Article by Miruna Tit
4th-year Creative Business student
Arina Lipina graduated from CB and now she works for Loop Earplugs, a Belgium-based company that produces innovative earplugs for music, noise-sensitivity and focus. The brand helps people to “live life at their own volume”. Arina is very fond of her job as an Influencer marketer, but also about the company culture and the skills that she learned there. She looks back at her time back at university as exciting and full of new learnings.
24 years old and originally from Kazakstan, Arina has been in The Netherlands for 7 years already. She came here straight after her final year of high school and first did a foundation year to get used to Utrecht and figure out if it was the right choice for her. Indeed it was! From there she went into her first year when our study programme had a different name which later emerged into Creative Business how we know it today.
When she looks back at the programme, she mentions “It was really interesting, intense and challenging taking into account different aspects. But nevertheless, it was very exciting because then you are able to experience aspects of Creative Business that could potentially help you on your workspace or job that you’re looking for.”
She mentions that the main challenge of being a young graduate would be to find a place where you would be accepted and feel good. There are companies that are looking for many years of experience from fresh graduates which is not always fair. Nevertheless, fresh graduates bring a lot of value, especially in startups and scaleups. There is a need for students and their expertise as everything studied in Creative Business is very much project-focused and future-oriented, not just theory.
“When I graduated I did my thesis on virtual influencers which were very interesting because I didn’t think I would also work together with influencers. But when I was doing my graduation I was working for a company from Amsterdam called Crowd Media, I was an Influencer Marketing intern there for the UK and Ireland market and I think that helped me a lot to gain more knowledge and expertise in the field. So when I graduated I was looking for jobs and actually the company I’m working for right now, I did freelance work right at the start with them and then I worked as a contractor mainly doing digital marketing. Back when I started we were around 5 employees and now we are 85, so the company grew a lot. It’s a massive growth that happened after 2 years. My professional growth also skyrocketed with this. Back then I was doing a bit of everything but now I’m focusing only on Influencer Marketing and I think it’s cool as Influencer Marketing is an important source of revenue for the company at the moment.
The company she is working for is called Loop Earplugs and it’s a Belgium-based brand that started 6 years ago. They wanted to produce earplugs for nightlife specifically and for DJs. But once COVID-19 hit everything closed and the company had to look for different user momentums where people can benefit from earplugs a lot. They found out that parents also people working from home or noise-sensitive people can benefit from wearing earplugs in their day-to-day environment. That was what kicked off the growth of the company again, she mentions.
Recently the company went through a rebranding and a new website, but Arina appreciates that they are still true to who they are. The company values inclusivity, empowering people, and breaking the taboo of wearing earplugs. “What I love about working in the company is the people, the trust and the freedom that I get. I have a flexible working environment, nobody expects me to be at my desk at 9 AM unless I have a meeting, and nobody micromanages me to make sure I sent that email to influencers. I get a lot of trust but at the same time, I have clear objectives and goals I need to achieve at the end of the quarter to make sure that I deliver. As an Influencer Marketer, I am working mainly with the US and UK so with influencers from those regions.”
She mentions that she likes her working environment a lot and that each of her colleagues is special, unique and expert in their field.“Everyone gets along very well with each other, we do a lot of team trips, the last year we’ve been to Iceland, this year we’ve been to Malta then the company is going on another trip this year to the West of Africa. So that’s very special, not a lot of companies do this.”
As figuring out a plan after graduating can be difficult, we asked Arina how her experience was: “ I had no idea what I wanted to do after the studies when I graduated, I knew I could do different things in marketing, mostly I was passionate about branding and PR and sometimes of event management. But when you graduate and you start looking for jobs you look at what you think fits you best and what you do good. There are companies that see different things in you. When I started at Loop I was doing every aspect of social media and digital marketing that you can think of. But when the founders saw the potential lies in influencer marketing and social media, my focus was on that.”
Looking back at her CB student career, she most of all, appreciated the lecturers as they have lots of experience in the industry, so learning from them is very valuable “They have passion and drive for what they teach so that can be motivating. And also the fact that you take ownership of your work as well as doing group work, it helped my work ethic and the way I collaborate with colleagues.”
Her advice for our students?
“You should always be ambitious, take initiative and not wait that something will come to you very easily because you need to push yourself. Setting goals and being ambitious with them also helps in your career.” We also asked her, looking back, what would she tell herself as a fresh graduate. “It’s definitely scary and it will always be scary to be a fresh graduate and not having experience of knowing really where you belong, how you’re gonna get to certain things but don’t give up, push harder, go to networking events, meet people and try to overcome the fear because at the end, all the things you work hard for with pay off at one point. But being scared of not knowing what to do is absolutely normal. Even myself, even though I do what I love, I still question myself – will I do this in the next 4 years? Well probably not, maybe then I will do something different and change in the world of marketing comes fast, so we have to know how to embrace the uncertainty.”
We thank Arina for letting us share her story.