In ‘The Floor is Yours’ we get to know female entrepreneurs. Powerful women who make tough choices. Who get out of their comfort zone, but als overcome obstacles. We get to find out more about how they started their business, what drives them, and their struggles? Would you like to tell your own story here? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi Esther, so glad you’re willing to share your story with us! I’m super excited. But first: who is Esther Megens?
A girl from ‘de Achterhoek’ (a region in the Dutch province ‘Gelderland’), with quite a busy life nowadays. I have two businesses: Brand Booster en Molinis. That’s also why I’m glad I haven’t left the region. Together with the love of my life Mark, I really enjoy the peace and quiet and nature surrounding us.
Actually there’s two sides to me. On the one hand as an entrepreneur who means business I always think big and see new business opportunities. On the other I enjoy the little things. And I’m grateful for everything I get to experience in my life. Although my childhood wasn’t always easy, I think I am now better equiped to cope with difficult and stressful situations.
Wow, two businesses even! Would you say you have always been somewhat of an entrepreneur, even when you were a kid?
Well, the stress in our family partly came from financial issues. It’s something you feel as a kid. So pretty early on I decided I wanted to be financially independent. Even my childhood ‘games’ always involved ‘having a business’. I had an office, ran a restaurant, was in charge of my own magazine and things like that. Also I sold playing cards in my neighborhood. They were gifts my dad gave to his clients. But when he had some left, he’d let me sell them for a ‘gulden’ a piece. I easily made twenty ‘gulden’ on a Saturday. Even if I was just ten years old.
So it was actually pretty clear early on. And after high school, what did you do to follow up on your ambition of becoming an entrepreneur?
First I got my Bachelor degree in ‘Commercial Economics’. Followed later by my Master degree in ‘Consumer Psychology & Marketing’. Then I started working in market research. My managers didn’t really appreciate my initiative to go beyond my job description. So in no time I got bored, but I stuck with it. It wasn’t until a year later that they had to let me go when they were forced to downsize. With of the experience I had just gained, I started my own business in market research. Finally I was living my dream of being an entrepreneur. But soon I discovered I wanted more out of life. At the beginning of 2010 I started as a marketing manager at Nedap. Here I got plenty of room for my own ideas, and surrounded by fellow-entrepreneurs I felt right at home. So much so that I stayed for eight years. During that time Nedap grew to be market leader. When I think back on it, I’m pretty proud to have contributed.
And rightly so. Now, how did you start the two companies you currently have?
Like I said: I see business opportunities everywhere. So next to my fulltime position at Nedap, I was already in the process of setting up my international label in shoe accessories: Molinis. Why? Well, one day in 2007 I had no appropriate shoes for a day on the town. All I could find in my closet was heels. I remembered the last time I ‘lost’ my shoe by getting my heel stuck in between two pavement slabs. To prevent this from happening again, I put a red headband around each shoe. Immediately they felt more secure around my feet, and the red accent really popped too! Instantly the idea of shoe accessories was born.
It then took me four years to build a network and to develop the product into the (vegan) leather accessories they are now. Finally I ended up leaving my day time job to completely dedicate my time and focus on Molinis.
‘Brand Booster’ I started because I found myself giving advice on marketing strategy all the time to many fellow entrepreneurs I met through networking events. The excitement of being a marketing consultant made me decide I wanted to help people who struggled in marketing their product or service.
Can you tell us what you hope to achieve with each of your businesses?
Actually, both companies are about helping people. And, much like Mellola, I aim for the true power woman. Independent and taking responsibility for her own life. Unafraid to step outside her comfort zone.
With Molinis I help women world wide who want to wear new shoes every day. With my comfortable and sustainable product I help women who don’t have the bank account to match their addiction. With Molinis they can still look fresh and fashionable every day.
‘Brand Booster’ allows me to help many entrepreneurs to reach the full potential of their business.
Ah, two totally different business but such similar company missions. Nice! And how do you cope with the obstacles you find on your way as an entrepreneur?
Since 2017 I have had several mentors from the USA. They taught me entrepreneurship is mostly about solving problems. Even when you’ve reached a certain point of being successful. You’ll keep running into things. ‘Just fix it’, I always tell myself. And if something fails just try something else. Even Edison said it in his days: “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10.000 ways that don’t work”. And with every solved issue you get closer to success.
What plans do you have for the future?
For now, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. What else? I hope to make as much positive impact as possible. And let’s all be financially free. I’ll just wait and see what comes next 🙂
Anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
Don’t try doing everything yourself! It’s this mistake that cost me lots of time and money. So get yourself a coach or mentor who’s ahead of you. Especially marketing is crucial for success. No sales, no business, right?!