She is a rockstar boss than can be described as limitless, wearing multiple hats including mother and wife while living her best life. Vanessa Coppes is Bella Magazine’s CEO + Editor-in-Chief. She is also an Author, Lifestyle Blogger, Social Entrepreneur, Founder of V+Co. Consulting, Co-Founder of ETTWomen and The ETTWomen Foundation. Reading the collection of blogs and interviews about her, provided me with an overview of the businesswoman, however, it wasn’t until our chat that I grasped an understanding of the reasons behind her achievements.
The journey began years ago, when she arrived the United States from Dominican Republic. Vanessa’s success as an entrepreneur is not surprising when you speak with her. She reflects a wonderful balance of intelligence, drive, savvy, compassion and awareness that is uplifting! She takes the approach of learning the lessons and applying them as needed, while forging her path to greatness. The hour conversation left me inspired, feeling that I too, can build a strong business model that compliments my passion and fits my lifestyle. Hopefully, the interview with Vanessa encourages you to pursue your own dreams with relentless conviction.
What has been your greatest challenge while building the foundation for your business? Was it always your vision to conquer this much territory, create this type of success on the back of your hard work and on your terms? Entrepreneurship is in the fabric of my Dominican heritage. No matter what we’re doing, there is a part of us that is independent. We have an entrepreneurial spirit, consistently trying to pave a path to own something. I never wanted to be rescued, when I married my husband he knew where I stood. Starting a family encouraged me to think outside the box. My children needed me and my husband was the main breadwinner. He gave me the flexibility to do my thing. I knew that if I was going to build a business, it would have to fit my lifestyle as wife and mother. The business had to serve how I lived, it was necessary to build around my family. I started a blog and over time it began to grow becoming a viable source of income. I love telling stories, teaching, empowering women, so bringing it all together was the only way to go. I worked with Bella Magazine close to 10 years before its sale came up. I knew that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity when it happened. I wanted to continue doing the work of spreading hope, beauty and positivity that would genuinely impact women’s lives.
In an interview for Beyond Mom, you said “I believe anything is possible.” You have a book, blog, jewelry business, several entrepreneurial ventures but you still have time to help others by mentoring and connecting women to other successful women. You have a can-do attitude, delivering to Bella, a realistic vision of lifestyle and fashion that is relatable. Fashion has been known to be mostly about unattainable aesthetics but your pages encourage authenticity. This beautiful magazine is an assortment of fashion, beauty, travel, wellness, and entertainment, podcast, and TV but also has a social aspect. It’s like a one-stop shop! The most admirable part of Bella is that you don’t just promote a brand, you live it.
How were you able to shake off the pressures of standing out on your own as a platform? Did you set out to do be different from the beginning or did you eventually, have a need to pivot to give Bella a unique voice? The industry was merky for a long time. Influencers were getting behind things they didn’t use. Everything you see written in Bella is a reflection of an experience. If we get behind it, we believe in it because we have experienced it, belief in the product is key. The pressure to follow crowds will always be there. It is important that when girls, families and women look at the magazine they can see themselves. I have a 16-year old niece and she loves what the magazine represents. Magazines are generational influencers, couldn’t let Bella fall flat doing what everyone else was doing. I have an opportunity to do good, decisions can benefit the platform or add to the noise. It is crucial to make sure that clients and partners know where we stand. We are based on ethics, kindness, and truth, all beneficial to ethical fashion. People have a choice, we want clients to make informed decisions, transparency makes for the best partnerships.
I read your article “13 Things I Learned from Martha Beck,” in it you list takeaways from a 2010 presentation of the world-renowned author, speaker and coach. There is one bullet point that particularly stood out for me. “Risk, do one thing that scares you, that leads to your heart’s desires.” I love this! Absolutely agree, win or lose, we should be willing to take a chance on the things we love. Wayne Gretzky said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Women don’t always get to do this, as caretakers, the expectation is to keep everyone’s life together, sometimes, at the cost of our dreams or goals.
Can you share with readers when was the last time you took the risk described? What was the risk and was it worth it? Honestly, I get scared of taking risks but I do things in spite of fear without letting others opinions discourage me. I believe in God with blind faith. When decisions need to be made, I retract, pray and listen to my gut. When it operates from that space, I know that if it’s not of service, it will be removed from my life.
You have been with Bella for close to a decade, starting as Social and Digital Media Strategist – today, holding position of CEO and Editor-in-Chief. Congratulations on your continued success! In many instances, you have credited the strong community of women that empowered you in your personal and professional life. It‘s difficult to navigate entrepreneurship in it of itself, doing so while being a mother and wife adds a layer of challenges.
What is the key to balancing time, making sure everyone gets what they need including you? Refuel, Refocus & Work! We all experience challenging moments. We are tired, stressed, overwhelmed, under pressure and some days it’s hard to get out of bed. Women are always giving but we need to remember to take care of ourselves. The compassion and empathy starts with you.
You have expressed your belief that there is a lesson in absolutely everything! It is hard to see that in the most painful moments of our lives. Our journey is ongoing, there is constant change bringing new challenges to overcome.
What has been the most difficult lesson for you to accept, as a woman in business? It would have to be learning that not everyone has the same intentions that I do. I am a person of my word, sadly, it does not always go both ways. It‘s been difficult to understand that sometimes our actions will not be reciprocated. Also, I‘ve had to learn self-compassion, as a mother, now, I get my mom. She was a working mother, as am I, it helps me understand what she went through as a caretaker, makes me more grateful. Presently, I make my own children part of the process. Getting them involved to see what I‘m creating is important, hopefully, they cut me slack for what I do!
From time to time, I like to ask some impromptu questions to help readers get to know a bit more about the person behind the interview. Vanessa’s responses were fun and unexpected!
Who or what inspires you? Life
What can’t you do without? Nutella!
The title of one book that changed your life? The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Your favorite city in Dominican Republic? Santo Domingo
Your dream realized? I am living it and I am filled with gratitude. A house on the beach would be nice, too but that is mostly my husband’s dream!
Bella Magazine’s 2020 Summer Issue was replaced by the HOPE issue. I read your beautiful Letter from the Editor for this special issue. You believe that hope is a force you can always source from, even when the glass has nothing in it at all.” What is your hope for Bella Magazine? My hope for Bella Magazine is to see it in every language. Words that reach every woman in the world, a publication that is God’s work.
Interviews with AW end with a positive message for readers. It is important to spread words that inspire and heal. Can you share a mantra or quote that you have used during a moment where you have felt like giving up hope, a dream or a goal? Words that possibly, pushed you to the other side of that vulnerable moment? “What has happened to you, has happened for you.” Everything that happens is to teach a lesson. When something happens to you that is disappointing, hurtful, etc. take time to do some real introspection. Things don’t happen just because it’s supposed to, if it keeps happening – ask yourself, what am I supposed to learn here? Pursue the reason. What is the experience telling you? Believe there is a reason for everything – I believe there is!
Vanessa says, she is a student of life, consistently looking to improve. In no way, is she complacent, accepting the status quo. I believe we all have a potential for greatness. Every person carries a torch but not all of us are brave enough to light it. Vanessa is a firestarter with a gift to ignite inspiration wherever she goes. She empowers all the women who connect with her. Certainly, I have become a fan of the woman and entrepreneur.
AW is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to get to speak with and learn about Vanessa. She is proof of what is possible when you believe you can do the impossible!
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