NATHALIE DE CLERCQ is the co-founder and famed entrepreneur of wiplabs.com (Work In Progress Labs). It is a website that brings together successful crowdfunding projects/products and sells them to companies worldwide. It is the only storefront on the market that is directly geared to the crowdfunding audience. As for Nathalie, she is half Belgian / half Chinese and is incredible enough to speak four languages: English, Chinese, French, Italian. Before launching this project she worked for several fortune 500 companies for over 7 years.
Nathalie De Clercq’s father grew up in Australia. Her parents were entrepreneurs and they grew up in a household that ran almost like a small business. They had excel sheets for their allowances starting from when they were 9 years old and had to earn points by doing chores that they could ‘spend’ on fun activities. They had to complete tasks before being allowed out to play, like reciting poems or sing songs in French. Nathalie completed her Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from The Australian National University. Later, she moved to Belgium to work for a Fortune 500 company, developing and managing their sourcing department in Europe. When her job was done there she later moved with the company to the United States to work on the same role stateside, first moving to LA and then to NY. She started to grow frustrated of the big corporation mentality. Things moved slow, as projects and ideas needed so much time for approvals. She wasn’t able to grow at the speed that she wanted and so she started a small side project called Rogue Concepts while at her corporate job. She made wearable tech gadgets like UBS cufflinks and stylish 3D glasses. Her best friend was her biggest moral support. They watched the start-up world carefully, looking for their chance to get involved… They just needed a good idea. Nathalie had a background in design and tech and she knew sourcing and marketing. Crowdfunding was on their radar and so they decided to try out their first campaign with an iPhone dock that they thought was better than Apple’s own. Since then they have created a dozen new products, some a success, some not. Last year they decided to band together with other small tech companies and sell their products on their website as well. They have acquired a few companies along the way and have found their niche as a store that sells only crowdfunded products.
6. Accomplishments over the years:
“If success is measured by dollar signs than I suppose anyone can always do better. But I have lived the life I want to live, and proud to say that I earned my way through.”
She started her first job when she was 16 and funded all her projects since then. She has traveled the world, speaks four languages, and has great friends on five continents. In the Fortune 500 company, she developed the sourcing department and grew sales from zero to $1.5 million in two years when she was only 24. She is currently living in her dream city (NYC) with her wonderful husband, and jumping out of bed each morning because of all the exciting projects that her work brings. She is excited when she thinks about the future and she is proud of the great people that she has surrounded herself with, and to her, that feels like success.
5. Uniqueness of your website/products:
All the products on her wiplabs.com website are crowdfunded, so almost by definition, they are unique! This is the only website that sells only crowdfunded products. The selection of products on wiplabs is and will always be new and innovative according to Nathalie. Nathalie and her team always test the products themselves and check them for consistent quality so as a buyer you don’t have to worry about quality issues as many did with crowdfunded products straight from the campaigns. Wiplabs is an amazing stepping stone after crowdfunding and also a great way for others to continue to support small businesses and entrepreneurs, with much less risk.
4. Overcoming Tragedies:
Nathalie De Clercq’s mother barely survived through the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Her father nearly lost his life in a car accident when he was a teenager. Those are tragedies and she is blessed to be able to say that she has not encountered anything like that.
3. Goals for the future:
Making wiplabs.com a well-known brand and marketplace that people know and trust for high quality, innovative products is her number one goal. She would also like to open stores on both coasts.
2. Words of wisdom:
In the words of Nathalie, “Mind over matter. Visualize your goals. Be mindful of your thoughts, understand that you have full control over them. Time is precious so spend it with positive thinking and encouragement for yourself and those around you.” In addition to this, one of her favorite quotes is: ‘As you think, so shall you become.’
1. Product making the world a better place today:
Wiplabs is a beautiful and easy-to-navigate store for customers to find products that started as ideas from creative small businesses and entrepreneurs. These products make an impact with their inventions and Nathalie De Clercq helps people to extend their reach.
Article by Born Realist