Both started their journey at TTI, and now both of them work in growth hacking at a successful lingerie brand: LoveStories. We’re talking about our alumni Bart Plaizier and Puck Stallinga! We spoke to them about their careers, their experience of the growth hacking traineeship and the value of the TTI community.
Bart, can you tell us a bit about the start of your growth hacking career?
‘‘It’s a while ago now, I did the growth hacking traineeship in 2017. I had my own fashion brand and was looking to broaden my digital skills, and the traineeship aligned perfectly with this goal. During the traineeship I worked at LabFresh, a menswear brand from Amsterdam. I kept working there for 2 years after completing the traineeship.’’
And how did you end up at Love Stories?
‘‘After a reorganization of the team at LabFresh, I thought it would be a good time for the next step. At Love Stories they were building a new ecommerce team, and I applied as a growth hacker. It all went quite smoothly, and I’ve been Head of Growth there for almost 2 years now.’’
How was the traineeship experience for you?
‘‘Because of the traineeship I was introduced to really interesting insights and tools. TTI has not only kickstarted my professional career, it has also made me realize that I could market myself more easily in a very in-demand industry. The traineeship equipped me with a lot of useful skills which I’ll be able to use for the rest of my career.’’
Puck, how did you get into growth hacking?
‘‘I recently finished the growth hacking traineeship. After I graduated from my master’s, I still had no clue of what to do. I went on holiday for 2 months and decided a traineeship would be a good idea. I like the fact you can work and learn, and that you’re allowed to make mistakes. Through a friend I ended up at TTI, and it’s been a very good decision.’’
Where did you do your traineeship?
‘‘I started off at Juuve, a car sharing platform from Rotterdam. I learnt a lot and had a really good time, but when I finished I unfortunately could not stay because of the pandemic. I ended up getting unemployment benefits for a couple of months, and I started applying for jobs in the meantime.’’
And then… how did you end up at Love Stories?
‘‘Soon after I found a job opening at Love Stories and thought: ‘This looks cool!’ I got in touch with Bart fairly quickly and found out he had done the traineeship at TTI, too. This really helped me with getting the job. Bart also said: ‘It was one of the reasons to invite you for an interview in the first place.’ Because we’ve both done the traineeship, you know what someone’s capable of and what their background is. You learn to look at things the same way.’’
Bart, how was that for you?
‘‘We were looking for a growth hacker and the first thing I thought was: I’ll put the job opening on the TTI Slack. When Puck applied and I knew she had done the traineeship too, she immediately had an advantage. I knew what her skills were because we’ve both done the same training. It’s also something personal, being part of the TTI community brings you closer together. It also helped with the onboarding, I didn’t have to explain everything and she knew a lot of the same growth hacking lingo.’’
What does the TTI Community mean to you?
Bart: ‘‘The network is definitely one of the most valuable things of TTI. The first month of the traineeship I already noticed the value of the network: there’s alumni trying to help you and alumni giving training and deep dives. You get in touch with the whole community from day one. I learnt a lot during the traineeship of course, but the learning doesn’t stop there. I often reach out to my fellow trainees or the TTI Slack Channel if I have questions or when I have to solve a problem quickly. It’s a great place to stay up to date on the latest tools and digital trends.’’
Puck: ‘‘On a personal level? The traineeship was so much fun, I met a lot of cool people. On a professional level: it’s really useful to have access to such a big network of people with digital skills and a lot of knowledge. It’s nice to be able to reach out to others if you’re stuck or want to brainstorm about something.’’
What would you like to say to someone who is still considering doing the traineeship?
Bart: ‘‘If people are looking for a ‘hack’ in their professional career, they really should do it. In 7 months I’ve learned a lot of new digital tools and skills. I suddenly had a lot to offer, and this boosted my self-confidence to start working at cool companies. I started at a start-up as a growth hacker, became head of growth at a scale-up and who knows: maybe I’ll become a senior whatever at an even bigger company. All of this, you’ll be able to do within a time frame of 5 – 10 years. Maybe even faster. TTI is really a good start to a professional career. So, if you’re looking for a job of the future, you should do it. You won’t regret it.’’
Puck: ‘‘TTI really gives you the time and room to find out what you’re good at, what you like doing and what your goals are. They create an environment in which you can have fun, learn a lot AND fail a lot.’’