Meet Aranka van der Voorden, founder of activewear label Jogha and fitness website Fitgirlcode. At just 29 years old, this Dutch girlboss has started 2 successful businesses, has become an motivational speaker and a real inspiration for young entrepreneurs. We are incredibly proud to be the first ever retailers for Jogha, as we adore the brand and the ethos behind it, so we spoke to Aranka about her vision, her inspiration and much, much more! Make sure you check out our exclusive video we created with Aranka and citizenM hotel to showcase the gorgeous new Jogha collection.
You’ve started 2 successful businesses before the age of 30 – did you always have an entrepreneurial streak growing up?
I did always try to make money in some way. By selling old toys and later by making jewellery and selling it at school. I never did think about becoming an entrepreneur, I didn’t know any entrepreneurs and it wasn’t on the options list at my school for a promising career. My dad always knew I would start my own business and I remember him saying that I would be better off not working for a boss and becoming the boss myself.
What is the best part of having your own business? And the worst?
Best part is that you can decide everything yourself and that you can quickly put things in motion. Worst part is also that you are the responsible one for everything that goes wrong. And when you grow, the impact of what can go wrong grows as well. I think with starting a business all the pros are indirectly also a con. Like the fact that you love what you do so much that many times you are not even considering it to be work. Which can lead to you working 24/7 and this is not something that is too great for your health and social life.
You are the epitome of a real #girlboss, what advice would you give to budding female entrepreneurs?
That is very sweet of you to say. I think I’m valuable for the beginning stage of the company because I have “survived” that part. So I can give most of my advice there. I’m still learning how to deal with the running business and sustainable growth. My advice: Say no, learn to prioritise and don’t look back at the things you could have done. Stop making excuses and think in possibilities only. Follow up on people, take your business seriously from day 1; treat your business like its already worth a fortune because might as well be!
Although this trend is changing fast, less than 1 in 3 entrepreneurs is female – why do you think that is?
I think that this is so interesting. My graduation Thesis was about the gender gap in communications. And what I learned was that there are so many factors that influence this. My professional opinion about why there is a high growth in female entrepreneurship is because of the information age and women are clearly very skilled to set up their own business online. I do think that there will always be more men working than women and also more male entrepreneurs because some women have the opportunity to choose to be a full time mom (which is the toughest job in the world). However, because women can take on so much I believe that many will run an online business and take care of their kids at the same time and be successful at it. And I am feminist enough to say that this is not something a lot of men will be able to do.
What has been your biggest business highlight to date? Do you have any goals you would love to achieve?
We have so many highlights from Kayla Itsines wearing Jogha to Cosmopolitan in NY doing a photoshoot with Jogha items. International growth is our main focus and one of our goals is to have resellers in every country we now sell online to. Which is… a lot!
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by entrepreneur stories about either success or failure. I believe there is more to learn from a company that failed than one that is successful. I don’t really believe in a company where everything is going fine, then you are not taking enough risks if you ask me.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I will never work in a company for a boss ever again. That is the only thing I’m sure of. I hope that Jogha will be a worldwide corporation and that I am more involved with the creative part of the business. I know where my strengths and weaknesses are. In 5 years’ time, I’d want to do only the things I love and I am good at, so others can take care of the rest.
What’s the one item every woman should have in her wardrobe?
Apart from sportswear that makes you feel like a total badass my basics are: Blazer, high waist jeans, sneakers (if you are short like me, platform sneakers), classic t-shirt, silk blouse, cropped tuxedo trousers, Chelsea boots, knit cardigan, LBD, turtle neck and leather pants.
What are your style tips for dressing to the gym?
I always wear one of our reversible jackets to the gym. I’m always cold and this jacket is also suitable to workout in, because of the stretch and breathable fabrics. Underneath I have my muscle tee and racerback bra. Our bras are so pretty but I don’t work out without a top over it. The muscle tee shows the sides of the bra which I always match to my tights.
What’s your favourite healthy snack?
I love banana bread! You can find my recipe here.
What do you indulge in on a cheat day?
I love fries so much with mayonnaise! I try not to have cheat days because the next day I feel terrible. So if I know I’m going to be eating a lot of carbs (like a burger with fries), I make sure I’m not also carbing up in the morning and afternoon. It’s like a pre-balance.
What’s your workout of choice?
Vinyasa yoga is now my favorite workout. But a few months ago I would have said crossfit. I like to do new things and am not someone who can hold a routine for very long.
How do you motivate yourself when you don’t feel like working out?
I have a workout buddy and this really works for me. I cancel on myself all the time but not on her. She is a dear friend and I don’t see her that much so working out together is also quality time and you don’t cancel on quality time with your friend.
What do you do to relax?
I love watching series like Grey’s Anatomy, Suits and Modern Family. When I am stressed I take a bath and watch one of my shows. I don’t think I could be more relaxed than that.
What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
That when you make a decision you should always make sure you are happy about that decision. because that way at least 1 person is happy. I tend to think of everyone besides myself first and end up disappointing the person that needs to be the happiest about this choice, me.
If you could choose a superpower, what would it be, and why?
That is a really tough one. I would love to think of a power that would bring world peace. I really don’t need anything, but the world does. Maybe I would choose the power to travel through time, so I can show world leaders that what they are doing now is not going to work. I would also use it to save the polar bears, it really gets to me when I think they will be extinct in 30 years.