TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
My name is Victoria, known as Mademoiselle Chocolat since I decided to start my art adventure. I am a visual artist, curator and art teacher from Spain, based in Amsterdam since 2014. I work as a freelance visual artist and I am also involved in some art and cultural projects: SeeYou@Art, Young Blood Initiative and The Movement Artists. I participate in exhibitions, I run art workshops for children and adults, and I sell my art online.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
Mademoiselle Chocolat was born when I was 16 years old, between drawings, sketches, ideas and my passion for art and color. Two years later, I decided to make it official, and I registered the brand at a European level, and Mademoiselle Chocolat becomes a journey full of colour and experimentation.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
This is my first business, before that, I was a high school student.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
More than advice, I would give them my total support. It can be more unstable than some other types of jobs and also pretty challenging, but it is a beautiful path too and the moments of success are extra sweet. It is a type of work and life, full of pros and cons, but at the end of the day, I think you feel proud of yourself for being brave and following your instinct and your heart.
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW DID YOU DEALT WITH IT:
My greatest obstacle was finding a space in this city, Amsterdam is competitive. I had a co-working space that I was sharing with another creative woman for a year, and I had another space for myself for two years. At the moment my greatest obstacle is that since COVID-19 I am working from home and now that I am a Mom, it is double challenging to combine and separate my personal life and my work life.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
I think my proudest accomplishment is that I kept working as an entrepreneur is what makes me happy for 15 years already. My goal is to become a better businesswoman and a better artist.
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
I think I am not great at working from home as I get very distracted, busy and interrupted with chores. My partner works from home until the early afternoon, so we both manage to take care of our son in the mornings and work on our own stuff too. It will be a huge difference to have a proper space where I can paint walls, ceilings and floors without any worry.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
I am inspired by other creative, brave and strong women. I am surrounded by amazing women who also are entrepreneurs, have small businesses or other interesting projects like mine. Some of them are Ana Castan (Amsterdam en Bicicleta & Quiero una Bici), Alexandra Blanco (Photographer), Paz (Les Girls Collective)), Lesly Alfaro (Photographer), Veronica Ruiz (Textile Maker), Veronica Sanchez – OhMamiBlue (Activist, chef & influencer), Kyla Frankland (Prenatal/Postnatal Yoga Instructor & Ayurvedic Postpartum Doula ), Kasia Pokrop (HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator & Yoga Instructor), Natalie The Doula, Designed by Dori (Jewelry Maker), Ikala Fashion (Design), Ineke Haverkamp (Dutch teacher), Joyce Chamaoun (Actress), Emma Beauxis-Aussalet (Assistant professor University Amsterdam), Candy Choi & Jimena Mendizabal del Moral (Young Blood Initiative founder and assistant director), Cathelijne Mulders (SeeYou@Art).
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
It sounds like a cliché, but I have romantic ideas about certain stuff, and being an entrepreneur is one of them. I chose this career because it makes me happy and gives me freedom and joy. To feel the paint, play with the colours, try new techniques, explore new themes. I love my job and can say: Never stop creating!
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
I don’t see myself as a successful person, I see myself as a woman who does her best and does anything she can to try to develop her job well and keep working and improving every day.
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
I didn’t write a business plan, but as soon as I have an art space, I will definitely need one.
Having space will make Mademoiselle Chocolat’s project evolve into a more complex way, not offering only art for walls or to wear, will be a space where people will find interesting activities to do. A place to discover. A place for curious minds.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMAN BUSINESS OWNER?
I don’t find a specific advantage or disadvantage for being a woman business owner. I think the Dutch system helps a lot to small businesses and small companies and entrepreneurs.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
I think for the type of work I do, Instagram is a very good and attractive way to have a free portfolio. I am also loving Procreate for digital works. Platforms for selling my art, I use Wix for my website, Etsy and Saatchi Art.
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
It is advice that my mother gave me a few years ago. She is one of the women who I admire the most. She told me to focus and enjoy day by day, step by step. To go for small goals and achievements, try to fight the obstacles’ day by day and enjoy the process. Don’t get too stressed or frustrated about final numbers and results.