From University College Utrecht to Global Entrepreneurs: The Journey of Diipa and Oleg Büller-Khosla
In the world of social media influencers and dynamic power couples, the story of Diipa Büller-Khosla ‘12 and Oleg Büller-Khosla ’10 stands out as an extraordinary tale of serendipity, shared passions, and a deep commitment to making a positive impact on important issues. Their journey began at UCU and has since evolved into a remarkable partnership that transcends entrepreneurship. In a recent interview, they reflected on their lives since graduation and the founding of their NGO, Post for Change, a non-profit foundation that harnesses the power of social media to bring about social change, and their brand, indē wild, which aims to challenge beauty standards and empower women.
The First Encounter
Oleg pursued international law and history at UCU, while Diipa focused on law with a minor in psychology. Their paths crossed during Oleg's third and Diipa's first year.
“I was the first person Diipa met once she arrived at UC from India. I was sitting in the UCSA office welcoming the new students during Intro Week. The striking thing was that I met 300 new students in one week, but none of them I remember meeting for the first time...With her, I remember everything exactly. I remember what she was wearing. I remember what I was asking. I remember what she was saying," Oleg recalls.
Despite their first encounter at UCU, Diipa and Oleg’s relationship did not start there. Their paths diverged but were reconnected five years later through social media. After finally meeting for dinner in Amsterdam, they quickly realized they were meant to be together. They have since married and have a full house with their joyful toddler and two dogs.
“We were worlds apart," Oleg explains about their very different Dutch and Indian upbringings. "It was very good that our journeys went in their own directions, and that we developed in our own ways before we found each other,” he adds. Diipa shared a special anecdote about her mother predicting that she would find the love of her life in college, a prediction that ultimately came true when she met Oleg. “[My response was], no, we're going to study and party. It was a very, single life girl, you know? And then, yeah, the very first guy I met ended up being the love of my life. And mom was right all along," explains Diipa. "It's truly nothing short of a Bollywood movie."
Diipa's rise to prominence as an Instagram influencer and content creator is a testament to her dedication and entrepreneurial spirit. Her career began with an internship in Amsterdam at a fashion agency, which changed her life and ignited her passion for the fashion and beauty industry. Later, Diipa pursued a master's degree in law in London, all while building her influencer career on the side. “After [my master's], this whole influencer career that I started in a very small way in London kind of got traction and became bigger and bigger and bigger," she reflects.
As her online presence grew, she seamlessly transitioned into a full-time content creator, capturing the hearts of followers worldwide. These days, Diipa can be found in Amsterdam and Mumbai or traveling the world for work, fashion weeks, events like the Cannes Film Festival, and the humanitarian causes she supports.
Oleg's journey, though different, is equally fascinating. After graduating from UCU, he ventured into the corporate world, briefly working for Heineken in Mexico before pursuing a master's degree at Kings College in London. Once there, he sensed that the quality of education he received at UCU prepared him very well for the program.
After King’s, Oleg embarked on a diplomatic career at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was around this time that he reconnected with Diipa, and their paths began to intertwine, leading to some of their most impactful humanitarian projects.
Oleg's diplomatic journey was a dream he had nurtured for years, working diligently to achieve it; however, his perspective shifted after working together with Diipa. He realized that working in diplomacy, while rewarding, would take decades to yield a similar level of impact. As Oleg puts it, "I realized that with Diipa and Diipa’s reach, our impact would be so far greater than it would be in the next 10 years working as a diplomat."
He still acknowledges his love for diplomacy, especially two years spent in Baghdad during the challenging period of ISIS's prominence, but emphasizes the importance of self-discovery and the freedom to pursue different paths in today's world.
Despite the initial disappointment of friends and family who saw him as "Oleg, the diplomat," he remains grateful for having the courage to make what he feels is the best decision of his life. “It was a tough decision to make because I worked really hard. It's not easy to become a diplomat.... Luckily, it was very clear that I had another path ahead of me. And God, I'm happy I had the guts to do that.”
A Dynamic Collaboration
During Oleg's diplomatic posting in Iraq, Diipa introduced him to the potential of social media platforms such as Instagram. Their collaboration commenced while he was working on a Dutch Foreign Ministry project focused on Women's Rights, where the team harnessed the power of social media influencers to disseminate vital, unfiltered messages. Diipa even traveled to Iraq to contribute to this cause.
Their journey took a pivotal turn when they organized a workshop with Iraqi influencers and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) educating them on the transformative power of social media and how to leverage their platforms for social good. This workshop laid the groundwork for starting their NGO, Post for Change, in 2019.
Diipa and Oleg quickly discovered their complementary skill sets. Diipa's expertise in social media, storytelling, marketing, and the world of influencers harmonized perfectly with Oleg's background in the NGO sector and diplomacy. Their debut campaign as Post for Change was in partnership with UNICEF, addressing menstrual hygiene and awareness in India—a multifaceted issue tied to education, patriarchy, hygiene, and women's health. Leveraging the power of influencers and social media, they raised awareness among a staggering 110 million people in India. It was a monumental success that even took them by surprise. The campaign was a testament to the potential of their partnership and their commitment to using their influence for social good.
indē wild: A Mission Beyond Beauty
Let's build [indē wild] so that the future generation of Indian women have a better standard of beauty to look up to instead of it being photoshopped, instead of it being whitewashed, and instead of whitening products being the number one selling product in the country. Let's flip the script.
Diipa and Oleg's love of working together led them to co-found indē wild in 2021, a brand that transcends traditional beauty products with a broader mission. Diipa, the visionary with a keen understanding of the industry and marketing, works side by side with Oleg, who focuses on strategy, organization, and team dynamics. “[Diipa] knows where we're going, that that's the peak we're going to climb. And my job is then to say, ok, great. That's a high peak you're aiming at. What are the next 5 steps to get there? And how do we take this team along and make sure that we do this well?” explains Oleg. Their teamwork is a perfect blend of vision and execution, and they consistently work to include activist and humanitarian elements in their work.
With its Ayurveda skin care products, indē wild aims to provide a platform for Indian women to redefine and challenge standards in the beauty industry. This vision drives their dedication to building a brand that represents the diverse beauty of India and empowers future generations of Indian women. Diipa explains, “Oleg very much saw that vision, as well. So, we said, let’s do this together. Let's build this so that the future generation of Indian women have a better standard of beauty to look up to instead of it being photoshopped, instead of it being whitewashed, and instead of whitening products being the number one selling product in the country. Let's flip the script.”
Diipa especially has ambitious plans for indē wild. "Our goal within indē wild is honestly to make it not one of the good brands in the world, but one of the great brands that people look to. With a country of 1.4 billion, with South Asians everywhere, a brand that truly resonates with them.” The couple continues to work step by step with a dedicated team toward a brand that traverses borders, will one day be available in all of the largest international retailers, and fills South Asians all over the world with pride.
University College Utrecht's Lasting Impact
Diipa and Oleg continuously find themselves thinking back to UCU and their unique liberal arts and sciences experience, including the many fun and long nights at the UCSA Bar.
Diipa highlights the value of learning from different perspectives and interacting with students from diverse backgrounds. When asked how UCU helped prepare her as an entrepreneur, she says, “Even though I was a major in law and a minor in psychology, I studied a bit of everything. I think what UCU truly taught me was how to be a very well-rounded person who is able to conduct herself in any room, whether that is with someone very technical or someone more focused on, for example, international relations. I think that's the main thing, you can enter any room and talk to anyone.”
I think what UCU truly taught me was how to be a very well-rounded person who is able to conduct herself in any room.
Oleg credits courses like “Introduction to Academia,” now known as “Research in Context,” for giving him skills that he continues to use to this day. He also points out that his involvement in extracurriculars like football, MUN, and especially UCSA, helped push him out of his comfort zone and made his time at UCU some of the best years of his life.
He underscores the importance of understanding one topic from different angles and the value of a multidisciplinary approach in the UCU experience, however, recognizes that this can lead students to difficulties in deciding how to embark on their post-graduate journeys. “My advice would be to just aim at something and throw your dart. It doesn't matter if you're aiming at the triple 20 and it ends up in your triple 19 or your double 20. Just throw the dart. You'll probably not end up where you aim, but you'll move forward. You'll get somewhere in life, and it will lead to the next thing. And the next thing will lead to the next thing.”
My advice would be to just aim at something and throw your dart... You'll probably not end up where you aim, but you'll move forward. You'll get somewhere in life, and it will lead to the next thing. And the next thing will lead to the next thing.
A Reminder to Give Back
Rounding out the interview, Oleg and Diipa leave the UCU community with a reminder to give back to the world after absorbing knowledge and gaining experiences. For Oleg, that means to "carry your weight, and if you can shoulder a little extra burden for the world beyond yourself, then do so. Try to give back."
About Diipa and Oleg
Diipa and Oleg Büller-Khosla are co-founders of indē wild and Post for Change. Their work can also be found on their websites and various news outlets. They have been featured in Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Elle and Architectural Digest among others.
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