Meet Stefan, The mentor behind our men's briefcase
Stefan is my coach from 'Netwerk Ondernemen' - a mentoring program where a starting entrepreneur is matched with an experienced mentor. Stefan is a person that challenges me to find out why something is a good or bad idea. He's straight forward and doesn't beat around the bush. Since his core experiences are outside the fashion spectrum, he can look at our brand from an entirely different perspective.
During the development of the men's collection, Stefan was of great help. Business-wise and to give us - a team of 4 ladies - insights on what men carry with them on a daily basis and would need in their bag. So naming one of the two bags after Stefan became a straightforward decision.
We asked Stefan some questions about his experiences within consultancy. Stefan started out in the family business and woodworking company Brems, of which he was CEO for 10 years. After selling the family business he founded his own company in innovative doorknob systems ‘No-Ha’ and started with Moove Forward, a consulting agency.
What advantages do you notice now, contrary to the fixed structure of your family business?
I don't necessarily like the "freedom" of consultancy because I'm operating from the sidelines with every project and rarely fully participate. This is also why I told my partners that I only wanted to do pure advising work part-time at Moove Forward's derivation, leaving enough space for my projects & experimenting.
Consultancy gives me lots of inspiration and perspective for my own projects, so honestly, my clients should send me invoices.
I'm not a big fan of large and fixed structures, but I can't say that my old family business was like this. I'm grateful for the trajectory I had within the family business because it was an environment where I could experiment early on. This is a head start you can't easily catch up to.
Stefan is our sounding board full of critical questions. Do you also question yourself critically, or does this flow more organically?
Asking yourself critical questions isn't easy because these questions won't be entirely out-of-the-box, and more likely will uncover your fears and will possibly restrict you in taking the right decisions. I believe in an external sounding board. This I can find with a few mentors and the 'OndernemersCouncil' that i'm a part of - A close group of seven entrepreneurs who regularly consult with each other openly as both humans and entrepreneurs.
Even when I’m talking with Lies about her company and the challenges she faces this helps me question myself and my companies. Her fresh approach and enthusiasm keeps me focussed and sharp, continuously evaluating my own views and enterprises.