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Brazilian in Balance: UX Designer Paula Camargo on Reinventing Experiences

Written by
June 21, 2023
Peecho People

As one of three Brazilians working for Peecho, Paula Camargo brings her own rhythm to the team. Starting out as a Customer Service employee a few years ago, she’s reinvented herself as a User Experience (UX) Designer, helping our clients find their way through the Peecho platform logically and intuitively.

Where are you from? And how did you end up in Amsterdam?

I’m originally from the Brazilian state of Goiás. It’s further inland, so nowhere near the cities that people usually know, like Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo. It will always have a special place in my heart as it’s where my roots are. But I don’t intend to go back any time soon.

My initial idea was to have a gap year after my Psychology studies, but it turned out to be a bit more than one year. I wanted to improve my English, so I first moved to the UK ten years ago. I lived with my sister, who had already moved there. Five years later I moved to the Netherlands, which feels like the right place to live for me.
I’m slowly getting used to the weather, haha. I love how nature is incorporated within cities here. There are parks everywhere, there’s a big diversity of birds, plants, and trees. That’s important to me. Many of the big cities in Brazil are concrete jungles.

What are some of the differences you’ve noticed between Brazil and the Netherlands?

Brazilians are welcoming, friendly and lively. Food is a big part of that: if we like you, the first thing we do is invite you for dinner. When nobody invited me over after I started working at Peecho, I thought nobody liked me. I was wrong, it’s just not in the culture here.

I like the people. The Dutch are internationally oriented, smart, honest, and value a good work-life balance. It’s nice to live in a country where there’s virtually no corruption. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t see myself going back to Brazil anytime soon. Everything in the Netherlands just works. And fast, too.

“Everything in the Netherlands just works. And fast, too”

I do miss the music though. I like all kinds of music and love to dance; if there’s music I can’t stay still. We’re lucky Amsterdam is a major world city, so it attracts international stars from Brazil too. I recently went to a concert of Diogo Nogueira, a famous sambista. It helps with the homesickness.

I’m taking Dutch lessons now, too. The municipality of Amsterdam sponsors a 9-month course for newcomers to get you going. Peecho now pays for another two months, which is so nice! My aunt lives here with her daughters, and their children don’t speak Portuguese, so I want to be able to communicate with them. What makes it difficult is that many Dutch people are helpful the wrong way around. If they hear you struggle, they will quickly switch to English.

Could you tell us more about your working background?

So, I graduated in Psychology before I moved to Europe. I am an MBA in Human Resources Management, worked in HR in Brazil and then moved to the UK. Because my English wasn’t very good, I did all kinds of jobs. Cleaning, waitressing, babysitting, and working in reception. When I moved to the Netherlands, I wanted to switch careers. I discovered User Experience Design. It’s where you think about how you can design software layouts that are most intuitive for users. That’s where my experience with psychology comes in handy.

I followed a learning bootcamp in Amsterdam, which got me up to speed with the ins and outs of UX design. But I didn’t have any experience. A friend of mine suggested I try my luck at a software company. And Peecho said yes.

To build up experience in the business, I started out as a Customer Support Representative. This is where my experience in reception paid off. They offered me a chance to gradually ease into UX design work. This year has been my first year as a full-time UX designer. I’m really happy that Peecho trusted me. And it feels good that I took my life into my own hands and turned it around.

“I'm happy Peecho trusted me. And it feels good that I took life into my own hands"

What do you do at Peecho?

My official title is Junior UX Designer. I’m currently working on our new user dashboard. We recently changed our platform flow; how people purchase printed products. It’s my job to make it as logical and intuitive as possible for users to perform tasks on the platform. We’ll soon have new products too, which I will have to incorporate in the dashboard.

What I like most is aligning with the product owner and the developers. Finding the best way of doing things. I also must take marketing and sales targets into account. It’s highly interactive. We constantly discuss users’ needs, goals, and purposes for using our products. Through my experience in the Customer Service team, I bring a whole new angle to the table.

We’ve recently put more focus on the Enterprise segment, bringing along new design challenges for me. From a customer base that interacted with our platform using Peecho’s dashboard in a more emotionally charged way, we’re now focusing on a business-oriented user base that interacts with our platform mainly using the API. So it is a big shift in the user perspective and priorities that need to be translated into the platform interfaces. But it’s a nice vibe of figuring out stuff and experimenting with ideas.

What are you most excited about working on?

UX design itself. How can we improve people’s experience with our products? How can we make it easier and less frustrating for people to accomplish their goals? Getting to know the client. For me, that’s connected to my Psychology studies. What people’s motives are and how we can influence them.

I like how Peecho helps clients get personalized content, tailored to their own wishes. It’s great to be able to help people keep memories alive.

I’m glad that Peecho’s business is, in essence, promoting sustainability, a topic I deeply care about. I want to do better, learn more. Humans are too disconnected from nature. We forgot that we ARE nature. Sustainability is about caring more and destroying less. It’s also an intergenerational thing, to be aware of the continuity and ensure that future generations have the same life quality.

In Brazil I’ve seen and lived poverty, witnessed the degradation of nature. It hurts me. In the name of profit a lot of bad stuff is done. Especially in poor countries. We’re here only a short period, and still make a big mess. I want to be part of something that’s meaningful, make a difference.

“I’m glad that Peecho is promoting sustainability”

What should future colleagues know about Peecho?

It’s a place where you can be yourself. We are all different. But because we respect each other’s opinions, we somehow work well together. There are enough opportunities to speak up if you feel the need to. And I feel we have a lot of personal autonomy here.

It’s a playful, very homely atmosphere too. This room I’m in right now used to be the meeting room. We now call it the Bomberman room, because we come here to play video games. We even call each other names, like good friends do. We get along well.

What’s a hidden quality, hobby or trait you have that may surprise colleagues and customers?

Recently I discovered I actually like cooking. I’m currently exploring vegetarian dishes, and I’m thinking about trying to create vegetarian versions of some Brazilian dishes. See how that works out.

Speaking of unusual hobbies, I’m into slacklining at the moment. It’s where you tie a line between two trees and try to walk on it. It’s like active meditation, a concentration exercise. Your body and mind need to be focussed on this one task, or you’ll fall.

I don’t think my colleagues will be surprised when I say I like existential talks. Like why are we here, what is the purpose? As you can tell from the slacklining I also like meditation, so you could say I’m quite spiritually engaged. It’s about finding balance.

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