Updated: Nov 5, 2021
At just 20, Ambar de Ruijter started her online store in October 2020. She is currently an economics student at Tilburg University. Before making a big decision to become a young entrepreneur, she needed to make a study choice.
" I like numbers, but not enough to study math."
During a conversation with her father, she decided to meet up with some of his friends who work in the economic field. After hearing their experiences, she decided to choose economics since the study is broad. During her second trimester when she started to struggle, she thought "What am I doing here?". She noticed that her classmates were all about books, but she wanted to maintain a balance by having fun as well! With the support of her friends and pep talks she later realized that she made the right decision.
How it all started
"It is funny that I am studying economics because I always felt that I should be in an art school."
Around the age of 12, she was always busy making arts & crafts. While watching a YouTube video she came across one of someone working with wires. This inspired her to go to their storage room, "I went looking for wires to start making rings." Her father brought her to a craft store where she fell in love for the first time with the toolsets, "I do not know where my inspiration comes from, but after 30 minutes I had already made something."
The decision to start her business was because she desired more financial freedom. With a regular job her availability would have been limited, but as an entrepreneur she makes the rules and schedule. The next big question was...
"What am I going to name this?"
Creativity comes to Amber naturally when designing her jewelry, but when it comes to jewelry names her head goes blank. When she decided to start her online store she was unsure of her brand's name. Her decision to name her online store 'Ambmon Design' is because most people know her by the name Ambmon due to her Instagram name, "The name is a combination of Ambar and my best friend Monique."
How it's going
''The thing with small business owners is that it becomes your whole life."
Most entrepreneurs make their hobby their business to start earning revenue. Now she prioritizes the whole process behind making her jewelry, "I can spend the whole day making earrings, necklaces or rings. However, as a one-woman show, it is hard to manage everything from production to promoting the brand. The steps behind the scenes look like alarms reminding her to post her content.
WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT GOALS? "For now keep growing my brand, because I am always asking myself whether I want to keep my brand small or go all out."
HOW DO YOU BALANCE SCHOOL AND YOUR BUSINESS? "Honest answer, I do not. I try to work on school assignments in the morning and the rest of the day making jewelry; still figuring it out."
IF YOU HAD 24 HOURS A DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? "Right now I have enough time, but when everything opens up again I would love to sleep more."
One thing Ambar would have done differently at the start of her business is the packaging. For shipping, she bought 100 big boxes, 100 small boxes, and 100 envelopes; until this day the big boxes are collecting dust. It would have saved her money if she started using envelopes first. This error got her some hate on Tiktok when she shared a video of her doing her packaging, ''Months later I figured out that they were right. I did not need to use boxes."
WHAT DO YOU STRUGGLE WITH IN YOUR BUSINESS? "The challenging part of having a business is pricing my items, deciding my hourly rate, and figuring out taxes."
A glance at the future
#Localssupportinglocals can become a supportive community here in the Netherlands. Most locals started their business here since there are more resources than in Aruba. She believes if we come together as a community we can inspire others to take the risk to start their own.
"It would be a push for people to do something creative to earn money and learn from the experience."
The future of Ambmon Designs lays in a physical store, but for now, she is experimenting with different materials such as polymer clay and working on new collections. Her journey just started last year in October thanks to her mother, who she is very thankful for pushing her to take the next step. "I am timid about my jewelry, which is why it took me some time to take the risk." But at the end of the day, it is all part of the game and she thinks every part is worth it!