GET TO KNOW OUR HEROES: Gian, the Businessman
Gian (31) is the most business-savvy in our Movely team. Good with numbers, has a critical eye and mainly works behind the scenes. He ensures that the company remains healthy and that the great plans we have are also feasible in business terms. He is both our creative soundboard and a down-to-earth Feyenoord supporter, and contributes to the stable foundation on which we are building Movely. Want to know more about this number whisperer? Meet Gian – the Businessman.
Gian’s daily life outside Movely
Gian lives with his girlfriend Safiya in Rotterdam in a beautiful apartment with a view. A unique building, which they have developed with the help of an architect and together with their neighbors. As Rotterdam enthusiasts, it is the place to be for them, because you can see almost all of Rotterdam.
In his daily life, Gian works full-time as a financial controller at a real estate developer. A whole mouth full. “I am responsible for the real estate developer’s finances, taxes and financial statements.” He really likes the real estate industry. “You could even say I have a passion for real estate.”
So Gian knows his way around numbers. And that is precisely the strength of the collaboration with Cammy. He and Cammy are both co-owners of Movemento, the parent company that includes Movely, Striktly and Mama Juana. Gian takes on the role of investor there, and handles the business elements. Together they ensure a healthy business plan, where Gian keeps an eye on whether the figures are also going in the right direction with regard to the great plans we have for Movely.
Entering the salsa scene
In 2015 Gian came into contact with salsa and started taking lessons with El Yoyo. “I thought it would be great to be able to do it. By nature I am not a flexible guy, and I was a bit of a rusty gate. Actually still am now.”
Salsa was not really easy for him. “I had a lot of trouble learning it. I have also taken private lessons for that reason.” Nevertheless, Gian persevered and had lessons for a number of seasons. “I can just do a little dance. But after one song I think; “Now I have to stop with this lady. She’s probably tired of those boring dance moves.”
Gian would like to take lessons with Safiya, but it hasn’t happened yet. “We do dance salsa in the living room, a few spins just for fun. We do that quite often.” While it’s not the most important thing to him, it’s still on Gian’s bucket list to learn to dance well – or just fine – one more time. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be super good. But I have a lot of other priorities so it’s not happening now.”
First salsa party
The first party that Gian visited also made a deep impression: the Striktly King’s Day party in Podium950. “The atmosphere was super good. Young and old dancing together, accompanied by delicious Surinamese food. I really really enjoyed that. That was one of the first big parties in the evening that I attended.”
After that Gian didn’t go to many salsa parties where he could show and apply his moves. “I was often disappointed that those parties often lasted until quite late. Because I work a lot, I can’t easily party until very late. Then I would be worthless the next day.” But luckily there were the Striktly nights where Gian could indulge himself. “I thought it was a godsend that you had Striktly early on Tuesday evening, at Stadhuisplein. I really liked that.”
During his studies, Gian lived in Lisbon for a while. Here he picked up some Portuguese and maintained it through contact with Portuguese friends. With serious plans to emigrate, he went to Brazil a few years ago for a language course. The course was in preparation for later living in Brazil for a few years.
During the language course he got a taste of the Brazilian nightlife. “It was not necessarily a salsa club, but a club where different Brazilian music was played.” In order for the learned language to sink in properly, Gian wanted to apply it in practice. He thought the nightlife environment was perfect for this. “It’s quite difficult to just start interacting with the people there. But when you dance, you already have something of an interaction and therefore a starting point.” When I ask him if he also danced salsa there, he laughs. “I used my salsa moves, but maybe it wasn’t always to salsa music.”
Just before his departure to Brazil, Gian met his girlfriend Safiya, so emigrating to Brazil never happened. He stayed in the Netherlands for love (and because of the less attractive business climate in Brazil at the time).
“I really enjoy the scene, I felt were welcome”
When I ask Gian what appeals to him about the salsa scene, his face opens up. He says with a big smile: “I really like the atmosphere of salsa. Very friendly.” But the way they treated each other was also new to him. “Suddenly I was approached by women: ‘Do you want to dance?’ With a wink, not with the thought of seducing you, but really to dance. I also found that very refreshing.”
You can see from his face that Gian is not enough words to describe the scene. “There is never a fight. I used to go out quite often in Rotterdam on the Stadhuisplein, then I would regularly have trouble with someone. And you never have that with salsa. I find that very positive. You also see that everyone is trying to connect.”
The good food, the people. All together, according to Gian, creates an atmosphere of positivity and conviviality. But he prefers outdoor dancing. A piece of magic. “I actually like dancing outside much more, because then more people are touched by it. People who walk by and think: ‘Hey what is this?’. That doesn’t even mean they dance along, but when they pass they like it, something happens. That creates a positive atmosphere. Or you see that people are teaching each other. It’s a very friendly scene, I like that a lot. They are really just lovely people.”
Fanatic Feyenoord supporter
In this conversation it emerges that Gian is especially attached to the loving sides of the salsa scene. The people, the connection, the space that everyone gives each other and the friendly and positive character. But at the same time I sit opposite a very fanatical Feyenoord supporter. That can be quite a contrast to what some people know from the outside of football supporters.
Gian laughs. He understands that it can seem that way, but he sees it differently. “There is a lot of love involved with Feyenoord, but especially for Feyenoord itself. And it really is a family. It really connects people. So if I meet someone, and he likes football or he is also rooting for Feyenoord, then you immediately have a connection.”
Gian likes to focus on the connecting character as a supporter. “I’m generally a very quiet person, but I really like it once a week or every two weeks to get really worked up about something that I know doesn’t really matter. That’s nice.” He mainly does this in his own way: singing loudly with his Feyenoord mates for his club during a match.
The perfect business match
Gian and Cammy have only known each other since 2019. One day, Gian saw an Instagram post from Charissa, whom he knew as an assistant at the dance class. Charissa and Cammy were developing fanny packs for Striktly. Gian thought it was a cool idea and extended a helping hand. “Then I sent a message saying: ‘Hey I like finances, if you need help, I’ll be happy to think along.’” Cammy was a bit hesitant at first. She didn’t want to just share financial information without knowing who Gian was. “I then stopped by and did some consulting work for her. After a while Cammy suggested: Would you want to become a partner, I’m looking for a partner.”
As co-owner, Gian is an investor, to help build the future of Movely. Together with Cammy, they weigh up the decisions, with Gian focusing on the financial and business part. “I am also a sounding board for Cammy, as a sparring partner. Cammy is the entrepreneur who is on it all day, and I am a kind of advisor who works where it is needed. That can also be operational, for example at the parties.”
Together, Cammy and Gian are nicely balanced. Cammy is the visionary with beautiful big dreams that Movely can grow towards, and Gian keeps a sober eye and looks at the feasibility. “The higher goal of Movely is to connect, and to make everything grow. But at least you have to cover your costs to be able to keep doing fun things.”
The future of Movely
Movely represents the salsa scene for Gian. “It brings fun and positivity. For many people it is a highlight of their week or month. I really like that.”
When I ask him what he sees for Movely in the future, he dreams big: “That we can lift the whole scene and connect it with each other via the app.” But he would also like to expand the scene further. “Connecting people who have not yet been introduced to salsa. Precisely because it is such a positive scene, that we get more people in it. I think we always get better with a bit of positivity.”
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Would you like to talk to Gian about the future of Movely and do you have a serious proposal or creative idea? You can reach him via firstname.lastname@example.org