Innovation is an act of rebellion. Indeed, every new concept, service or system is essentially a departure from the way things were. Since no breakthroughs have ever resulted from sameness and routine, defying the old is the only way to begin anew. For innovation catalysts Linda Vermaat and Melissa Marijnen, only a rebel is brave enough to spark a revolution.
Recognizing the need to challenge the status quo in a rapidly changing world, the pair founded Professional Rebel in May 2012. Together with Meret Muntinga and Max Verloop, the team regularly organizes bike tours, programmes and events that inspire individuals to become rebels themselves. Convinced that independent brands are in fact rebels of their own revolutions, the agency has teamed up with Indie Brands for a very special startup tour.
Professional Rebel co-founder Linda Vermaat tells us more:
What makes a professional rebel?
Professional rebels take matters into their own hands. They’ve got guts and are very agile. They focus on a fixed point on the horizon, are critical and refuse to concede. They know what they want to change and use their skills, curiosity and network to achieve these changes. It’s not about changing for the sake of change. It’s about improving what is already there by thinking out of the box.
What inspired you to start your own agency?
We were very impressed by the projects and companies that we saw around us. Even though the recession was in full swing, people initiated ambitious projects that made money and improved the world at the same time. We started to blog about this new world, until someone pointed out that we should provide others with the possibility to learn about all this interesting stuff as well.
Collaboration with start-ups and independent brands plays a significant role in your agency’s operations. Why is this so and what can we learn from these budding enterprises?
What we see in indie brands is that they do not conform. They innovate by offering new kinds of services. By doing that, they’re forcing inferior products off the market. They have the guts to push forward. Even though they do not know for certain whether it’s going to be successful, they believe in their idea.
If you focus, things go much faster. Indie brands completely focus on their vision so much that they can lose just about everything. They put it all at stake just because they believe in their vision, even though they might hardly receive enough salary. And it’s so cool that indie brands say, “Fuck it! We’re going all-in,” and work weekends, because they believe in what they’re doing.
The cool thing about these small companies is that their founders see it as part of who they are. They’re always giving their all, always being helpful, always being super enthusiastic and believing that it’ll all work out in the end, even though they know that 8 out of 10 start-ups will not survive. But that’s not the point. It’s of secondary importance. We’ll see when the dust settles. That courage and confidence is very inspiring, changing things into something entirely new, which nobody knows about or understands yet.
On March 28, Professional Rebel will organize a special Indie Bicycle Brands Start-up Tour in Amsterdam in cooperation with Indie Brands. How did this partnership come about and what do you hope to achieve with this tour?
Melissa went to the first Indie Brands event, which inspired her to also take on entrepreneurship. She saw that a lot of these brands were run by two people, so she started to look actively for a partner and found me. We’ve been a fan and supporter of Indie Brands from the beginning, which brought us in contact with Anneloes. Then, we did what we do with many other companies we like: we talked with her over a cup of coffee. We clicked and decided to do something together because both our initiatives complement each other.
For more information on Professional Rebel, Startup Tour Amsterdam, Indie BRANDS, Indie BRANDS On Wheels and other brands featured in the Indie BRANDS blog, visit the websites below: