The Amsterdam Small Business Network

The Amsterdam Small Business Network

Back in the Fall of 2012, it seems the winds were stirring and blowing big business into, well something a bit smaller. Group founders Sharon Tanish and Marjolijn Hendriksen launched a facebook group that would soon become an online Bi-lingual platform for Amsterdam entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout North Holland. Fast forward to today and the group hosts a whopping and still growing 800 members, monthly meet ups and networking events, workshops, and it’s very first pop up showcasing in just a weeks time!

Amsterdam Small Business Network’s motto is “Shop small, shop local.” Because when you do this, not only are you getting quality and often hand made with love goods, but you are directly supporting individuals and families in your area! Not just a business with no name of face.

It’s funny to think a few years before that I sat just a couple of cubicles away in a large international company from one of the group organizers Sharon Tanish. We didn’t even realize until after we had both had become mothers through another parenting group. As if having a kids isn’t already a big handful, working, and playing house can be quite the juggle that both Sharon and Marjolijn seem to do with effortless grace. Really, we business owners know they work there busy beautiful behinds off! (am I even allowed to say that? Well I just did.)

It seems fitting that they would be my first post on Amsterdam Local loves, not because they were the first local business or thing I enjoyed while here in Amsterdam, but because I respect them so very much. They really practice what they preach. Being a small business owner it’s really important that we support other small business owners by buying, purchasing, and collaborating. There is just something about small businesses, whether it be your favorite diner, tea house, or place you get your nails done, that when you walk in they know you and they give you that special feeling. You know what I’m talking about. At least I hope you do. Really. Can you imagine a world that didn’t have these small gems in our culture? I just love all the variety and Sharon and Marjolijn are constantly stopping by store openings, choosing small businesses to buy quality gifts from. They even hired me to do there first round of portrait photos!

And of course one of my most favorite things to do, which is why I’m sure ASBN will continue to grow and be a success is that they know how to have fun!

 

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Amazing businesses don’t just happen. They aren’t magically born, or appear over night. They are made, build from the ground up. With hard work and effort. Where I come from they sometimes did something called a barn raising where the community would come out and would work together to erect a stable, strong, sturdy barn. ASBN feels a bit like that to me sometimes. No two are exactly alike, but they all need a little guidance in growing into their potential and a community of support. Here are 3 things I have personally learned (even though I previously knew but hadn’t yet clicked) from these 2 very lovely ladies:

1. When you put in the effort, put in the work, when you keep experimenting, learning, testing  you will eventually grow and you will become better. Sometimes we just need a cheerleader or a devil’s advocate to help along the way.

2.Failing is actually learning. Failure mostly happens when you step out into unknown territory and experiment with things – what you learn from this is invaluable. So yeah, failing is sort of awesome! (I think I need to start a club for this)

3.Love thy network. Stop trying to figure out what they can do for you but what you can do for them! (My own personal mantra I repeat in my head before meet ups- it usually gets returned 2 fold)

Want to see a few more photos from our shoot? I’d say “behind” the scenes, but I think that’s enough behind jokes for one post!

And of course don’t forget about their upcoming pop up event! Your’s truly is going to pop by to snap a few photos but has been too busy to set up shop this time around. Hope to bump into you and please say “hi” if you see me there!

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