TELL ME ABOUT YOUR CURRENT BUSINESS. WHAT ARE YOU DOING EXACTLY?
I’ve set up and opened the doors to my boutique in May 2016. Bringing uniquely feminine and empowering women’s clothing to the streets of The Hague City.
HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BUSINESS IDEA?
After working in corporate life for nearly 20 years; I have seen many women struggling and trying to find their way in attitude, business approach and representation (work wear). These aspects all work together and influence each other in manifesting their presence in the work-field. Being both parts as a spectator to this struggle; I wrecked my mind over how I could contribute to improving these dynamics positively. It was only after silencing my ego and listening to my intuition that I found my mission and passion. The fundament of founding my business has therefore always been double-sided: Empowering and uniting the feminine energy in order for women to grow and support each other, offering well-deserved and properly fitting women’s’ wear, and more important extending women a personal, perfectly fit a piece of clothing to act as a tool in empowering trust and confidence in their own appearance and visibility.
WHAT WERE YOU DOING BEFORE THIS, AND IS THIS YOUR FIRST BUSINESS?
As mentioned before, nearly 20 years in corporate IT gave me insights, hidden truths and disclosure in mentality, thought-process and sometimes witnessing the sheer lack of support and empowerment amongst each other in this corporate female community. Instead of proclaiming and execution all-over unity and protection to grow and succeed together, I noticed small subsets of women claiming territory and closing of ‘threat’ by excluded other women instead of uniting their knowledge and strengths. I have seen this exclusive to create gaps, where managers exploited this void to their own benefit, and in the end, bypassing instead of empowering the women at play.
WHAT SPECIFIC ADVICE WOULD YOU HAVE FOR YOUNG WOMEN WHO WOULD LIKE TO BECOME AN ENTREPRENEUR?
Research the area of interest and think out of the box, add your own unique flavour to it, look at the current way of business and combine it with your experience, strength and core belief. Carefully select your support system when it comes to financing, subject matter expertise and remains agile no matter what happens, this means also get out of your comfort zone.
MY GREATEST OBSTACLE AND HOW I DEALT WITH IT:
Going upwards against the mainstream of the area of business, I was seriously challenged in keeping my grounds and sticking to my core belief. I opened my mind to subject-oriented discussions yet remained true to my initial ground feeling, trust and mission even though it meant rough encounters and rough times on my path. Distractions temporarily threw me off-guard but when I centred myself and listened to my intuition and customer, I found that my initial core beliefs are still very strongly present.
MY PROUDEST ACCOMPLISHMENT:
Supporting each and every woman in their self-confidence and self-belief. Not only through the appropriate & enhancing suited dresses which I advise them by mainly observing their personality and their energy. Once in that exchange of energy, I always get to the point where I see them for who they are because they allow me to do so. When that is reached I offer them my ear and words of encouragement and pride. Women are all on the same path, even though they walk at different paces and are in different stages of their life. So, when a woman leaves my establishment feeling empowered in her feminine awareness of her beauty, her trust and her power – they allow me to have accomplished another step on my own path.
HOW I BLEND LIFE AND WORK TO CREATE THE LIFE I WANT:
Now here is the challenge, when one is on a payroll in corporate life there are relatively fixed working hours/tasks in the manner that is executed the same throughout most of the corporate world. However, being an entrepreneur and for me becoming an entrepreneur in Retail thàt is a whole different ball game! Different hours, shifting types of customer energy, different customer interests, owning responsibility of admin, image, collection selection and anticipating on constantly changing the rhythm of the business demands in a different way of thinking, discussing and interpreting. It also asks for different working hours; which do not always allow for 1:1 matching with your personal life rhythm. It comes down to having a support system around you, especially in the first years of your entrepreneurship, which is flexible and willing to accept the required space, input and offers you need to make in order to make it through the first three to five years.
I AM INSPIRED BY:
All the visitors, all the customers to my boutique inspire me. The women throughout history inspire me; the women who encourage other women to nurture, create, transform and love ourselves. I get inspired by the woman in the street handling her business over the phone while she’s juggling her groceries, by the woman who protective and lovingly watches her children at the playground, by the woman who struggles to balance all the different roles which they incorporate into their daily lives. I get inspired by my girlfriends and every woman in my tribe whether it be with their online quotes & thoughts or by challenging me in my perception of myself and the world. I get inspired by all of my female colleagues, past and current, who have taught and encouraged me to listen to my heart. I get inspired by all the young women out there whom I see kicking ass and empowering each other to make a difference for the future. And naturally, my mom and my sister inspire me daily by loving me and support me in being the loving and best version of myself.
WHY I CHOSE THIS CAREER:
As mentioned earlier I felt the drive to contribute to empowering, re-enstating and uniting women and the feminine energy. Women have encountered blows to their energy and image for a long, long time. Divide, weaken and conquer seemed to be a public policy for decades. These days that can sometimes still be found in how girls and young women should look (social media/music/etc.) submissive to their male peers. Needless to say; that view has never been accurate. Then observing the next echelons in schools/universities/business this perception still is very much alive, sometimes silent but alive. I want to contribute to a change. Empowering and shifting the balance back to equality. My contribution may be small and 1:1 but with the love and power I hope to make women aware of their energy and let them reclaim that balance. That motion will spread. It’s like throwing a small stone in a pond, leaving numerous circles in the water. If nothing then else and this is the legacy that I can leave to all the women I meet, future and now; then I will be proud.
HOW I PREPARE FOR SUCCESS:
I keep an open mind, request input, reach out to other people. I learn on a daily base. If not on the content of the business then I learn about aspects of myself. Staying sincere and positive with an open-mind are the matters which support me in every action I take.
DID YOU WRITE A BUSINESS PLAN? WAS IT AN EFFECTIVE TOOL FOR YOU?
Yes, I did. And it helps and guides me – serving as a living, real-time document. It serves as a timeline and reminds me of me when to go and prepare for the launch of my next business steps.
ARE THERE SPECIFIC ADVANTAGES, DISADVANTAGES TO BEING A WOMEN BUSINESS OWNER?
It depends on your personality, your goal, the type of person you want to be. Your attitude will largely determine your advantages as well as your disadvantages. I am loving and gentle, also in doing business but have set boundaries. To use the words of a quote I once read: I choose to be kind and loving but make no mistakes. If needed I will defend my boundaries and loved ones fiercely.
MY FAVOURITE BUSINESS TOOL IS…
THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I HAVE EVER BEEN GIVEN IS…
Stay true to your intuition, love yourself and appreciate the moment.