Expat Entrepreneur in the Netherlands: Uyên Huynh
Expat Uyên Huynh has set up a company where she felt a gap existed in the Netherlands; organising exclusive and multicultural weddings.
Name: Uyên Huynh
Type of business: Wedding planning
City of residence: Vleuten (Utrecht)
Name of company: Pure Wedding
Date of company launch: end 2008
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going?
Pure Wedding is a professional full-service and certified wedding planning company. We are specialised in the complete care of exclusive and multicultural weddings. Pure Wedding is the only wedding planner in The Netherlands that is certified by the American Association for Wedding Professionals International. We guarantee professionalism, creativity and exclusivity. Our team consists of international staff that all speak at least two languages including Dutch, English, Cantonese and Arabic languages. So far, we are the only wedding planner in the Netherlands to have organised a wedding at Paleis Het Loo in Apeldoorn. Since the founding we have succeeded to do what we are best in: organising exclusive and multicultural weddings.
We started with the founder and expanded in 2010 to a 'freelance' international staff of highly experienced wedding planners, supervisors and hostesses. For the coming years, we expect to expand to take on even more staff members and exclusive and multicultural weddings in the Netherlands and abroad.
What do you like about doing business in the Netherlands?
Thanks to the growing number of international people (expats, immigrants) in the Netherlands, the market is very interesting for Pure Wedding. Most of the wedding planners in the Netherlands are born Dutch. This has its strengths, but also its weaknesses. One of the strengths is that they are experienced at organising Dutch weddings, but have less or no experience with multicultural weddings. Pure Wedding is an international wedding planning company, because our staff members have seven different nationalities between them. We all speak our mother tongue and we all know our respective cultures. Therefore, we understand the backgrounds of our international clients better than organizers who do not have our cultural insight.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in your country of residence?
The taxes have been increased the last years tremendously which is not very stimulating for running a business. The Dutch government wants to stimulate the entrepreneurial business, but, unfortunately, the reality doesn’t reflect this aim.
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
Set up was no problem and was done efficiently. Building a business is another cup of tea. Dutch people aren’t familiar with professional wedding planning, although they do recognize and make use of professionals in other businesses such as estate agents, gardener, housekeeper, contractor, baby sitters and nannies. When it comes to weddings, the Dutch prefer to do it themselves. One of the Dutch wedding traditions is the 'master of ceremonies' a role which is mostly carried out by a friend or family member. This person is actually the wedding planner. He or she is saddled with a task that takes up a considerable amount of free time and many private phone calls during office hours. Happily, new generation brides and grooms want to distinguish themselves by hiring a wedding planner who can help them to organise their weddings without draining the time of their own circle of friends and family. Of course this new trend gives our business a booster!
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
We started during the crises, so we don't have experience of it otherwise. It only asks more time and energy to build the business, but we think we have done it quite well.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in the Netherlands?
Get a good accountant or bookkeeper or someone who can help you with the Dutch laws and taxes, create a good website, expand your network, have a good marketing plan and get started. Better ambitious than sorry!
Joining Expat Voices
To add your voice to Expat Voices in the Netherlands, simply download the Expat Voices questionnaire via this link and return it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org . You can choose to take an Expat Artist, Expat Entrereneur or Expat Writer questionnaire if this is more relevant to your lifestyle. We'd love to hear what you have to say about life in the Netherlands!
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