Evelien Rijpma completed the International Master in Marketing at EADA in June of 2019. After graduation, she and her friend Guusje van Kreij launched The Orange Guide, a travel agency that provides unique experiences in Valencia, Spain. We interviewed Evelien to learn more about how is it like to be an entrepreneur and her fascinating project.
How did you come up with the idea of The Orange Guide?
Guusje and I studied Hospitality Management during our undergraduate degree at the Hotelschool The Hague, in Amsterdam. We have worked together on many projects and had always talked about starting our own hospitality business one day.
The first time that we seriously talked about the idea was after a trip to Seville in 2016. We realised that consumers want to spend their income on memorable events, and we began to dream about creating a travel agency that would provide authentic and unique Spanish experiences.
By the end of my master at EADA, I knew that my long-time desire to build my own hospitality company couldn’t wait any longer. Together with Guusje, we decided to just do it!
How would you describe The Orange Guide?
The Orange Guide creates the ultimate Valencia experience, tailored to each client’s needs. We take our clients to a different Valencia; from luxury transport to relaxed accommodation, and from unique lunch and dinner experiences to original activities.
We distinguish ourselves by endless knowledge of the most exceptional places, both in the city and in the stunning surroundings of Valencia, undiscovered and untouched by tourism.
What were the biggest challenges to starting your own business and how did you overcome them?
Just the start in general turned out to be quite a challenge! Considering that we are not from Spain, we weren’t familiar with the procedures, waiting times and business culture, so it took us a while to understand all the burocracy.
Another challenge was the high amount of request we received right after the launch of the company- we started in the high season of tourism and we had no choice but operating immediately.
Those first weeks were exhausting but incredibly exciting: every request brought us to meet new partners and get to know unique experiences.
What advice would you offer to young professionals who want to launch their own business?
I used to think that I should gain more experience and knowledge before starting my own business. I have now learned, however, that there isn’t a point in which you will feel sufficiently ‘prepared’. Therefore, I believe that learning by doing is a good motto for starting your own business. Make sure to gather the right people around you and have faith and confidence in your plan. And more than anything else: enthusiasm is key! It will affect the people around you: investors, partners and clients.
What knowledge learned at EADA did you apply in this project?
I learnt how to analyse the market and act upon findings, which I did before starting the company. I also learned to consider every single consequence of each decision you make, i.e. to always think 3 steps ahead. Even though the future remains unpredictable, it is crucial to think of possibilities in order to mitigate risk and grasp golden chances. Studying the International Master in Marketing at EADA has been an amazing and fulfilling experience!
Could you summarise what EADA has meant to you in one sentence?
EADA has broadened my view, boosted my confidence and given the final ‘push’ towards the entrepreneurial road.