I’ve always been impressed with people who have the guts to start up their own business. My sister-in-law Jolanda is so cool – I recommend you take a look at what she did, even if you’re not from the Netherlands where she lives.
During 2009, my brother Jakob and his wife Jolanda who live together in Amsterdam, went to Mongolia for a wedding celebration. They spent some time travelling around the country, and when they returned, Jolanda brought with her a fascination of the delicious felt products that were produced by locals in the country.
She has now started a business called Esgii (‘felt’ in Mongolian) and a very nice looking webshop at Esgii.nl importing felt products from Mongolia, produced by individuals and small businesses, using the principles of fair trade. A large part of the population in Mongolia is still living below the line of poverty, and Jolanda’s initiative means that she and her customers will be contributing to a positive development in Mongolia.
It has taken a ton of work on her part, and the thing that carries her is that she is passionate about the products, the way they are produced, and sets high standards for how she wants to move them along.
She currently sets up stands in different markets around Amsterdam, while taking care of the webshop at the same time, so if you live in or near Amsterdam, I can only tell you to go get those gorgeous things. Take a look at the pictures here and her site, to see what you should be expecting. But for now – mostly for the Dutch visitors.
Here’s to hoping she’ll go international before long – I can definitely find a few things that I am adding to my wish list.