InHolland University of Applied Sciences in Rotterdam - Bachelor's Degree, Communications
As women, we all know the confidence-boosting feeling that accompanies a visit to the salon.
Romana Dekker, the office and PR manager at Bookies Hair Supplies, does her part to supplement the hair care product chain by making sure salons in Holland are stocked with some of today's hottest brands — from KEVIN. MURPHY to evo haircare. On top of that, she also helps plan and manage events for the company's brands, designs all marketing collateral and serves as the main point of contact for all company PR.
Despite wearing a variety of hats, Romana says she has a good work-life balance. She enjoys spending the "life" part of that equation with her boyfriend in her new home (that she says she was able to buy because of her job). She also has a zest for life and loves enjoying each moment in any way possible.
Surround yourself with people that matter; that support you and have your best interest at heart.
How did you discover your current job?
I actually applied for a different job, at a different company! TONI&GUY hairdressing was looking for a franchise manager. I knew I would never be qualified, but I just loved the industry and the job appealed to me, so I applied. I didn’t hear anything for a few weeks, but then I got a call saying they knew another company that would be interested and asked if I would consider the opportunity. This is how I ended up at Bookies Hair Supplies, the distributor in Holland for brands like KEVIN.MURPHY, evo haircare and Sakura scissors.
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
My day is quite often hectic, but also very diverse. We're a small company, with three people outside in the field doing sales and three women in the office. I'm in direct contact with the owner of the company and the sales team. My assistant and I run the daily tasks, which includes answering calls, taking orders from salons and answering emails. Since we're a sales company, this is our core business.
We take pride in the fact that we're an independent company in the hairdressing industry with the best brands of this time. We buy our products in Australia and the U.S. and I personally make sure our products get to our warehouse in time. Together, with the owner of the company, we keep in contact with other European distributors, helping each other out whenever we can.
One of the best parts of my job is organizing events for our brands. In March, we had a great show for KEVIN.MURPHY here in Rotterdam with a 100 hairdressers, and in November, we have another event for evo haircare. Education is key to selling our brands correctly.
At the moment, I'm also the interim education manager for KEVIN.MURPHY. I make sure all our educators (freelancers) have the right information and are booked for the right courses. This helps our brands develop further. Our products are professional and they need education!
I'm also the editor of the websites bookies.nl (new website coming soon), kevinmurphy.nl and evohairproducts.com (also in Dutch, but only available when you're in Holland). We make sure our social media for KEVIN.MURPHY and evo haircare is updated daily and that all questions and remarks get responses. One of the other things I love to do is design folders, brochures, flyers, deal sheets and our monthly newsletter. I took this on as a hobby and now I'm able to do it professionally.
Last but not least, I'm the person in contact with journalists and magazine editors to inform them about our brands.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
The most rewarding part about my job is definitely the experience. I'm a person who loves to learn every single day. I love that this company started out small, but is growing fast -- and I'm growing with it.
The most challenging? Sales reps often want things to happen right away and not according to the rules and structure that the company has set out. This can be challenging, but we try to keep the client’s interest at heart.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
Nothing, to be honest. My working hours are quite normal and I can spend lots of time with my family and friends.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
My mom always says, "We’re learning all the time," and it’s true; I am learning every day. The owner of the company has been in this industry for more than 25 years and he gives me the best advice on a daily basis.
The biggest lesson I've learned so far is to not take anything personally. It’s pure business and you'll need a thick skin in this industry. If someone is yelling at me, it’s not personal; they're talking about my actions or about the company in general, not me as a person. This only makes your actions better and it makes you stronger personally.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
Sales reps are quite often men. They want things done their way. And as a woman, it’s hard to make sure things are done properly, yet still done to the structure the company has laid out. This often leads to disagreements and it can be hard to stand your ground.
Who are your role models?
My mom. She's an office manager as well and she works extremely hard.
Kelly Cutrone, founder of Public Revolution. Her books inspire me. She’s a fantastic woman and her work ethic is insane.
Beyonce. When I hear her music, it makes me feel powerful.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Never say you can’t do something. If you don’t know something, ask people who do. You can learn from them! Surround yourself with people that matter; that support you and have your best interest at heart.
What advice do you have for women who want to be in your industry?
Aim high, but always know what you're worth. Don’t overestimate yourself when you've just graduated; you'll learn a lot more when you start working. Allow yourself this time as well. Also, apply to every job you find in the field where you want to work. Whether you’re qualified or not, who knows what other jobs they have!
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I see myself in a higher position with more staff and more responsibility -- but never forgetting where I started.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Never say you can’t do something; you’re a lot stronger than you think.
You can follow me on Twitter: @Romana_Dekker