At what point in your life did you first learn about your field of work? What called you to it?
As a little girl, I was always fascinated by elegant women, style and good manners. I would watch my grandmother dressing up and going out as she had a very unique, simple but elegant style. Back then, I didn’t know that on top of the elegant style, what’s needed for being an attractive woman – is confidence. I started with re-making my mother’s clothes as I always loved a distinctive touch in an outfit. I still remember the time, when I started to wear hats and it became a signature at school. Sketching of dresses came later, but the drawing would come to my mind by observing visuals around me.
As a teenager, my impression was that it’s all about the style and cloth. Life experience has shown me that it’s not about what we wear, it’s about how we feel about ourselves and who we truly are – if this triangle is connected you get a desired look. It’s like a design process when fabric needs to match the style and the product needs to fit. If any of the components is missing, you don’t get the right product.
That’s why at Jil’s, we take our customer through a journey of self-discovery and design fully customized program for her which includes coaching, lifestyle, styling and customized wardrobe. This is what’s unique about us: we deliver an experience by merging coaching and styling service with a luxury product. It’s a transformation to SELF with the result of lifted confidence and self-defining style.
Jil’s was recently presented at Amsterdam Fashion Week, name the biggest overall lesson you’ve learnt in starting and running a fashion start-up alongside your day job so far?
It’s 100% commitment. You need to listen to people, test your ideas, accept feedback and create a meaningful product. You can really make an impact if your product is a solution to a specific problem for the targeted customer. Be a customer of your brand and test your prototype. Be on the ground close to people you target to. I believe the most important part of doing any business is to believe in your idea, work extremely hard, learn from every failure and transform it into an opportunity.
What’s your best advice for somebody who wants to pursue a similar path to yours?
Trust your inner voice, believe in it and take the next step. Nothing can go wrong. If you fail, you learn so much that it’s totally worth to invest even in such a failure. I know it sounds weird to invest in failure but one-day biggest failure can turn into a milestone opportunity. And there is a big chance that you’ll succeed but you have to overcome fear, work hard and execute. Execution is the path to success.
What quotation or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and do what you love?
It’s not a typical short quotation but really underlines my values and beliefs in life: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Live your own life and not the others, work hard, accept equally failure and success. Have core values and build your life based on them. Ask yourself these two questions: Who do I want to be? and How do I want to be remembered?
Jil, what does the world need more of?
Kind and brave leaders to inspire and empower people so we all make this world a better place .