Most people would describe me as creative, in my head I am always thinking about innovation. As soon as I finish something, I'm already thinking about how to make it better or different next time. This way I keep looking for new challenges and develop myself further. I know no limits in terms of content, functionality, color, or form, but I always work with a perfectionist eye. My specialty is versatility, because routine is deadly for my creativity.
May I introduce myself? Daniëlle Looije, born and raised in Westland (1988, Naaldwijk). Art by Daan is my business, although it feels different when I get up from bed in the morning and sit next to my cat on the couch with a cup of tea. Because I feel blessed to do what I love every day. Creating!
But it started differently…
It took some time before I fully dared to follow my heart ❤️. Specifically, two burnouts and a depression. After my last burnout, I was done with it.
Driven and creative I have always been. In fact, when I was in sixth grade, I made jewelry from fishing wire (because I was allergic to nickel-free jewelry). The whole class wanted these jewelry too so I made an order list... the entrepreneur in me was awake.
Anyway, like every parent, my parents also wanted me to do something serious. "Something you can make money with, because that can't be done with creativity." So, on my mother's advice, I went to study economics to become an executive secretary. I stumbled upon graphic design and threw myself into it completely. Why don't you go to the Graphic Lyceum? But by the time that came to mind, I had thrown myself into it for so long that I didn't feel like doing it for FOUR MORE YEARS (haha). Eventually, I wanted to go to the teacher training and do social work, to get from the MBO to the HBO... I lasted three weeks with that. What the fuck was I thinking? I stopped school and started looking for something else and stumbled upon the "Living & Design" program where I could enroll. It was actually a blessing in disguise, the program was brand new and I could almost fill it in myself. I completed this program and then I had a diploma that said "Environment Designer" 🤨. That didn't seem like a function I could do anything with. So I enrolled at the Hague University of Applied Sciences to study Communication & Multimedia...
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During my school years, I spent all of my free time learning graphic programs and I had already received the first requests for website design. I was also working 15 hours a week at a snack bar where I met entrepreneurs... "Hey, just go to the Chamber of Commerce and start your own business." Well, why not? So at the age of 19, I walked into the Chamber of Commerce, filled out my information, paid €40 and walked out as a director 😎. The "birth" of my advertising agency.
I worked hard, in no time I had all sorts of skills under my belt. Administration, making quotes, project management, acquisition and all the other things that "came with it." I became very good at it, but I ran myself over and that's when the man with the hammer 🔨 appeared. He knocked me down and suddenly I was sitting at home with a burnout and no income... Great self-employment...
But I bounced back and wanted to be even better than I already was. (Well, sometimes you have to bump your head twice on the same stone). It went well for a while. I met everyone's (and my own) high expectations, I did project management, time management... But I got tired of it. I faced increasing resistance to wearing make-up on my face every day, the finest clothes, the highest heels. People who wanted to fill up my schedule and thought they could claim my time because "I was paid for it". It was a hard world where one was even more fake than the other. I myself also... And sure enough, there he came with his hammer 🔨.
AT ALL COSTS, THE COURSE HAD TO CHANGE
I decided I wanted to change the course completely, to go back to myself and follow my heart ❤️. I wanted to live off my art, even though everyone (yes, everyone) warned me that you can't live off art. But as you may have read, I'm not too shy to take on a challenge, so I did. With my marketing background, I came up with a kind of "merchandise". I stumbled upon jewelry with photos and thought, if photos can be in there, so can art. That's how Art by Daan was born. But it took a different turn than I had in mind.
I STARTED LIKING JEWELRY
Because those jewelry... they stole my heart. Often when I create something, I am so enthusiastic about it that I even want to put it on my nightstand when I go to sleep. That's where jewelry proved to be a perfect solution... But damn, I still had that allergy I talked about earlier. Nothing is impossible, so I started looking for alternatives, because how can you sell jewelry if you can't wear it yourself? One thing led to another, I bought pendants and put my self-made stones in them... but I wanted more. To make more myself, to make my creations even more personal... So a logical step was a jewelry making course.
THE WORLD OPENED UP FOR ME
And that was not easy, after 3 months I started to doubt, can I do this? Is this not too difficult, do I have a feeling for it? But my motivation won over the doubt and I continued. And the possibilities? They are endless! By now I feel like I need 9 lives to be able to do everything I want to. You can see the results in my webshop 😉.