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“As I am working with social and new media a lot, I figured I should try developing my company through them as well.”

Femke Hovinga from Utrecht Netherlands is a student entrepreneur with an awesome marketing company. Hotchpotch Marketing offers creative, unique, and tasteful solutions for small to mid-sized companies needing a unique marketing mix.

Femke is proud to provide companies with food for thought on how to improve their business and making this work on her own while still in school. She hopes to expand and broaden the horizons of Hotchpotch Marketing as well.

MO:
Can you tell us about your background and how it led you to creating Hotchpotch Marketing?

Femke:
Before starting Hotchpotch Marketing, I got a university degree in journalism. I worked for media in diverse countries for a couple of years, before realizing I needed a new challenge. I started a Masters Degree in Marketing Management, and at the same time founded Hotchpotch. This because I’m an entrepreneur: I enjoy myself best when I find new challenges.

MO:
Right now you are working primarily with Dutch companies. Do you want to expand to other areas? If so what is your strategy for doing so?

Femke:
Eventually, yes. I have worked for foreign companies as a journalist before, and enjoyed doing that. However, I realize marketing can be very different when you expand to different countries and cultures. The subject interests me: how can I use the local preferences to market a product or a service the best way possible? For now, there is no strategy to expand. However, I am currently working on an assignment for a Dutch company that wants to learn from foreign companies in the same segment. Approaching them and learning about different international strategies is a great first step.

MO:
Congrats on starting a company while still in school! Why is right now the perfect time for you to be running Hotchpotch Marketing, and how has being a student been advantageous for you as an entrepreneur?

Femke:
It is perfect timing indeed. It gives me the possibility to build up my company and make it sustainable, without the need to make a living of it from day one. Also, the things I study during lectures at my university I can apply to work and the other way around. I think it is a great way to start, because it gives me the freedom to use all my ideas and apply them in the way I like – strengthened by the theoretical knowledge the university provides me with.

MO:
I absolutely LOVE your logo. Did you create this yourself or have any help in the design? We always love hearing how people created snazzy logos and web designs.

Femke:
As I am working with social and new media a lot, I figured I should try developing my company through them as well. I found out about a website called ‘CrowdSpring’(.com), a crowdsourcing website to find designers for websites or logos. I entered a description of Hotchpotch and some ideas on what styles I like, and got 53 submissions. A Filipino girl entered the winning design, which I think is absolutely gorgeous!

MO:
You mentioned that you help offer creative solutions. Can you give us an example of a company you have done marketing for and how you were able to assist them?

Femke:
The strength of Hotchpotch is to see the company’s strengths and propositions from a different point of view. We like to think people know their businesses very well, but just don’t know how to tell their customers all this. Sometimes they need a different style of communicating. This results in magazines implementing different styles of articles and interviews, like a more personal approach that directly communicates to the readers. Another thing is to forget all assumptions and find out what customers really think and want – important when designing a new marketing style. In the end, I usually help companies with rethinking their strategy and then implementing this part by part: this can be different articles for a magazine, but also collaborative engineering on Facebook for a dress of a designer looking for more customer participation.

MO:
What is one thing you wish you would have known before starting Hotchpotch Marketing?

Femke:
The only thing I don’t really like about owning a company, is the financial part. I would have loved to learn a bit more about that before starting, so I could have chosen the best structure. However, I am convinced you learn most by just doing it and improving whilst working. If you don’t hold on to one structure, you are more open to changing and adapting to what is really needed.

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