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03.02.2021

THE PEOPLE BEHIND ESSENTIEL ANTWERP

SOPHIE HENDRIKS
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Meet our ever enthusiastic and passionate Marketing and PR intern, Sophie Hendriks. Read all about her move to the big city of Antwerp to experience the world of Essentiel Antwerp and its beautiful chaos from up close.
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What are you studying and where?

Sophie — I am studying fashion & branding at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) in the Netherlands. This study path combines the creative and the commercial side of the fashion industry. Today, I believe that these two aspects go hand-in-hand and are necessary in this fast-moving and competitive environment. While this educational trajectory normally takes 4 years, I wanted to gain some practical experience before graduating. That is when I decided to take an extra semester to do a six-month internship and now I am back to school to complete my fifth and final year.



Let's dive deeper in your experience in the fashion field. Can you tell us what you've learned so far?

Sophie — I consider myself lucky to have acquired a lot of knowledge about the fashion industry in a very short amount of time. I have learned that this industry is made of contradictions: it changes constantly and you need to stay relevant but at the same time, you need to be consistent and recognizable. It is all about working very hard and having fun at the same time. I have also experienced how small the fashion-world is. Many people know each other and getting and making connections and maintaining them is crucial.

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"When having drinks on a terrace in Antwerp last summer, I saw Inge (co-founder & creative director) passing by and in a delusion of enthusiasm, I approached her to ask if she needed an intern."
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How did you land your internship at Essentiel Antwerp?

Sophie — Well, that's a funny story. I have always been inspired by the brand and having a work experience abroad before graduating was on my bucket list. After most of my tropical plans had been ruined by the pandemic and I had stayed home obediently, I went out for dinner with friends in Antwerp this summer and coincidentally I ended up at the Bourla, a restaurant opposite the Essentiel Antwerp headquarters. After sipping my first glass of wine, I saw Inge (co-founder & creative director) passing by and in a delusion of enthusiasm, I approached her to ask if she needed an intern. She gave my contact details to the marketing team so that they would get in touch with me. A few days later, I had a virtual interview with Charles & Astrid (marketing, PR & communication managers) and then, a couple of weeks later, I was starting my internship in the vibrant city of Antwerp. In retrospect it was a very spontaneous action and perhaps not that professional in the beginning, but luckily it worked out very well.



Working for Essentiel Antwerp meant moving to Antwerp, so you really were enthousiastic about the brand. What sparked your interest in the brand?

Sophie — Oh yes, I have always been excited about the brand. I even remember the first time I walked past one of the stores in Antwerp with my mother. It directly caught my attention and I stopped in front of the shop window to admire the flamboyant explosion of colors. I was also impressed when I found out that this Belgian brand managed to have an enormous global reach.



What's it like to work at Essentiel Antwerp?

Sophie — The passionate, creative, and fun team at the Essentiel Antwerp office certainly plays a lot in the overall experience of an intern at Essentiel Antwerp. Everyone is very welcoming, working towards the same goal and the departments are well connected. You are directly embarked on the brand’s “beautiful chaos”. Tasks are very varied and as soon as you demonstrate some sense of autonomy and responsibility, you are fully considered as one of the players of the team.
Before I started the internship, I feared that I would not have the full Essentiel Antwerp experience due to the current situation. Regardless of not being able to be at the office every day, I really felt the family feeling of the team. I also think that now is a unique time to work for the brand, as I believe that Essentiel Antwerp is more relevant than ever. Everybody can use some sparkles, color and fun during these darker times. Essentiel Antwerp’s designs, communication, team and stores are all about that and I’m so happy I got to experience that.

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"The passionate, creative, and fun team at the Essentiel Antwerp office certainly plays a lot in the overall experience of an intern at Essentiel Antwerp."
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What does the job of a Marketing & PR intern at Essentiel Antwerp entail?

Sophie — The job of a Marketing and PR intern is very diverse and I really enjoyed that. The main goal of my internship was to support the Marketing and PR managers, Astrid and Charles. On one hand on the PR side, I was maintained the press showroom at the HQ and help Belgian stylists when they needed to do some selection for shootings or to dress celebrities. On top of that, I was in daily contact with foreign PR agencies that represent the brand outside of Belgium. I provided them with imagery, samples, information about the collections and support in finding the right influencers for the brand and coordinate their gifting. On top of supporting on all these operational tasks, I really got an overview on how a PR department runs at a fashion company which was very enriching. Seeing the result of this work in a magazine or worn on someone on social media is gratifying. On the other hand, the marketing front, I helped preparing newsletters, worked on content for the different digital channels and came up with social media captions on a weekly basis. Finally, I assisted on all photo shoots during my internship which was really something I loved to do and learned a lot from!

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"I always go all-out with my outfits and that’s exactly what Essentiel Antwerp stands for."
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What's your personal style? How do you find it back in Essentiel Antwerp?

Sophie — I am in love with bright, extravagant colors and a mix of patterns and materials. I like to play with different styles and combine comfortable clothes with high heels or large earrings, for example. Now, during the pandemic, comfort has become important for many but I prefer to make an extra effort every day, even when going the to the supermarket. I always go all-out with my outfits. And that’s exactly what Essentiel Antwerp stands for: Battle boredom, being your pink pill and most of all, fun and surprising.



What advice would you give to other students looking for a way into the fashion world?

Sophie — To go for what you believe in and not only follow the path that has already been chosen for you (for instance by your school). If you are passionate about what you do and are always open to learn, you will enjoy what you do every day.

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