Women living outside the rules of society - Helen Van
We are beyond excited to introduce to you our second participant in our series "Women living outside the rules of society"! We first got to know her boyfriend through a friend in New Zealand. He told us about her and her new company, as it was still new and growing and we were impressed already back then. Since then we have seen her and the company flourish to one of Swedens (the worlds?) biggest sportswear for women. We give to you; Helen "Hille" Van, co-founder of aim'n!
Name: Helen "Hille" Van
From: Värnamo, Sweden
Describe yourself with 3 words: Happy, dreamer, ocean- lover.
3 things you are the most passionate about: Happiness & health, Surfing, Adventures
Hi Helen, where do you live and what do you do for a living?
Helen: I live in beautiful Mount Maunganui, New Zealand and I’m co-founder of the swedish activewear brand aim’n. I spend my days dreaming and developing aim’n into a global brand so that we can empower women around the world to an active lifestyle, and to believe in themselves and the power of their dreams. :)
What is your educational background and how does that reflect what you are doing today or have done up until now?
Helen: I studied a degree in Business Administration, but never completed my thesis. I was honestly to busy riding waves in the Philippines during my last semester, so never got around to finish it. Spontaneously moved to Hong Kong right after and decided right there that I wanted to start a business and a degree on a piece of paper doesn’t define who I am or what I’m capable of!
Creating a business from scratch you get to wear many hats, the areas I studied covers some parts of what I’m doing today. However, it doesn’t reflect the success for us as the university doesn’t teach you mindset. For us it’s been a lot of trial and errors. We have failed and made mistakes so many times. You really learn by doing and come out stronger than ever.
But those uni - years shaped me, I realised what I don’t like doing and found my passion in marketing. I learned my study technique; like how to gather a lot of information, quickly understand the context, analyse is and come up with a conclusion. This is very helpful when you have to take decision daily. Everything from how to hire the right people to invest in the next best AI software is based on research.
Have you always been this driven/entrepreneurial, if so, why do you think that is?
Helen: Yes I would say so. My parents have always run their on businesses, everything from having a grocery store to have a flight tickets agency. So I’ve been growing up in a ”work for it” and ”make it happen” mentality.
But also, growing up in a small town in southern Sweden -as the only asian girl in school and growing up in a family with a different culture, I always felt like an outsider. It wasn´t until my early twenties that I got the confidence to pursue my dreams and passions in life. Looking back I wish there was a community who told my that it’s OK to be different, look different, have dreams and that you don’t have to follow the path that society tells you to. This is the reason why I think it’s so important that we females empower each other and the reason I want to make a difference.
Tell us about your most rewarding experience in your career as an entrepreneur?
Helen: the last couple of years we have created a community that we call the #aimntribe, both online and offline. and it’s so fun see women to be the best version of themselves and in the same time empower each other to be happy, healthy, confident and support each other dreams in life. I’m a strong believer that if the women in the family, relationship, sister is happy and have the right mindset it will affect the people around them and the world will become a happier place.
We are not only selling products, our mission is so much bigger! So being able to make an impact is def something I’m proud of.
Hitting the wall or Fatigue syndrome is a common issue amongst young females today. Do you have any personal experience of this and what is your advice to stay healthy and happy while doing something you love?
Helen: YES been there done that. 18 hours days in front of the computer/phone was a big part of my live 2 years ago. I tried to do everything myself and some days I was so caught up in what I was doing I even forgot to eat! For me today, it’s all about having that work life harmony and having that life you don’t need a vacation from. My advice would be: Create standards for your life. Find your strength and values, focus on that and delegate/outsource the tasks that drains your energy so you instead can focus on the highest impact tasks where you are in flow.
Running a business is challenging and there will be up and lows, doing something you are passionate about and having a strong why you do what you do will help you get up every morning and continue to work towards the vision.
If you could go back in time 5 years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Helen: I have always been a goal digger and being proud of what has been created. But as a business grow the systems within need to grow as well!
What I have learned the last years is to let go of my ego and being able to trust the people and the processes around me. Being able to accept that it will be people that can do some of the tasks I’m doing 10x better. It’s all about creating flow and having the right people in the right place. Since then it’s been a massive change.
Because my ego has been holding me back to reach success in my personal life as well as growth in business.
What can we expect in the future from you?
Helen: the #aimntribe will grow worldwide, we are focusing on asia this year as well as Germany and US. We are organising a retreat in Bali in September with focus on women empowerment. A lot of new releases is coming as well. <3 So I’m really excited of all the fun things happening in the aim’n world!
Do you have any recommendations for inspiring people, companies or foundations to look into for young female entrepreneurs who are looking for inspiration and support?
Helen: Jane Lu founder of Showpo is such a kick ass leader as well as co-founder of frank.bod has a inspiring story to tell about the hard truth of being an female entrepreneur in a man dominated industry.
Do you have any life mottos/rules to live by/rules to break etc to share with girls who are looking to do their own thing?
Helen: aim high, dream big ;) and do what makes your soul happy! Life is simply too short not to live your dream life.
I believe that EVERYONE has the right to live their dream life, that EVERYTHING is possible if you have the right mindset and are open to failures and learn from them. We are all different but there is always a way. Find your strength and figure out what path works for you.
And finally, which Salty Boho ring is your favourite?
Helen: I LOVE the wave! Need to have one!
This or that
Nutella or Peanut butter? Nutella
Longboard or Shortboard? Shortboard
Book or E-reader? Book
Beach or mountains? Beach
Saturday or Sunday? Sunday
Organised or messy? Organised mess?
Plane or roadtrip? Roadtrip
Know the future or change the past? Know the future