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YOB : Evita Sanches of Passionistas

jenpen.studio - May 26, 2017 - 0 comments

If you live on the island of Curacao and never heard of Passionistas Pop-Up Fair, you must be living under a rock. This fair is going to celebrate its first year anniversary and I wanted to know more about the force behind this event. The very first fair was held in the backyard of her home. Very cozy with a small group of vendors selling their hand made products. Eventually she moved it to a bigger location and now she’s having a big celebration fair. Let’s get some insights about this bossbabe.

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What is Passionistas?
Passionistas is a creative platform for passionate crafters, foodies, artists and talented people.The core values of this platform are passion, inspiration and collaboration. We are a community where passionistas can support each other, asks questions, share tips and create partnerships.
I choose the name Passionistas (plural) instead of Passionista (singular) to emphasize that this not a one man-show, but a collective of people who have a passion in life.
Through Passionistas I organize events, create and participate in projects to stimulate entrepreneurship and offer talented people a stage to showcase their gift ( poetry, dance, music, art etc.) at our events.
You also have your own company Empower Consultancy. What’s the idea behind the name, and what is Empower Consultancy all about?
I thought long and hard about a name for my business. First I thought about calling it hummingbird. The hummingbird represents my life philosophy; I like to travel, grow, I like the feeling of having limitless options. A bird can fly everywhere, higher and higher. Also, the hummingbird is the only bird that can fly backwards and I do believe that sometimes you’ve got to take some steps back to finally take giant steps forward. But when I thought about using hummingbird as a business name, it didn’t spark something inside of me. When I was explaining to a friend what the goal of my business should be, I told her that I want to empower others and at the same time I had an AHA moment. The official name registered at Chamber of Commerce is Empower Consultancy, but it’s going to be called just Empower.
Empower is all about strengthening the position of individuals and companies by means of training, workshops, advice and management that are related to Marketing and Communication and by organizing events that will empower them. Through Passionistas and its Passionistas Pop-Up Fair, I offer entrepreneurs and hobbyists a platform to gain more exposure and sell their handmade and homemade products. I want to stimulate collaboration and the passionistas also get the opportunity to participate in projects where we have partnerships with other organizations. It’s a way to empower themselves and each other.  

Why did you start a business of your own?

When I was younger I always knew that I was going to be my own boss. Always had that feeling that I would have a small Marketing & Communication agency.
Here at the University of Curaçao (then it was University of Netherlands Antilles) I did my studies Management Business Communication and I had my internship at an advertising agency. I loved the dynamics within the agency. New projects, new clients or even one client that switched up what he wanted. I loved the diversity of the work. In 2010 I moved to the Netherlands to obtain a master’s degree in Communication Science.

Last year I came back to Curaçao and I haven’t been here for a while, so I gave myself a two year span to explore the market on the island and after that I would start something on my own. I was looking for full time jobs that were related to Marketing & Communication and didn’t just wanted do whatever. In the Netherlands, I worked for several companies and I also worked for a company in Madrid who eventually sent me to Morocco. Which of course was awesome, but now I was looking for the stability.

I had some job interviews at a few great companies, but it still didn’t work out for different reasons. I eventually approached the University of Curaçao to see if I can give some guest lectures. First I thought I was never going to do that, because I come from a family of teachers and I said I would never become one. My mother always told me that there are always jobs in education. So to get back on my feet I thought why not. But I really started to love giving lectures and now I don’t want to give it up. Meanwhile I was freelancing here and there and people wanted me to help them with their business concept. Asking me for advice. After I while I applied for a full-time job within my field and got hired. But within two weeks I realized that it wasn’t for me. I missed the dynamics of having various things to do like freelancing, giving lectures and working on Passionistas and in between going to the beach (that is my moment to recharge). When you work for someone you don’t have the freedom to do that and have time to work on your ideas. At the end of the two weeks I got a call from the University that they heard that I wanted to give more lectures. I told them no as I was working full-time. But the moment I hung up the phone I realized that this was my ‘now or never’ moment. By the third week I knew what I wanted to do. On January 2nd of this year I resigned my job. It took me a few months to register my company because I was a bit afraid but then I told myself to get over myself and just do it. And so I did and I have no regrets. 
Your company, Empower, is fairly new, but Passionistas is going to have its first year anniversary. How can you describe the high and low moments when it comes to the Passionistas Pop-Up fair?
One low point that I’ve noticed is being alone sometimes. I do have of course people that help me with the fair, but it’s difficult at times to transfer your vision over to someone else, because the project is your baby. You know how you would like the things to go, you are feeling the vibe the best and you can explain it to others, but it can be difficult. So now I have to accept that maybe sometimes not everyone will have the same feeling as me about a project. It is okay, you’re the only person that can really see your vision. Otherwise you can be disappointed when working with others. I also know that I can be an impatient person and I like to see things going at a fast pace. I am used to the high speed of the Western world and I am still in the process of adapting to the slower speed on the island.
Another thing is that everything is on you. You’re responsible for everything. It’s a good thing but at the same time it can be very scary. If you work for a company and something goes wrong when you’re planning an event, you can hide behind that company’s name. But now it’s me, myself and I. I always worry if people will attend the fair, if I did enough promotion, if the passionistas and visitors will enjoy the fair. It’s like a blessing and a curse at the same time.
One highlight I have is getting the satisfaction to see how many creative and talented people are on the island. I get so many inspiration from their stories. Before the fair I give everyone the opportunity to get to know the location and to know each other. It’s so fun to hear how exciting they are to participate at the fair, to know their stories about how they started. I want to build a community with Passionistas. A way for us to collaborate with each other. That’s why I made a Facebook group for the ones who are participating to ask questions, share tips and insights with each other. It’s so great to see when people who’ve met by participating at the fair, are now having partnerships with each other. They’re supporting each other. That for me is truly a great satisfaction.
Also when visitors of the fair tell me they had fun and that it was something different than the usual fairs, it always gives me a great boost.
Where do you get your inspiration? 
Everywhere. I do a lot so I need my recharge moments and I do that by reconnecting with nature, by hiking or going to the beach. Even creative places like Kurá di Arte give me inspiration. But also my students with a creative initiative and entrepreneurial spirit give me a boost when I have conversations with them.
That’s why sharing stuff with each other is something very essential. We need to grow together
What advice can you give to those that who would like to be part of the Your Own Boss Club? 
Just go for it. Have no fear. I don’t believe in fear. Of course it was a bit daunting when I went to register my business, but when I look back on my life and everything I did, like quitting jobs I didn’t like, taking a flight to Madrid for a recruitment day with no guarantee that I would get a job (I got the job eventually!), what I’ve learned from it all is that if one door closes another one opens. You just have to follow your gut feeling, have no fear and even if you fail, it’s all a lesson. It’s never a mistake, it’s always a lesson. Never have a ‘what if’.
There you have it folks, another very inspiring interview with another awesome young professional. This little island of Curaçao is booming of great people with great ideas and businesses.
Thanks Evita for accepting my invitation and I wish you many more luck on all your business adventures.
Next week, June 3rd, Passionistas is going to celebrate their 1 year anniversary at the PassionistasPop-Up Fair and they are going to do it with a big bang, so you need to be there.
For more information or to contact Evita, please click below:

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