Like every child, I also was frequently asked: “what do you want to do when you grow up”. The answer to this was fairly easy to me: I wanted to become the director of Mona Toetjes (the biggest dessert brand in the Netherlands). I couldn’t think of anything more delightful then to work on creating the most tasteful desserts, colorful packaging, and funny commercials.
Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG)
While growing up I learned that Mona, like most big brands, was part of a large multinational company. So I altered my masterplan for the future a bit, working at one of the big FMCG multinationals it had to be. During my Economics study in which I specialized in Marketing and Strategy, I flirted with all the big ones: Campina, P&G and Unilever. Straight out of University I made one of the biggest mistakes in my career (although it took me a year or so to realize this); while having a fantastic job offer at Procter and Gamble, I declined and chose to start my first real fulltime job at an innovative and cool energy brand. (And no, not one that sells energy drinks, a real one that is all about electricity, gas and smart meters). Why? I was young, confused, naive, and they seemed to want me more (mainly the headhunter that was going to get a big payment if I would sign).
In the years that followed, I worked at the energy company and learned everything about data, analytics, market research, product development, A/B testing and how a slight change in content can make the difference between people buying a product or not. The devil was definitely in the details. And even though the experience I had here turned out to be invaluable, I realized I had made a big mistake passing on the opportunity to work in a FMCG company and therefore talked my way into one of the top 3 worldwide advertisers; L’Oréal.
It was quite the shock to go from black and grey suits to panterprint hotpants and heels as the company dress code…
The Fashion World
At first it was like coming home. Even though it was quite the shock to go from black and grey suits to panterprint hotpants and heels as the company dress code, I adapted and embraced my new life. The world of digital and integrated marketing at L’Oreal had so much to offer. I went from producing backstage videos at fashion weeks for Maybelline, developing content specials about the make up trends from Cannes film festival with L’Oreal Paris, creating the most amazing advertising & marketing campaigns in the Benelux to negotiating my way into cool new beta tests at Facebook and Google. For years, my life felt like a movie.
Unfortunately, not all movies are fairytales. The world of beauty and fashion turned out to have two faces and only one of them is beautiful. The 70+ hour workweeks, the inability to have any free time and the high turnover in both products and colleagues made me wonder if there was more to life. The question was, what would my 6 year old self have done in this situation? And just like it was all those years ago, the answer was again fairly easy: go on an adventure!
Where my parents’ backyard was the location of my former adventures, this one took me to a place of sun, good food, great wine, sensual music, and loving people: Buenos Aires. What started as a holiday turned out to be the next level in my career. For a couple of years I worked out of South America as a marketing and strategy consultant in tech companies. I re-launched brands, built a business unit in international social media services from scratch and attained a passion for quality. Working for quality products and brands, but also having a better quality of life.
The lesson I learned throughout my endeavors is that it doesn’t matter whether I’m doing the marketing and strategy for Mona, L’Oréal, an energy- or a tech company. The only thing that drives me is a passion for great quality products and services that deserve to be seen and bought. Together with my team I want to help those companies to reach their potential and get them to the next level. This is how Seventury was born: to seize your ad-venture.
The Seventury team – with its headquarters’ in Amsterdam, the Netherlands – works as an outsourced marketing team for the best products and brands in the world that all have one thing in common: they are or have the potential to be the greatest in their field. Whether you own a local bakery, are a tech start-up or an international fashion label that has been around for decades.