As a young girl, Milou Knierim (26) wanted to become a fashion designer and would spend hours drawing. But in the end, she chose to go to law school. However, you really can’t deny what’s in your blood and becoming a lawyer wasn’t really what she wanted to do anyway. During her law studies, she left for Istanbul when she was 21 together with a friend with the ambition of setting up her own clothing line. They went there in search of a manufacturer for the clothes that they wanted to make. This was when Daylliance was born.
Despite the success of their clothing brand, Milou Knierim is no longer involved with the brand. Instead, her focus nowadays is on inspiring and motivating other young women who have entrepreneurial ambitions. She enjoys sharing her own experiences with them as a teacher at the University of Applied Sciences Rotterdam and through her own organization: Women Entrepreneur College.
What is your product?
“Women Entrepreneur College is an organization that connects young women, inspires them and teaches them how to go about setting up their own business. Among other things, by organizing lectures wherein three young female entrepreneurs share their personal stories, lessons and successes with a view to inspiring other young women to develop their entrepreneurial skills.”
How did you come up with the idea to set up Women Entrepreneur College?
“When we started Daylliance, we didn’t have much more than a vague plan. Plus we were making our own clothes on a sewing machine. But we managed to turn our hobby into a business by being very enterprising. We found a manufacturer, sold our collection to a dozen shops, had our own showroom in the heart of Amsterdam and Dutch celebrities like Chantal Janzen wore our clothes. We were asked the same question again and again by so many young women: how did you do that? That’s how I came up with the idea to set up the Women Entrepreneur College. To be able to share lessons, successes and experiences so as to inspire other young women to also become entrepreneurial and realize their dreams and ideas.”
What have you learned from your own experiences that you would like to pass on to other new entrepreneurs?
“That you should not give up, instead you should keep following your heart. I didn’t have any training in fashion or business administration, but at the time I totally went for it. Entrepreneurship is sometimes tough, you have to have real perseverance. Of course, you also have to be aware of certain legal and financial aspects, be able to draw up a business plan and have your marketing up to date. I’m now also helping other young women with all of that.”
What hurdle did you have to overcome back then?
“Perfectionism – a characteristic that a lot of women have. Which ultimately doesn’t get you anywhere, because by aiming for perfectionism you only keep putting things off. It is important, especially for young women, to have the self-confidence to move beyond that. Just try it. You won’t know if your business will succeed until you give it a go.”
What would you like to accomplish with your company in the next few years?
“I want to inspire as many women as possible to be entrepreneurial and to fulfill their dreams and ideas. Entrepreneurship, however, also implies that you transform ideas into concrete plans and start working on them. Through my company, I want to help young women develop their entrepreneurial qualities. Support them in becoming more independent and self-confident. So that they eventually start their own businesses or become entrepreneurial leaders at work. This is how I would like to contribute to a more equal society.”