If you’ve yet to meet Moriam Hassan Balogun, it’s time you were introduced. She is managing director and founder of Fem Netherlands BV and Deep Skincare company founder.
Please tell us where you are from, and what is your background?
Well I was born in London, England and moved to the Netherlands when I was 20, some 15 years ago. I guess I was looking for something new and exciting somewhere else and I was advised to go to Amsterdam by a friend. Very reluctantly I did so, Amsterdam wasn’t really on my radar at that time. Upon arrival at centraal station of all places, I had a strange feeling come over me which basically told me that this was the place I was going to stay…
You are doing a lot for the females in this country, how did you start?
I think I’ve always wanted to be able to contribute something to women, although I wasn’t conscious of it. I’m a natural optimist and see life as a series of experiences and challenges rather than problems and I felt the need to share this with others, my friends in the first instance. In 2010 I founded Fem Netherlands BV which runs the planetfem.com women’s magazine network and from that moment on the urge, I suppose, for helping women became official. A similar concept exists in the US and in Germany. I took quite some time researching those platforms and further developed the concept so that it would be more suitable to women in the Netherlands. I also wanted to promote as much transparency and show our visitors where our content was being produced, namely by our partner sites as well as our own editorial. The internet is a great medium to get in contact with different kinds of people and companies and when you draw the benefits of partnership together you often get the best mix instead of constantly competing with each other which is such an old fashioned way of working. On top of this I founded a foundation called Fem Divine with two friends of mine, Michelle van Stijn and Denise Riedstra, two wonderful and great women; with the aim of helping women achieve financial independence through entrepreneurism. We’ll be helping women via a series of intense workshops and coaching sessions and at the end of the course we’d like to bring these women in contact with investors and banks.
Why did you start with this? What do you want to achieve?
What do you think is missing for women to get more success in life?
Women need to think much bigger than they currently do. In general women position themselves as less business like and perhaps society helps this a little by labeling us as ‘mothers’ of ‘part-timers’. At the same time its often women doing this to each other and so we kind of perpetuate and keeping it burning. I’m a strong believer that you can be what you want to be, that is if you really want it? I don’t believe that there is a glass ceiling is at all and if it is there, it’s probably women who put it there in the first place. For example if you’re at the top of middle management and then decide to stop and have children, well then here is an example of you putting it there yourself – going back to work at a high level of stress whilst having children is difficult to combine, but no-one asked you to do it this way. It was the choice you made yourself. The problem lies not in the choice to have children but often the choice to have children later in your career rather than at the same time and whilst climbing the ladder, but this is just one aspect of success related to work and business of course. I wonder if women really want success in their lives and just how far they’re willing to go and get it. The point is that success is not limited to only men and not any more difficult for women – its more about the attitude you have towards achieving it. Once you’ve decided you really want it then I think you’ll start making the steps to make it happen. If you’ve not consciously decided it then it remains vague, you’ve no and little direction and then nothing really happens…
What does “success” mean to you?
Success has quite a lot of definitions for me. On a business level it means being able to work with a team to achieve something great together but also meeting your goals and targets, being flexible when necessary and overcoming obstacles – it’s about never giving up, determination and perseverance despite the odds whereby you then always reach your destination. On a personal level success means true happiness and actively pursuing that happiness. There is nothing greater that being truly happy with yourself, your life, your family, friends and once you can say you are happy with these things you really are successful.
Talk to us about Deep Skincare,you are the co-founder?
In 2009 I realized that I was so busy working as an entrepreneur and missed that ‘me time’. I wanted to create something which would give me that ‘me time’ moment without taking too much time out of my busy schedule. So together with Olaf Haarsma, who was responsible for the creative direction, we founded Deep Skincare a cosmetics company with the philosophy that beauty comes from within. It was particularly important to me to write the philosophy of each mood, (Deep Skincare is split into 10 moods) choose every single product and write what the benefits of each product was and thereby explain why we need to allow ourselves, despite our hectic lives, time to nurture ourselves. There are roughly 2 or 3 moments in the day which I have for myself and never ever miss and these are showering in the morning, moisturizing my hands during the day and taking my make-up off and night routine before I go to bed. So basically Deep Skincare was about focusing on ourselves at these times and turning these moments into sacred times and really being conscious of what we were doing with ourselves at that moment instead of thinking about the thousand other things that needed to be done. It needed to be internationally shared, I wanted of to offer women of the world something special and this is why Deep Skincare is available worldwide and in 7 languages.
As co-founder of Deep skincare do you do anything differently with your beauty regime in summer and winter?
Well the first thing I do I really take time to look at myself every morning and evening. I’m much more aware of looking after my ‘beauty’ and quite enjoy it now. I take as much time in the summer and the winter and use 90% Deep Skincare products. They’re amazing and I’m very proud of them. On top of this I love the products and what they do for me. I have oily skin on my face so my face regime doesn’t change throughout the year but I cleanse every evening with Elite Face Treatment <http://www.deepskincare.net/
Share with By StyingAmsterdam readers your best tip of how to become successful.
If you really want to become successful then I’d like to share these tips which have really helped me.
– Decide if you want to be successful and what this actually entails. Make a list of the things that would determine your success, whatever that is
– Research what really makes you happy and what you love doing, however crazy it may seem
– Write down what you end goal is in 1, 5 and 7 years time – what do you want to have, achieve or become?
– Write a list of small steps you can take now which will bring you closer to your end goal
– After you’ve done this, just start doing it – don’t delay and don’t procrastinate
– Remember to congratulate yourself on all the steps you’ve achieved and be proud and grateful for what you’ve done
And one very last point – try to find like minded people. People who are achievers, who are positively inclined and who aren’t afraid of success!
What kind of projects are you working on now?
Right now we are working on expanding planetfem internationally. The current planning is to launch in the UK and US in 2012. And by the end of Q1 we’d like to offer our first course to female entrepreneurs as part of the foundation.
And hey who knows what else comes along – I always open to new ideas, businesses and initiatives!
Thank you for taking this interview Moriam!