Who am I
I am me, an open-minded, creative soul mixed with some sarcasm, philosophy, endless imagination, and a bit of craziness.
How I got here
I guess it all started on the day I first held a pencil as a toddler. I just loved drawing as a child, and still do. Even to the point that I was drawing on the walls that just got refurbished with new wallpaper. My parents weren't happy about it. So ever since, there were always art tools at my disposal. Whenever I wasn't painting or drawing, I was building castles and entire cities of Lego.
While growing up, my parents saw I had real talent; so did my art teachers at school, they almost always gave me an 8/10 or above. So I was allowed to go and study visual and architectural arts. That same year I started drawing on the walls again, this time around my parents even helped, it was an art project on the wall of my bedroom. Super fun to do, although art school wasn't... Sadly no one warned me about art history, 4 hours of French, and 38 hours of school in a week. I wasn't prepared for that. Yes, I flunked and had to redo the third year of my secondary education.
That's where my design career actually started; I switched schools and started studying graphics media. The real fun began, learning Photoshop, Illustrator, and back then Quark Xpress. While also learning to operate old printing presses. It's no surprise to anyone if I say I didn't like school that much anymore at the age of sixteen. Here in Belgium, it's the age we're allowed to drink, enter discotheques, and parties. It kind of appealed to me more then school did. And party I did, while dangling between the light and dark side that comes with it. I quickly went from the geek to the popular kid you could say. I started playing around with music back then and even got booked at some parties and a lot of home parties.
Before I knew it, I was 21, crazy right? Since I dropped out of school I didn't have much of a chance of finding a (design) job. With that in mind, I knew I needed more education first. I signed up to study desktop publishing for a full year at VDAB Turnhout. Did several internships along the way and got hired at a local print-shop. Ever since I made designing a real hobby, I kept creating all sorts of things in Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, etc. Watched a ton of content and tutorials to learn everything there is to know about those programs. It also kick-started my creativity somehow, since my teachers always said I had a more technical talent.
After working a few years at the print shop, I missed the fun of designing and seeing the wauw on people's faces that I had during internships as a designer. I knew I didn't have a degree, so finding a design job would still be difficult. For the next two and a half years, I went back to school. Finished it with glory and got my diploma in graphic design. While I was at it, I also gathered some new skills like photography, motion graphics, and 3D modeling.
When I was about to graduate, faith struck me down you could say. I took a trip to the local hospital because of a pneumothorax (collapse) of my left lung. It was quite painful if you ask me... I had to recover for several months, and even to this day, I still feel its effects. I guess the saying of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is quite fitting. During my recovery, I had plenty of time to think about life and how quickly things can change and take a U-turn. That's when I realized I would rather like to be my own boss than an order taker. I'm a free spirit, so I need my freedom. I got my degree in business management, with self-study, at the end of that same year. The next thing I did was start-up my own business in direct sales. I came into contact with a collective of other entrepreneurs that worked together as Brand Ambassadors. So that's how I became a Brand Ambassador of several brands. Even though it wasn't a creative job (yet), I knew I needed those sales skills as an entrepreneur.
This is where it all started with Pixel Brand; it quickly became general knowledge in the office that I'm a designer. I did some free work for my fellow entrepreneurs to build up my portfolio with more recent work. Sadly I couldn't keep up with my tax payments since I was full-time self-employed. In September 2018, I had to close my books.
I didn't quit if that's what you're wondering. I actually went back to the drawing board. Brainstorming about ideas and what I could and should do next. At that time, I discovered The Futur's Youtube channel, I loved their content and took it to heart. I bought some of their courses about branding, case studies, proposals, and more. That's where it clicked, and I discovered how solving branding problems feels natural to me. To delve in deep finding the roadblocks in a company and providing the solution. To quickly find the underlying issues by asking the right questions.
Thanks to my background in design, self-study in sales, marketing, branding, and my natural ability of problem-solving. I became one of the few Freelance Brand Strategist in Belgium.