Joel Bijlmer

If you want something in life, reach out and grab it. Don’t be afraid of failure.


Joel Bijlmer and Monika Trojanowska are the founders of Aftersocks. Like most good stories, theirs started after a wild night out. After leaving a club Monika’s feet were hurting and she wanted to take off her high-heels. Of course, this was nothing new. Unfortunately, this time Joel had just twisted his back in the gym and could not offer her a piggy-back-ride to their taxi this time.

On the streets of Miami you never know what’s on the ground, so Joel didn’t want Monika to take off her high-heels and walk bare-foot. It’s not hard to imagine what an inconvenience it would be for Monika to have to carry around a spare pair of shoes in one of her sleek purses either. So, after a painful ordeal in order to get home, they realized that they needed to create a solution for the circumstance they had encountered.

The next day they started thinking of a product that they could develop to solve this frequent, well known issue. They figured that their product had to be effective, portable and stylish. All in one small package. After 9 months of developing, going back and forth with different solutions and designs, they finally created Aftersocks.

Where did the idea for Aftersocks come from?

We gained a lot of great results for clients in the past with our marketing company called Inspioneer. Now we wanted to do something together, as a couple and came up with the perfect “solution,” together. We used our creative ideas and experience in marketing to create our own product. We believe that having an idea isn’t enough. It’s the execution that is key, so we got to work right away. The idea started off with smaller flats, but we understood that they were not good enough. To big, to wonky, etc. I just didn’t check off all the bases we were trying to cover. We also loved a company called Poo-Pourri. We really enjoyed what they did with their marketing strategy. So we went from there with developing Aftersocks. The only solution that really works. A product that is truly original and didn’t exist before we brought it to life. Every young lady and woman should have a pair in her purse or at her disposal. I knew many people were experiencing similar issues and a need had to be met. “Save your feet after a night out.” Take off your heels, and slip-on Aftersocks.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I wake up at around 6-7AM, do my most important e-mails in 30 minutes, then go to the gym for 1 hour. After that, I head straight to my office. I check my emails and then I begin to work on all my client’s marketing schedules. Monika goes to her job at the same as well. She now works for a big publisher called Hearst and does her job to her duties to the highest level she possibly can.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We come up with an idea, source what we need and build the product from scratch.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The power of marketing and PR.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Be Healthy and travel a lot. Don’t be afraid to make new friends and memories alike.

What advice would you give your younger self?

If you want something in life, reach out and grab it. Don’t be afraid of failure.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

You only have to get it right once. Even a blind squirrel finds a nut eventually.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep on failing, the more you try, the more you discover and eventually, you will succeed.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

You need to reach your audience. Be out there, you’ve got to show up if you want to be seen.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Having too many projects at the same time. Focus is key. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would like to see a new social media platform that’s focused on real-life experiences. Struggles and triumphs, and things of that nature.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

A 100 dollar for a celebrity shout out. Influencers have so much more power than you think.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Notepad, to write all your thoughts and ideas down.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Secret.

What is your favorite quote?

“If you want something in life, reach out and grab it.

Key Learnings:

  • Every girl should have this product, it will come in handy.
  • Start a business with your ideal partner.
  • Don’t just have ideas, execute.


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