Claire's Mission

Mindful blogger Claire's Mission about high end escort

On July 4th 2023, Claire's Mission, Claire's mindful blog, published an article about Marike van der Velden. The owner of high-end escort service Society Service explains what it is like to do business in this special industry and what her considerations are. You can read the original article in Dutch on the Claire's Mission website or below. A translation of the article has also been listed here.

Marike van der Velden, owner of high end escortservice Society Service

Almost 18 years ago, Marike founded her high-end escort service Society Service. She is now 39 years old, lives in Amsterdam and can live on a passive income. And she consciously chose that and worked hard for it. Because doing business in her industry comes with a few risks. In this blog article she tells more about this and how she has ensured that by living frugally and saving a lot, she has been able to create a nice portfolio with real estate and shares. Super inspiring and extremely interesting! Are you curious about a glimpse into her life and world? Then read on quickly. 

How it started… the founding of Society Service

I founded Society Service almost 18 years ago. I was 21 years old and almost finished my bachelor's degree in Business Administration at Erasmus University in Rotterdam. That is the moment you look at which master's degree you will continue with. I really had no idea, no master's really appealed to me. When I met another student who had the idea of setting up a high-end escort service, all the pieces of the puzzle fell into place; entrepreneurship. Coincidentally, this year a new master's degree in entrepreneurship was also introduced, which I eventually completed.

The idea to set up an escort service did not come from me, but it did appeal to me. I found the industry immensely interesting! And in retrospect I think that the provocative character secretly also played a part. I founded Society Service together with a fellow student and bought her out a few years later because our vision was no longer aligned.

You have to be a strong person to run an escortservice

I am familiar with and often confronted with prejudices about the sex industry. From the beginning, I have approached entrepreneurship in this industry the same way I would in any other industry. In addition, I have a clear idea of what I want to mediate for and what I do not want to mediate for. I understand that not every booking is great fun, we all have working days that are less great. But I only want to set up bookings where I think in advance that both the client and the escort will have a good time and where I can largely guarantee the safety and well-being of the escort. There is no room for disrespectful or transgressive behavior. I watch out for that.

About my high end escorts

I work with ladies, gentlemen and everything in between, aged 21 or more, who speak fluent Dutch and English and have an Bachelor+ thinking level. Beauty is very subjective, just like which character traits someone values, so there is a relatively large margin in this. I work with people who are primarily motivated by adventure and personally development, followed by earnings. They should have a healthy lifestyle. I also think it is important that they are well informed and know what it means to work as a high class escort. This work is always a side job that someone has in addition to their studies or other job. In addition, I must of course envision a pleasant collaboration with the person in question. Reliability and punctuality are very important for this.

A high class escort must above all be able to read people well and adapt to them. Clients come in all shapes and sizes. From nervous virgins to confident businessmen, pop stars, entrepreneurs, professional athletes, curious couples but also just average. A good high class escort can converse with all these people and build a connection, where this connection feels very authentic. The client forgets that it is a service, which is why we call it an experience. And yes, that experience is also erotic. Intimacy and eroticism are an important part of a booking. But this is always preceded by a connection on a social, emotional and intellectual level.

A look behind the scenes of Society Service…

Many people have a very glamorous lady in mind when they imagine a high end escort. In reality, the ladies are much more 'girl next door'. The type you wouldn't expect at all. Every year we organize several photo shoots and course days where many escorts from Society Service come together. It's really nice to see everyone together like this! I am very proud that this group of special, friendly, self-confident, intelligent and fun people are part of my company. I have been with my partner for many years now. But when we first got together he was always surprised at how 'normal' the escorts actually are. I often hear this from people who come into contact with an escort from Society Service for the first time. And I mean 'normal' in the best sense of the word, where prejudices are refuted in a positive way.

A permit is required to operate an escort service

In many ways, running an escort service is no different than running a business in any other industry where a license is required to carry out the work. A bar or restaurant, for example, is dependent on a liquor license. And with an (unintentional) misstep you run the risk of losing it. I also run other common business risks. Such as labor disputes with employees, debtors who refuse to pay, competitors who seem more concerned with damaging your company than building their own, and so on. As an entrepreneur you would rather not have to deal with it, but unfortunately it is part of the deal.

What makes this industry significantly different is the fact that its right to exist depends on the political climate. The brothel ban was lifted in the Netherlands in 2000, but there remain political parties that are committed to a ban on prostitution. If these ever reach a majority, my company could suddenly be banned. Partly for this reason, my company is seen as 'high risk'. This in turn has consequences for many other aspects of business operations. Many companies, especially in the financial sector, exclude my company from their services. If you are accepted, it is often only at much higher rates and under strict additional conditions.

This 'high risk' qualification is fueled by prejudices about the sex industry. As an entrepreneur, I have to deal with this a lot, but also the escorts I work with. For some, this industry seems to legitimize behavior that is unacceptable, such as bullying, insults and even intimidation. That is not good for your mood and you have to be strong enough to resist it. Fortunately, I enjoy my work so much that this does not outweigh the pleasure and satisfaction that I get from my work. But will it remain that way? Who knows.

If you are going to earn money, it is extremely tempting to adjust your lifestyle accordingly

I hardly did this and certainly made wise choices during the first 10 years. For example, I still drive a very modest car. And I put my money in real estate and had quite a bit of luck with that. I just got ahead of the real estate bubble and spread it between business and private, which means I still have a favorable outcome with the new Box-3 taxes. Investing in real estate was born out of necessity.

Many entrepreneurs have difficulty obtaining a mortgage. Let alone if you do business in a (according to them) high-risk industry. In fact, I was only able to get a mortgage when I no longer really had to. That is why I have always saved a lot to be able to get my own home. Instead of selling my current home to move to a slightly larger home, I started saving again. This way I was able to rent out my first home when I moved into a new home. I still live there, I didn't move to a bigger place, but I bought more real estate with my profits.

How I handled it

For the first 5 years, Society Service's profits were nothing special. But after a few years of saving, it started to look like something. By the way, I had a lot of help with this from my accountant, with whom I have enjoyed working with for 18 years. He is very conservative and that is a good thing. For a long time, this sector was under a magnifying glass by the tax authorities. And 'exotic business structures' and 'creative accounting' will not work in your favor. I have always been extremely transparent about my work and am also this in my administration. So I don't use all kinds of complex constructions to avoid some taxes.

I have reserved part of the profit I earned within my company for my business operations. And in addition, much was invested in some real estate for a long time. I bought half of the real estate without an estate agent. I got in touch with a potential seller through my personal network and we worked it out together.

I don't think it's necessary to get the most out of it and squeeze the seller until there's nothing left. Or to impose maximum rent increases on a tenant. I believe that if you do business in a way that both can look back on with satisfaction, you will always benefit from this in the long term. This recently became apparent; Most of the property I purchased is in long-term rental. A few tenants leave and nominate a new tenant themselves, telling them that I am a pleasant landlord.

A few years ago, real estate prices rose sharply. Because there was negative interest at the time, I put money in a medium-risk equity fund from my bank. I did that as a long-term investment, I hope I won't have to touch it for the next 10 years.

Major maintenance is planned for some of the real estate I own in the near future. So I'll have to take that into account. I don't know yet what I'll do next. I'm don't need a lot of luxury and I don't think that will change anytime soon. I do notice that special experiences with family and friends are worth a lot to me. If there is something where I splurge a bit, it is that, for example in the form of a nice vacation. But a 100K car? No way!