The Amsterdam Creative Entrepreneurs (ACE) Collective is a peer-peer initiative celebrating brave people doing bold things with the goal to support creative entrepreneurs on their journey. An initiative of Lucy von Sturmer, founder of The Humblebrag, this collective now boasts more than 400 creative entrepreneurs and a legacy of inspiring events.
On June 13, the third in a new speaker series exploring the theme 'Guts to Glory' was held at Your Space, and was opened by Semra Çelebi from the City of Amsterdam. In her role as foreign investments manager, Semra highlighted the value that creative entrepreneurs bring to the city.
“Creative entrepreneurs think ‘out of the box’ and contribute to the city’s character by spotting gaps and creating new solutions to improve challenges in sustainability, diversity and other pertinent issues.”
While Semra noted that the city has stopped promoting itself - noting the ever increasing number of businesses and individuals on the move - creative entrepreneurs are a target group they still want more of.
Daphne Gerritse, founder of Dutch fashion company Rain Couture, shared her entrepreneurial journey from 'Guts to Glory' and the story of how she overcame major challenges to build a boutique fashion brand.
Not only did she speak about the difficulties of being a local fashion designer fighting a widespread fast fashion fixation, she recounted how her first six figure order went up in smoke when her manufacturer went bankrupt.
Where some may have given up, Daphne spoke about the importance of being resilient. This mindset of pushing forward, even when everything seems to go back, pulled her through. Today, Rain Couture is growing with two independent shops in the city centre. Her secret to success? Mindset. “Your business is a reflection of you and your subconscious. So invest in yourself. Listen to your intuition, and trust that every challenge holds a vital lesson for your journey.”
Dutch entrepreneur Ricardo van Loenen, founder of B Building Business, the biggest startup ecosystem in Europe, gave lessons in what he termed “naive optimism.” He outlined that an entrepreneur is someone that takes risks and puts ideas into the world, and urged people not to be perfectionists.
In a bold tales of guts, and a little less glory than planned, Ricardo recounted how an expansion to New York City which didn’t eventuate for B Building Business still proved valuable.
“We had this ‘how hard can it be’ attitude and that’s what opened doors for us. It’s naive optimism, and that means “just doing it.” Sometimes winning, sometimes losing. But even when things don’t work out, you’ve learned a valuable lesson to bring back home.”
Lucy von Sturmer, founder of The Humblebrag ended the night with a round of thanks and her favourite quote which underpins the motive to building ACE Collective.
"As Robbin Williams once said: 'You only have one little spark of madness - you mustn't lose it!'"