Made in Maastricht: Guillaume Hansart
In August the first batch of his own Pisco arrives from Peru. This transparent brandy made by distilling fermented grape juice has determined Guillaume’s whereabouts for the last two years.
Guillaume Hansart has been living in Mexico since 2013. After three years in the consulting business he started dreaming about being his own boss. His own business should involve something tangible, something real. He’s definitely not the guy to launch an app or some online service. Mezcal (alcoholic beverage made from agave) was booming but Guillaume felt it was too late to onboard in this business and looked for other options. From initially wanting to merely import Peruvian Pisco, his entrepreneurial endeavor quickly evolved into the whole deal of finding a producer, making and testing the recipe and building his own brand. Trendsetting maybe, Rompe Mar * Pisco was born.
Guillaume Hansart graduated in 2011 from the Bachelor's programme in International Business at SBE and in 2013 in Public Policy and Human Development (School of Governance) from Maastricht University. An internship at the UN made him realise he had a preference for the private sector after all to have more and direct impact. However, working as a consultant didn't quite give him the satisfaction either. He started his own business two years ago, the Pisco business.
“To me, Mexico is the perfect place to work on your start-up, the market is well developed, the distribution channels are optimal, there’s sufficient consumers demand and spending limits are quite high. Apart from the fact that the weather conditions are way more attractive than in Belgium, I have a lot of friends here and it’s relatively cheap to live. There is no way I can live from the Pisco business at this stage and I still do some freelance consulting jobs to make a living.” His biggest challenge? Simple- Sales! “If I can´t find clients, I´ll die. That´s the tough law of business.”
What his ultimate goal is? It may sound wildly ambitious but Guillaume hopes that one day someone will knock on his door offering him a serious sum for his business. “ It’s not because of the money, but this would prove that I’ve done well, made the right choices. For now it has been great. I have already learned so much. Even if it fails, I’ve grown. And that’s what counts”.
As a Belgian national, he never really lived in Belgium for long. He grew up in Africa and moved to Europe when he was 16 to finish his secondary school. Maastricht appeared in his shortlist of universities as it checked all the boxes on the wishlist: relatively close to home, international outlook and teaching in English mostly. “That Maastricht tured out such a pleasant student town was just luck”, says Hansart.
Guillaume started as a UCM student while soon he discovered that he needed more focus and switched to the School of Business and Economics to pick up on International Business. His interest for international relations and public policy made him stay in Maastricht for his Master’s at the School of Governance and took him to South America after his graduation for an internship at the UN in Chile. A disappointing experience which made him realise the private sector suited him better. No matter the longer hours and stress. The stimulating and dynamic environment prevailed and he switched to consulting. Now everything falls into place, being his own boss with a lot of freedom, being able to implement all his experience, expertise and passion.
*Rompe Mar means "to break the sea" in Spanish. I wanted something that evoked travel, adventure, the coming together of different cultures and people. Before, the only way that that was made possible was by taking a ship out at sea and braving all the storms to get to discover another continent. Also, it sounds like "Romper Madres", which in Mexican slang means "to kick ass"
By Charlotte Groven, June 2018