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22.09.2020

THE PEOPLE BEHIND ESSENTIEL ANTWERP

RUTH COLLIN
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Meet Ruth Collin, who shares her journey from studying in London and New York City to being a Business and Legal Affairs Director at Essentiel Antwerp.
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What was your first job / beginning of your career?

Ruth — It all started after finishing law school when I landed my first real job as a legal counsel at a multi-national company. This was a great first experience and by working across different departments, the desire to increase my all-around business knowledge became stronger. I wanted to learn the ins and outs of a company and decided to do an additional master's in international business.



When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in Fashion?

Ruth — Just like many, many others, I have always been fascinated by the fashion industry. The runways, celebrity outfits, New York, the intriguing life of designers. But even more than that the competitive and creative sides of a fashion business spoke to me. I decided to emerge myself in the fashion capitals and choose London and New York as the basis to do my master’s in international business with a focus on fashion and luxury.

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What sparked your interest to the Essentiel Antwerp brand?

Ruth — I loved New York and was looking for a position in fashion there. However, the NYC fashion market is highly saturated and there are some real obstacles such as the work permit. Through the Belgian-American Chamber of Commerce I met someone who introduced me to Essentiel Antwerp.
The Essentiel Antwerp story is quite unique, being a true Belgian based brand that was able to succeed in international markets, and I loved to be a part of that.


What is it like working at Essentiel Antwerp?

Ruth — We call ourselves a beautiful chaos for a reason. Everyone is involved in so many things and we get very excited by new opportunities and dreams. While it's really important for us to have this open mind, we still have to keep everything organized and structured.
At Essentiel Antwerp, we consider ourselves as a family. We work together very closely, with a lot of respect. We always try to stay true to the brand that we are so passionate about and despite our rapid growth and the competitive, fast-paced industry, that will always remain the heart of the company.


What does a typical day at work look like for you?

Ruth — Being responsible for business and legal affairs, I am involved in many aspects of the operations of the company which makes my job very versatile. Daily I'm in close collaboration with all the departments, from sales and finance to marketing and styling team. The first days of the week mostly start with lots of meetings and calls, and the end of the week gives the opportunity to follow up on these conversations and get some other work done, such as drafting and reviewing agreements. It mostly comes down to trying to understand the needs of the company and its founders as good as possible and translating these into good agreements. One of the things I love most is the opportunity to be involved with the future plans of the company and working together closely to achieve these.

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How do you keep up with the ever-changing laws in fashion?

Ruth — I am trying to keep up as much as possible by reading about business and fashion law, but I am lucky to work with very good law firms.



How does Essentiel Antwerp match your personal style?

Ruth — My wardrobe mostly exists of soft colours and black with a pop of colour here and there, and that's where I found my match with Essentiel Antwerp. But even my more toned down pieces are Essentiel Antwerp… let's say 95% of my closet is Essentiel Antwerp!



Like you mentioned, Essentiel is, as the brand name reveals, based in Antwerp. What are your favorite insider tips on the city?

Ruth — It took me only two weeks to move to Belgian's fashion capital, Antwerp, after I started working at Essentiel Antwerp, which is almost 6 years ago now. Recently I moved into my apartment in the south part of the city ('t Zuid), and I love being in the middle of it all. I have my favorite spots as my neighbors, such as Pilar for coffee or apero, Butchers for lunch, Ferrier for pasta and the Hopper for late drinks. Other favorites are Camino, the vegan Camion, Bar Bel and the Walvis in Zurenborg and there are always new places popping up!

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