Today, we’re thrilled to sit down with Stijn Van der Gragt, our very own Brand Manager at TimeChimp. Stijns journey at TimeChimp has had a a lot of interesting turns: From rookie UX-Designer, to Creative All-rounder to Brand Manger – all in a couple of years! In today’s coffee break he is sharing insights into his role, the challenges and achievements of his team and will also give us a glimpse into his personal interests.
Stijn Van der Gragt – Brand Manager
- 28 years old
- Born, raised and still residing in Alkmaar
- He prefers his coffee black, just like his soul 😉
What exactly are your responsibilities as Brand Manager?
Stijn: “As a brand manager, I’m responsible for all branded touchpoints and experiences of TimeChimp. This includes everything from our marketing strategies to the design and tone of our communications.”
How did you end up at TimeChimp, and what did you do before?
Stijn: “I started at TimeChimp as an UX designer. My original education was CMD, which stands for “communication and multimedia design”. During my third year a teacher, who coincidentally was the previous UX designer and product owner at TimeChimp, saw my work and recruited me as an UX intern. I joined and that’s that. I went from UX intern to full time UX designer, but was longing for more creative work. So I decided to make the switch to “Creative”, which included creating videos, visuals and other creative TimeChimp content. One thing I did miss though was the strategic part of it all. So I had a good talk with Fred, our founder, and decided to make the switch to Brand Manager. This role basically entails all the things I like to do, both creatively and strategically.”
How does a typical day at the office look like for you?
Stijn: “I get in early, usually as one of the first people. I grab my coffee and I look at news, trends, and my emails. After that, it depends on the work that needs doing. Sometimes I’ll start to work on a plan, or sometimes a video requires adjusting. Then lunch, and after that some easier tasks that require less focus. Since I start early, I try to leave early as well.”
How would you describe TimeChimp as a brand in 2–3 sentences?
Stijn: “The TimeChimp brand is an authentic, humoristic, energetic brand that gets its strength from the people who help build and maintain it every single day. The tight-knit team creates an awesome company culture, everyone is proud to be a part of.”
What’s your favourite thing about this job?
Stijn: “I (mostly) get to do what I love. I’m able to think about the long term implementations of the TimeChimp brand. This means a lot of collaboration with the team where we sit down, look at all our data and make a decision on what the primary target group is going to be.
I also get the space I need to develop new skills and techniques. One particular skill is web development. We’ve decided to make the switch to Webflow, and I was given the opportunity to build the new site and ensured the transition went smoothly, with the help from the whole team.”
What are the biggest challenges for you and your team at the moment?
Stijn: “I’d say pacing. There is a lot that we want/need to get done, but it can’t all be done at the same time. On top of that, many of the tasks we set out to do are linked, so some can’t be completed until others are, adding to the challenge.”
Is there something you (and your team) have achieved recently that you are especially proud of? Tell us about it!
Stijn: “Not yet, but hopefully somewhere this month our site will relaunch with a new architecture. Nothing huge will change for our customers, but for us, this means we can finally start implementing changes in rapid succession. This project was a joint effort by the marketing team and, after some minor setbacks, is finally ready!”
How do you deal with your own time management?
Stijn: “Rather poorly, to be honest. I’m not a planning mastermind unlike some of my other team members, but I’m trying! A book that has helped me a lot with this is ‘Grip’ by Rick Pastoor.”
What do you do in your spare time?
Stijn: “I have various hobbies. I love cooking, playing video games, watching new shows or rewatching amazing ones, playing the piano, messing around with various LLM models, or learning new skills and gaining new knowledge. For example, I’ve been training my own Stable Diffusion models to generate visual and audio elements for TimeChimp, all powered by AI. And I’ve also invested some time to learn about creative leadership. My first course was a masterclass by the founder of Bumble. And most recently I’ve learned a ton about Webflow and web development in general, since that is the platform we want to migrate our marketing site to.”
Do you have recommendations for books, music, games, movies, or shows?
Stijn: “Anything Marvel. I love Marvel. I am proud to say that I watched the entire MCU timeline chronologically, including the shows. And maybe this sounds silly, but I think Miley Cyrus is amazing. I really like her album ‘Plastic Hearts’ in particular.”