I saw the brothers together, I would ask: 'Who is that?' I thought Louis was a nice guy, but he had a girlfriend at the time and I heard that he was very loyal. After we lost sight of each other for a while, I ran into him again. Then I broke up with that girlfriend. And something immediately started between us. And indeed: he is very loyal, haha.” Louis: “The nice thing is that Joseph and Susanna are also two hands on one stomach. They have known each other for so long and call each other even more often than Joseph and I.” Susanna: “When we travel, we often book a room for three – we find it cozy. When I came into the family at sixteen, we did it often slumber parties. And actually we still do that. We are that close to each other.”

Would you like to continue reading the interview with guest editor-in-chief Joseph Klibansky and his family? Order the new MASTERS MAGAZINE now!

MASTERS #48 with guest editor-in-chief Joseph Klibansky