Would you like to introduce a bit on yourself, your background, and where do you come from?
Hi – my name is Kirsten; I was born in Brussels but I am half British & half Kiwi. I studied Theatre Studies in the UK and soon after entered the world of entertainment in Fashion & Music.
Nine years ago, I got an opportunity to work on the production of House of Dancing Water in Macau and this started off my journey in Asia.
What motivated you to start your own business?
I was in Macau for the House of Dancing Water on a contract basis. After extending the contract from 6 months to a year, I was sent back to Europe and went through a rather negative phase. My experience in Macau had opened many doors for me and had given me international perspective on life… therefore I considered “going back” to my previous life in Europe as a step backwards.
Seven months later, I decided to return to Asia. I joined a large event agency to manage its luxury department. It was then that I met my current business partner (and close friend), Jean-Marc Guignard. I was at a point where I was ready to move away from “working for others” and “living the financially unstable freelancing lifestyle” and to start my own event-planning venture with Jean-Marc - so What If was born!
What were some challenges you faced, especially as a female entrepreneur, when launching your own business/passion project?
Self-confidence in my business is something that I am constantly working on. I am learning to believe and trust my decisions. I make choices for the business, our projects, our clients, our employees on a daily bases- and need to ensure not to self-doubt. Being somebody who needs others to encourage as well as to challenge, I am happy to have met Jean-Marc, who is the ying to my yang (or the other way round?!) We are able to complement each other’s needs at work. I am also grateful to have this close friends to support me all along.
To date, we have offices in Hong Kong and China. I have never felt alone nor questioned what we are doing since I know Jean-Marc and I will always have each other’s back. Being a female in events in not as challenging as other fields I think. I personally do not value so much an on paper profile but focus more on people’s energy - if something/ someone excites me, I am all in.
The most important thing from my experience of being a freelancer to starting my own business is that we’ve got to love what we do. In addition, as I have a pragmatic personality and value inner achievement, my suggestion to people is not let anybody or anything decide your life for you because life is just too short!
How do you achieve your own work-life balance?
Move than ever, am I conscious that work and life have to be balanced. What I do now is to try out different kinds of sports, activities and make time for myself (me “me-time”). I know there are a lot of people who are afraid of being alone, but I love it. I am around people al day. I always try to make time for activities I like, such a spinning, hiking, playing the piano. As an introvert, I know I need to recharge from within. Know yourself and listen to that voice.
What is your favorite sport/work out and why?
There are two spectrums for me - the high intensity side and the mindful side. For the former, my favorite is spinning and for the latter, I would always go to the mat.
How will you define a beautiful woman?
Beauty depends on a woman’s inner self. This includes having a beautiful soul and giving out positive vibes, which are derived from one’s energy.
"BEAUTY BEGINS THE MOMENT YOU DECIDE TO BE YOURSELF' – COCO CHANEL AND MY DEFINITION OF [INNER] BEAUTY