Welcome to the first in a series of Mompreneur profiles! This week, Siobhan E Brown met Amiek Krakers, founder of the House of Opulence. If you’d like to suggest a future mompreneur for us to feature, please let us know at email@example.com
Amiek, how did you come to live in Shanghai?
Let’s go back to Autumn 2004. After having worked in The Netherlands for eight years in the marketing and publishing industry, I felt it was time for something new and wanted to get out of my comfort zone. China was already in the news as a booming market and I decided the best way to understand China’s business world was to go there. A few months later, in February 2005, I was on the plane to Shanghai with one suitcase and a list of names to contact. My new life began on Valentine’s Day, a cold but beautiful sunny day. I thought perhaps I would remain for 1 year, and here I am 12 years later and many experiences richer. I started off working in publishing and within the very same year I got a request from a Dutch companies to help them set up their marketing operation in China. This was followed by similar projects and that’s when I decided to continue as a freelance marketing consultant, focusing on marketing communications and brand strategy.
What is something you find similar here in regards to doing business (similar to your home country)?
It has been quite a long time since I have worked in The Netherlands so it’s hard for me to compare. I also stopped comparing at some point as I felt that would be the best way to really understand China. In many ways, it really is another world, so any comparison falls short.
What is the biggest difference?
One of the things that really sets China and The Netherlands apart is that the Dutch tend to be very direct, often too direct. I am definitely a typical Dutchie in that perspective.
How did you come to find your passion?
Actually, I did not really have to find it, as it has always been part of me to be very much into flavors and fragrances. This is not only related to (home) fragrances, but also related to food and drinks. I have always had a very strong sense of smell. This was nurtured from an early age: I grew up in Holland in a home always filled with candle light, beautiful scents from flowers and plants and a mom who loves cooking so there were always good scents coming from the kitchen too. A lot of my inspiration comes from these childhood memories as well as extensive traveling around the globe. Wherever I travel, I always travel with my taste buds and nose wide open. However, the idea of starting my own home fragrance collection came right after I gave birth to our daughter Frederique. Right after she was born (November 2011) I was very much in the mood for cocooning and could not find any high quality scented candles, which for me are totally part of cocooning. So I instructed my husband to bring me a suitcase full of scented candles back from Holland and that’s when I got the idea of creating my own collection to make sure to always have great candles at my disposal.
How do you balance work and family life?
As I work from home most of the time and my work hours are flexible it’s quite easy to balance work and family life. Also, I do not have any employed staff. I have always worked with a team of freelancers, which makes it extremely flexible all together.
What is the marketing/communication tool you have come to rely on the most?
Nothing more valuable than good word-of-mouth. Besides that, I try to get as much customer feedback as possible. Any comment – positive and not – are valuable; it helps to further improve my collection. With China being at the forefront of E/M-commerce and social media, this naturally is part of my marketing strategy.
What professional advice could you give someone who is trying to make their way here?
Just do it and be patient (not always easy though ;-))
What is the thing you love most about Shanghai?
The positive and energetic business vibe plus the openness of the community (easiness of getting in touch with people).
The House of Opulence’s luxury home fragrance collection features scented candles and aroma reed diffusers made with the purest ingredients from nature’s most precious flowers and plants. We carefully handpick our fragrances, to give your interior that unique signature and subtle scent. All our candles are made with 100% botanical wax and our fragrances are based on essential oils. The House of Opulence is a Dutch brand, founded by Holland born Amiek Krakers who has been living in Shanghai since 2005. She grew up in Holland in a home always filled with candlelight and beautiful scents from flowers and plants. A lot of her inspiration is coming from these childhood memories as well as extensive traveling around the globe.
For ShanghaiMamas Members Only: Amiek would like to offer all ShanghaiMamas a special promotion. For every candle order (any fragrance) a 20% discount applies on the retail price of 280 RMB. One time offer valid until June 1 2017. Must use WeChat pay. Use discount promo code (SHM2017) Delivery fee is included. Offer valid while stock lasts.
You can contact Amiek on 1381 8689 187 or by scanning the QR code