The ABC afternoon started off with Debbie Graafmans, the founder of Trommelvlies, a silent disco organizing company. Debbie is a graduated photographer and her partner has always been self-employed. Her partner worked in both lighting and construction. He had a big accident involving his eyes and therefore was home a lot. This made Debbie question on whether she ever wanted to become self-employed herself. After all, it’s a pretty big risk and once you get in an accident, your income is no longer guaranteed. Our second speaker was Frederik Theuwis, the director of Hall of Fame 013. Hall of Fame 013 is a place where all kinds of cultural events are organized. From skateboarding tournaments to food truck festivals. The Hall of Fame 013, was an initiative that started about 20 years ago. Back then there was no location and it was still allowed to squat in a building. There was a group of youngsters who wanted to make music, dance, skateboard etc… And so, they started a small club in a closed down swimming pool, they had the support of the local government to do this and so that’s how Hall of Fame 013 kind of started.
The story of Debbie Graafmans
After Debbie had graduated, she started to look for a job. She applied for many jobs, revolving around different tasks, but she realized she did not like any of them. She also got fired from jobs during her two pregnancies, and was told she did not work hard enough. She did not recognize herself in this and always thought of herself as a fairly ambitious person. After her last job, where she had to leave because the company saw her as too ambitious, she decided enough was enough. Someone had reached out to her and said that if she ever wanted to start for herself that he wanted to help her. And so she did, she put aside all of the insecurities she had before about being self-employed. Being able to really figure everything out for yourself and being able to live off of your own entrepreneurial venture gave Debbie such a rush. She considers becoming self-employed really as putting a mirror in front of yourself, you really get to know yourself. She talked about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and how she handles everything. ‘When losing a big customer, you have to give yourself a day to mourn and then pick yourself up and move on’.
The story of Frederik Theuwis
Within the year, the local government of Tilburg saw an opportunity with the group of youngsters. However, the pool wasn’t the right kind of place to keep this club. So they searched for a new location. Eventually the longest place the youngsters could stay was the chocolate candy factory. Frederik Theuwis did a master’s in organizational psychology in Tilburg. He chose Tilburg specifically, because there was more space to do other things next to his studies. He studied his bachelor in Maastricht and during this time, he also founded a club for creative students who enjoy organizing different events. He noticed during his master’s his study was mainly focused on commercial companies and no organizations. During this time he also was opening up his personal space to organize cultural events at his home. He wondered ‘Why is it never considered from an academic point, to be an organization, instead of a commercial company? It is always seen more as a hobby.’ So Frederik went on to work for multiple organizations, each in different fields in which he learned a lot, while still making enough money to live on. Eventually he came into Hall of Fame 013, where he is the director today. His message to us is to also do stuff that gives us life experience rather than just money.
Even though the turnout was a little bit less, due to COVID-19 and the change of plans, we really had a fun afternoon. We got to talk to all of you and had an intimate event where we got to be inspired by two great speakers. Our next ABC Night will take place in February and will be announced soon. So stay tuned! We wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and can’t wait to see you again in 2022!