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 email@example.com.
Hi Petra. You get to be the very first to share your story in ‘The Floor is Yours’! Please tell us a few things about yourself?
First off, thanks for having me! So, my name is Petra, I’m 31 years old and the owner and founder of Wandering Lines. I’m from The Netherlands, married to a man from Kenya. And we’ve been living in the Belgium city of Antwerp since June 2017.
What else? I’m full of contradictions actually. Somehow they just go together 🙂 I’m a thinker, but also a bon vivant. I’m idealistic, yet down-to-earth. I find it hard to get started on something, but once I get going I get carried away completely.
And… what is it that gets you carried away then?
I design cards, other stationery and interior accessories. I decorate these by hand by writing positive words on them. Also, I have a printed card collection. And then there’s my latest project is ‘Celebrate Life Design’. It’s about celebrating a woman’s worth. In a one-on-one conversation (with cake on the side!) we look back on her personal victories and moments to be grateful for. Afterwards I incorporate these in a unique design. A text on a stone, a poster or wooden plaque. Whatever reminds her of her worth.
Wow, that sounds beautiful! Maybe you can tell us something about the road that led up to this point?
Well, I’ve had ups and downs. When I was a teenager I already had feelings of depression. But I wasn’t fully aware of it until I got to my twenties. Before that I thought life just came with a cloud. I thought I didn’t deserve more. I didn’t have one kind word for myself. Fortunately I was surrounded by friends, family and counselors who did have positive words to say about me. Also I found a great deal of encouragement through faith. I remember someone telling me my heart was like a bottomless pit where positive words just didn’t seem to be able to reach me. But I kept believing there was a bottom: deep, deep down somewhere. Slowly I learned the meaning of Love. And the pit slowly became less deep. The future started to seem bright again. I got to be kinder to myself. And now Wandering Lines allows me to pass on those words that helped me back then.
That’s a great way to ‘pay it forward’! And how did you actually start Wandering Lines?
In elementary school I had all kinds of dreams for the future. Writer and artist were already on my radar. I ended up studying SPH (social work with children), had several administrative jobs and a burn out. After that in 2011 I started a master’s degree in Education. I loved it! I was planning to continue with a PHD, which would allow me to help third world development organisations. But… I started to get all kinds of mysterious physical symptoms and I suddenly had trouble processing information. Three months before I could finish my master’s I was forced to quit. A year later I was diagnosed with CFS/ME. I ended up on the couch. I did try to do things but I felt very lonely. And had to deal with letting go of my newly found dream for the future. On the other hand I finally appreciated life. Inspite of everything I knew it was beautiful and worth while. Also… those four years I was stuck on the couch got me my Kenyan husband. I met him through the internet, and could easily skype for hours.
After our wedding in June 2017 we moved to Belgium. To get a permit for my husband I had to financially support us both. A regular job was not an option with my condition. And I had already started taking up modern calligraphy as a hobby. Wandering Lines was a natural result of this.
What an incredible strength to keep reinventing yourself! A true Butterfly! And what is your company mission exactly?
I believe positive words and gratitude are the driving forces in life. Thankfully insecurity and self-criticism don’t rule my life anymore. I now know my worth doesn’t depend on what I do or don’t do. We don’t have to be perfect, we’re deeply loved either way! So Wandering Lines to me is more than just making nice stuff. Just like Mellola does with jewelry, I want to (re)empower women through word and image. We’re all power women! At our best when we stay true to ourself. That’s my message. Whether it sinks in immediately or has a long way to get to the bottom of your heart.
Can you tell us something about your life as an entrepreneur?
It’s such a great adventure! I mainly run the business from my couch. Because my body and brain sometimes aren’t cooperating, I’m faced with the challenge to make the best of the ‘good moments’. This means sometimes I work under pressure. That’s why I set myself one (small) goal each day. Also I skype on a regular basis with my newly aquired ‘accountability-partner’. Great to keep eachother on point and motivated.
Yeah, such an arrangement with a fellow entrepreneur is a great suggestion zo’n afspraak met een mede-onderneemster is een goede tip! Any dreams for the future?
I’d like to expand my product- and service line much further. And I long to be part of more colaborations at women conferences and other initiatives (like this blog!).
So, if you have an idea you want to brainstorm about? Let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org!
Anything else you’d like to say?
To Melissa: thanks for this opportunity. Enjoy every step! And to all you Power women: I can’t wait to see who’s next to share their story here. Step into the light: you are beautiful too, just the way you are!