CONFESSIONS FROM A GIRL WHO’S TRUST WAS BETRAYED BY BUSINESS PARTNERS AND WHY SHE DECIDED TO PUT HER NAME ON A BIG DREAM
Interview with Ivana de Haan
Growing up in a foreign country, without her grandmother, was very difficult for Ivana. As an adolescent, she had different life expectations than her mother and despite being so young, she decided to live on her own before reaching her eighteenth birthday. Ivana started a job as an administrative assistant at an employment agency and worked her way up running a whole department.
For as long as she can remember, Ivana had a big dream and created business relationships with people who, she thought, will be honest and put their weight on to succeed and turn these dreams into a better reality together.
During her full-time job, she took a five-year course and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2001. In that same year she started her first business, a recruitment agency for technical staff, with two other business partners. Eighteen months later she launched her second business, a metal factory that made components for the food industry and delivered the parts to several countries in Europe. One after another, both partnerships collapsed after nine years, bringing Ivana’s dreams down and challenged her to start again, for the third time another business, on her own, this time, but from ground zero.
Many of the ones who let her down while working in the same business, forced her realise that she doesn’t need anyone to complete her, she is the complete deal, she got it all.
What failure and success have in common?
The girl who couldn’t trust business partners anymore because of the people who betrayed her, learned to trust herself and become a woman of substance. However, that painful process transformed her into a powerful business woman, and it didn’t happen overnight (it took more than ten years of her life to solve all the problems) and continues to evolve.
What at first Ivana perceived as a distrust for business partners, was her perception from two difficult experiences, trying to articulate that she didn’t relate to her own talent, she did not feel good enough to start the business on her own, and she paid a very high price for not trusting herself. She thought that business was supposed to be success not failure, so the other partners who let her down, as they felt she was threatening their success, where, in fact, she wanted limitless success.
When desire makes you challenge your limiting beliefs
As Ivana grew wiser, she decided that these sad memories can’t control her present or her future and she let them slip away. She began to realize where these sad experiences originated from and how she can now benefit from those lessons. Ivana became aware of her own powers and saw more business women being successful around her, on their own right. Ivana understood the importance of manifesting courage and being determined in business and her desire to bring her vision into the world, as a whole, not just as a part of somebody else’s success, grew her confidence to new heights. Finally, Ivana created her own brand, a high end of luxury handbags and ties, and put her name on it: IVANA
‘I had a desire to do something completely different with my life. I wanted to experience what I was capable of and I challenged my own limiting beliefs. I did ask myself, what does make me happy? The answer to this question made me create my own high end of luxury handbags and ties, with my name, IVANA. My collection is more than a beautiful product. It represents me, the story of my life, my identity and the woman I am today. Everything I have gone through in my whole life did inspire me and I want to reach out to other people and inspire them, tell them that everything is possible if you believe in yourself and never let go of your dreams. ‘
The World is bigger than you think
While others agree with the old saying ’is a small world’ Ivana realised that reaching out to a global audience is a huge challenge. ‘The world is bigger than you think. The question is how do you manage to reach out to all the people you want to serve, how do you position yourself in a global market? You need to network, connect and collaborate with different people all over the globe. You need to be at the right time at the right place.’
After launching her first collection in December 2016 at the LXRY Fair in Amsterdam Beau(c)se, she was approached by new clients who asked her to design an exclusive handbag with matching ties for the Royal Family in Monaco. Everything else is history, Ivana was invited to international fashion shows in Monaco, Paris, Madeira and Amsterdam. Her success story didn’t stop, on the contrary, attracted speaking engagements in London, Dubai, Ghana and soon enough Ivana launched her own stage for speaking events in Holland.
‘I want to reach out to as many people as possible. We are all unique individuals. We all have our own talent, experiences, difficulties, problems, insecurities and baggage. We do not need to be ashamed of anything. We do not need to compare ourselves with others. We only need to look inside ourselves and see the beauty and the strength we all have within.’
After everything she experienced on her quest to success, Ivana realised that life is a wonderful gift. ‘Only life can teach you this and that’s why I am so grateful for everything life taught me. Everything I have learned, I did was a choice. I was the one who took all the steps. No one forced me to do anything- it was me. I chose to embrace all difficulties, changed my mindset and kept my focus on my goals. When facing difficult decisions, my inner voice whispered: ‘you can do it’. And I am so happy I did listen. I am the living proof that it is possible to make a difference for yourself, and others, if you want to. You can overcome your problems, if you believe in yourself and act. Every little step you make is progress. I have learned so much about myself, how strong I am, who I am, who I want to be; all the challenges I faced, made me the woman I am today.’
Celebrate the growing presence of women in business
Ivana takes her inspiration from real life and the strong people who experience hardship.
‘Think about all the volunteers who help great causes. Think about homeless people, children without parents, survivors, we can’t forget that they contribute daily in their own way, as much as they can. I believe we can learn a lot from the people who need our help.’
Ivana wants to inspire other women to dream big, show them how to overcome fear and give them the confidence they need to succeed in business. She believes that, if you dare to be yourself, dare to follow your passion, dare to take the first step, dare to make the change, you will be surprised.
Member of The Powerful Women’s Network, Ivana’s core message is very clear: Dare to be yourself ‘You are never alone. It is very important that women support each other. Connect, stay in touch, help, listen, be kind, share your (success) story, ask for help if you experience difficulties. You can achieve your big dream as long as you have the courage to put your name on it!’