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A coffee with Amber Elisa

A coffee with Amber Elisa

Hi Amber, welcome to the Lepelclub journal. We’re so happy to have you here with us! First things first, can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Thank you so much for inviting me! I’m Amber Elisa, 29 years old and work at our family company Landgoed de Olmenhorst in the role of Director. I live in Amsterdam together with my boyfriend Bart and in my spare time I love to work out and cook. I love traveling, I love Mexico and I am a big fan of Beyoncé. 

As the caretaker of the Olmenhorst, could you paint a picture of what the estate is all about?
De Olmenhorst is an estate of 31 hectare, most of which are apple and pear orchards, all organically farmed, located in between Amsterdam and Den Haag. The estate is celebrating its 170th birthday this year! It exists ever since the reclamation of Haarlemmermeer and has been led by our family ever since. Next to our agricultural identity, we have locations available for events such as weddings, parties, family celebrations or business meetings. At the Olmenhorst you can adopt your own apple tree, which you can harvest in September and October. It’s such a nice thing to do with family, friends or even with colleagues. Next to that, there are various buildings where independent business owners run their shops such as an atelier, photography, or a gift shop. There’s always much to do, but most of all it’s a beautiful place to relax and reconnect with nature – we call it the ‘green oasis’ of the Randstad. 

Could you take us through the journey of stepping into your family's business, your aspirations, and now, steering the Olmenhorst?
I grew up at the Olmenhorst so it is my home. While I did have the ambition to – one day – be a part of the company, I first took a different path working in the aviation industry. I very much fancied an international career and I was working for Schiphol Group, when my father was diagnosed with a disease and passed away a short 6 weeks after. Together with my brother and sister, I inherited the estate and company at the age of 27. After a period of soul-searching, I made the decision to take over the company and run the business.

Now I work hard every day to make Landgoed de Olmenhorst a better place, future-proof and even more beautiful than it already is. I feel very thankful to be able to call this my work and it gives me a lot of joy and fulfillment.

With a family company, especially an estate, the horizon is set on the long term. We’re here not as owners but more as guardians, doing our part in handing it over to the next generation in an improved manner. De Olmenhorst is an organic farm, has green luscious trees, historical buildings and locations to host events, all close to Amsterdam. There’s just so much potential to tap into, we’re just getting started.

With the Olmenhorst being a popular venue for weddings, can you tell us about a particularly memorable moment?
Our main location is called the Boshuis, which is a venue surrounded by old pear orchards. Especially in summer it’s truly magical, where you can have long tables together with friends next to the pear trees. Those moments, with good friends, good food and good conversations – are so precious. Last year I celebrated New Year’s in the Boshuis with a group of friends, thinking back of it still puts a smile on my face! 

Here at Lepelclub, we love to relax either with a coffee or a cocktail. When you’re not working, how do you like to unwind?
I am a big foodie and I love being in the kitchen. My favorite thing to do is hosting a dinner party, where I can go all out - preferably in a theme where all drinks and dishes match and my friends can enjoy and have a good time. I just love it!

Also, I work out very regularly, it is crucial for my wellbeing. I notice when my body feels strong, my mind is strong. And of course, there are moments of total rest and recovery: my holy grail is to go to the sauna once a week. It’s my moment of alone time where I can think, relax and recharge.

What’s been the most challenging part of starting your own business, and what’s been the most rewarding?
Obviously I did not start this company, I’m now the 6th generation, and I hopped on a moving train. Actually, sticking with this metaphor you could argue the train had crashed a little bit and we’re working hard to put the pieces back together. Then, we need a new engine to make the train last sustainably and stable for the future. We’re not there yet, but our train is slowly coming together.

Taking over this role without direct guidance, ‘onboarding’ or specific knowledge has been challenging, definitely. But the most rewarding, is that every effort we make, all the energy I put into it, is turning ideas and dreams into reality. Every small step is a step towards improvement and that feels very rewarding.

Reflecting on your experiences, what's the most valuable advice you've ever received, either personally or professionally?
My dad always used to say – ‘laat je niet gek maken’. It’s a Dutch expression which comes in very handy at times when all of the challenges are piling up and making you numb. Try to take it one step at a time, make it small, and just keep on going without letting the world drive you crazy. My grandmother always says: ‘gewoon doorgaan’. These two phrases come to mind as valuable advice and I must admit, I remind myself of these wise words often! 

Lastly, how do you envision inspiring others through Olmenhorst? And what message would you like to convey to those discovering your estate and mission?
Our mission is to connect and inspire people in beautiful nature. We want people to visit De Olmenhorst and enjoy being outside, but also to find a way to go inward with themselves. We grow our fruit organically, it’s in our DNA. We’re still trying to find ways to be kinder to earth and nature and we hope to inspire others to do the same. But also, to be kinder to yourself, to the people around you, even to strangers. We’re on this earth together and in a way we’re all on our personal estates, trying to make the world a better place – guarding it and improving it for the next generations to come.

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