Rookie Arleen, who are you + what do you do?
Hi, my name is Arleen van Londen and I am Founder of Rookie Republic. I have nearly 20 years of experience in hospitality, conceptualizing and organizing events and projects that range from 50 to 500,000 guests. I have lead award winning teams and have worked on many cultural and music festivals. In 2009 I had the opportunity to set up an event for young and ambitious people and in 4 years we helped over 2,000 people between the age of 18-30. I arrived in New York City in 2012 with the intent of extending my network and skills and bringing Rookie Republic to a global level.
Why did you decide to start Rookie Republic?
I was invited to organize an one-time event, called The Enterprize Contest, for young start-ups in 2009 and we immediately became runner up at the most prestigious event award in The Netherlands for reaching a difficult target group. After 4 years of collaboration I had the opportunity to take over and re-launched the company under Rookie Republic. Right from the first event I knew I wanted to change the perspective on entrepreneurship by connecting people and celebrating entrepreneurship.
What makes you a Rookie?
I love being an entrepreneur! I’m not afraid to fail and I keep re-inventing myself every day. To be a Rookie you most of all have to believe in your ideas and never give up. Just keep going and enjoy the ride.
What was your motivation to start up your own business?
As a kid I always imagined having a store and I would sell my grandparents back their own things. I have worked since I was 15. I dropped out of high-school when I was 17, but eventually did graduate at 25. Luckily I never had terrible bosses and they always gave me entrepreneurial roles. So I guess I’ve always been an entrepreneurial spirit and started working for myself in 2006. I just saw more opportunities if I would be in control.
What were your first steps?
Coming up with a name…. A friend came up with ‘Arleen Events’, because in Holland the name Arleen is rare and I already had a huge network in events, so it was easy to find me. If I could do it all over again, I would have made it more into a business with a different name, so I would have been easier to sell. After I had a logo made, which was a fun part! I still like it.
Why is Rookie Republic important?
It’s important people take responsibility and charge over their own lives and dreams. Entrepreneurship is the future. And I think it’s important young people think of work, college AND entrepreneurship as an option. Rookie Republic is important because everybody is welcome and treated equally. Education and background are not important, an open mind is.
How has Rookie Republic helped you?
Rookie Republic has helped me expand my network with the most amazing people possible. I have met great experienced entrepreneurs, but working with a community of young people who really want to make their lives better, is indescribable great.
Why do people want to work with you?
Tough question. I think as a Creative Event Specialist people want to work with me, because I do as I say, I deliver what’s been promised and hopefully more. I’m always honest and deliver on time. I’m flexible and reliable.
For Rookie Republic is more important people want to work with Rookie Republic, I’m less relevant. People want to work with us, because they believe entrepreneurship is the future, giving back to the underprivileged and youngsters and because we have a positive approach.
What’s your ambition for the next 5 years?
Limitless! I would love for Rookie Republic to host Rookie Challenges all over the US, Europe and Asia. Also I would like to publish our book and have millions of followers on Social Media who we can show an entrepreneurial lifestyle.
What’s the best advice you can give a Rookie?
Always believe in yourself and never give up. Surround yourself with people who believe in your dreams and help you grow. Trust your intuition.