Your name/about yourself?
Name: Jessica De Block
Instagram: @jessicadeblock & @antwerpavenue
My name is Jessica De Block and I am the founder & designer at Antwerp Avenue. Antwerp Avenue is a tech candy label that sells unique & very protective iPhone cases and laptop sleeves handdrawn or designed by me. Antwerp Avenue’s main goal is to protect your darling gadgets with beautiful designs. The millennial, empowered young woman who loves her some colors shops at Antwerp Avenue.
I started Antwerp Avenue at the age of 22 (1.5 years ago) while I was in my Master year of Strategic Communications at the University of Antwerp. After graduation, I started to work on my dream full time and haven’t stopped ever since. Antwerp Avenue has since been featured by Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Allure, HelloGiggles and HerCampus, and has had collabs with a.o. Maybelline.
Why did you get into that?
I used to make oil paintings on canvas and uploaded them to my Facebook. My facebook friends really seemed to like them and one day started bidding on this one painting of mine. I was overwhelmed! One person won the bid and I was so happy for them. But at the same time I felt a little bad for the ones who were bidding but didn’t get it in the end. So I decided to print this painting onto some phone cases and they were a huge hit on my facebook!
Since it was such a big success I decided to google and learn all about running a business (and running a business as a student). About 8-9 months later I started my online store with tons of new designs, drawings and paintings on antwerpavenue.com. In the meantime, my online store is going really well and I also sell to retail stores, which is so exciting!
Name 3 words to describe you best?
Persistent, efficiency-obsessed & (overly) confident.
Which females influence you the most
My best friend Amy from fastforwardamy.com (and @fastforwardamy) who is the most entrepreneurial, smart and business-savvy woman I know. And my all-time gurus Tina Fey & Beyonce.
What struggles have you over come and how?
My toughest struggle ever is actually continuing to be an obstacle and I haven’t yet overcome it. And it’s the balance. To be very honest, I am a workaholic. My job is my baby, and I don’t see it going in any different direction any time soon. But that is not the main problem. It’s the fact that you are expected to be at so many places at the same time spend quality time with your boyfriend, see your family, text your friends back on time, eat healthy, go to the gym, and then.. relax. And you can reverse the list to know what gets skipped first: relaxation. And let that be one of the most important things in life, but probably the one you can ignore the longest. Personally, I have to be very careful with this. And I think many entrepreneurs will agree with me on that. The way I’m trying to overcome it? By actively choosing to relax whenever I have a free moment instead of anxiously filling it up with work ‘that needs to be done’ (but can actually wait ‘til at least Monday). If you’re a workaholic like me, allow yourself to relax from time to time! (Ahum, I should practice what I preach too)
How do you stay positive and focused?
This is not a big problem for me. When I love something, it comes naturally to me to stay on track and stay motivated. But what does increase my focus and motivation is surrounding myself with uplifting people. Whether it be great & fun friends or likeminded entrepreneurial people. The latter is actually very important to stay focused.
Any words of advice for future girl bosses following in your footsteps?
My best advice is to keep an eye out for my current and future Instagram posts on ‘How to: Girl Boss’ in which I give my best advice to entrepreneurs-to-be but also to people who are ambitious in other parts of their lives. I’m trying my very best to make these posts as actionable as possible. My Instagram handle is @jessicadeblock (instagram.com/jessicadeblock)
Be you. Unapologetically. That is so much easier said than done. Sometimes you feel like you're too short, too tall, too thin, too fat, too dumb, too nerdy, too this, too that. And you wish you were just like everyone else. But what if I told you, whatever you sometimes feel most uncomfortable about, is the exact thing that makes you you? Try to see it as something "extra". Something that sets you apart from other people, in a good way. Own it, you got this. And if you ever feel uncomfortable, talk about it. Even with me, I'm open to helping you feel better about yourself, if that even makes the slightest difference. Be you, unapologetically you.
What is one quote you stand by?
“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide – overthinking it. You have to go down the chute”