Meet our brand new Braavheart Ine Verheart, recommended by our very first Braavheart Severine Nijs. Ine Verhaert is a mother of 3 teenage girls & one of the 2 founders of Kaai. As an ambitious woman, Ine undoubtedly belongs to the #Braavheart community. Sit back, relax, and get inspired by the story of this entrepreneur.
Can you introduce yourself and what you do in a few sentences?
Hello, I am Ine Verhaert. Mother of 3 teenage girls and one of the 2 founders of Kaai. After more than 25 years working in the retail and fashion business, from which the last 5 years being CEO of Veritas, I decided to switch my career and start up my own business together with Helga Meersmans. In 2018 we launched Kaai, a new bag concept for women on the go.
Ine Verhaert (links) En Helga Meersmans, founders of Kaai.
What's your motto in life?
"I never dreamed about success, I worked for it".
This is the quote of Estee Lauder and matches my personality and entrepreneurial spirit.
What's your ultimate relaxation?
Traveling to new countries, staying in special places (Airbnb), enjoying local food, culture, and nature.
Being an entrepreneur it seems that work is never finished. So I have to force myself to take some time off and relax. Luckily I have a husband who likes to organize trips. So every year in January we travel just the 2 of us to the most wonderful places in the world.
If you could give one ultimate tip to other ambitious women, what would it be?
You can’t do it alone. You need the right people around you, both private and professional.
You need support and space from your family (or/and friends) in order to give your everything and to develop yourself and the company. To start up a business or take a c-level responsibility in a company you need a partner who stands behind you and your job. At every stage of your life, he or she needs to say: go for it, you can do it!
Read more: Bussiness tips of another mompreneur: Sofie Ysewijn
What are your secrets for a healthy work-life-balance?
Every day is a challenge and it seems that I have to keep up with many things. 3 teenagers at home, a husband and a start-up, that just means you need to accept not having a lot of me-time. I am lucky that my children are healthy and have an independent character. That’s what they have learned since they were young when I traveled a lot for my job. When they were still very young, they prepared their own lunch for school and dressed themselves every single day.
Over time, I've learned to accept imperfection. With limited time at home, the house can be chaotic, and you can't join all activities where you are invited. Make choices to keep the balance!
What is your favorite kind of sports or workout?
I enjoy playing tennis for the love of the game and after-game. Catching up with my best friends and being together in between our busy schedules.
In winter I play tennis every Monday evening to kick off the workweek.
What are your future objectives on your professional agenda?
We are proud to be already quite known in the Belgian market in a short period of time (2 years). Furthermore, I feel happy that we took the jump, even we had to exchange the safe monthly high paycheck for a life of hard labor and high financial risks. Being used to work on a strategic level reflects on the way we run Kaai. We've made a clear business plan, with the clear mission of opening more flagship stores and the expansion abroad.
Our aim is to make Kaai a real love brand for businesswomen. We believe that the need for a stylish workbag is universal and makes the life of our clients much more organized.
How do you unwind after a stressful day?
A good glass of wine, and a dinner which is prepared by somebody of the family or me. Mostly I prepare the dinner and it's also a certain way of relaxation. Late at night (after some computer work for Kaai), I watch one or 2 episodes of my favorite Netflix series.
Which book or podcast do you think is a must-read?
50 koffies! I listen to every single episode. It's inspirational and gives the stage to female entrepreneurs.
Next to that, I follow everything from Simon Sinek, the men behind the concept of the golden circle. (Why, How, What). You can follow all his Ted Talks online and he was a major inspiration when starting Kaai. Golden tip: watch the Ted Talk episode with Simon of 12/05: There is no going back to normal.
Who do you think should be our next Braavheart?
Nele Somers, Lawyer and founder of Artes law.