This past Thursday, your favorite FUNK-tional Femmes featured a totally fab (and rather foxy–did ya check that photo out? guuuurlll, you sexy 😉 ), PR gal, Katherine Fleischman. Our features of such foxy females are accompanied by glaaahwrious–pardon the enthused exaggeration*ahem*, glorious–giveaways! And now, before we move onto our next female focus, we must announce last week’s winners:
Congratulations, firstname.lastname@example.org on winning ONE FREE HALF HOUR of Katherine’s consulting!
Extreme congratulations, email@example.com
winning ONE FREE HOUR of Katherine’s
Take advantage of this free PR service, ladies, and launch yourselves. It’s take-off time!
…and for those still waiting to win, continue through the post and happen upon your next equally awesome opp!
Fiery female entrepreneur, Vanessa Coppes, has a passion that could rejuvenate even the most wilted flower. Choosing this jewelry designer to be this week’s featured FUNK-tional Femme, we sent Vanessa a list of business and background-related questions to answer for our self-starter subscribers. I’d like to begin her feature with the final question we presented her, one that adequately captures the invigorated individual who we intended to present to you:
Anything else you’d like to share?
Dream big…anything you set out to do, if you believe in it…is possible…it really is! Also, wherever and whenever you can, try to be a sweet inspiration to whomever you cross paths with. Leave your mark as a person who is ‘present’ in this world…and laugh, a lot…specially at yourself. Life would be so empty without laughter.
It’s so refreshing that this generation of female entrepreneurs has left the word cattiness and all of its thesaurus-found friends out of their vocabularies and independent ways of life. Wanting nothing more than success for all, the entrepreneur is decidedly the most reasonable, rational, yet wonderfully raging player in the business world.
Raging, only in a frenzy to get things finished and in the complete exhilaration that productiveness generates, of course.
This level of enthusiasm is apparent throughout Vanessa’s adorably honest responses that follow:
Tell us a little bit about yourself—you’re an artist and an entrepreneur from the Dominican Republic. What’s behind the passionate flower that is Vanessa?
Passionate Sunflower (laugh)…my favorite!
I was born in the Dominican Republic. Life led me to move back and forth to the US until 4 years ago when I met my husband and now live permanently in NY. I have a BA in Design and another in Elementary School Teaching. I come from a BIG family, all lovers of art, reading, music and food. So yes, I can cook too (which comes in handy once in a while).
Being creative was always easy for me, it just came naturally. I could just look at something and find different ways to use it, or just change it completely. I remember even making my own clothes, handbags, and decorating my shoes! I was always curious in subjects related to the arts. I hated Math, with as much passion as I loved Literature. It just wasn’t “fun”. I have a ‘wicked’ sense of humor and love to laugh, especially at myself. I find great joy in helping others.
I am a wife, a mom and then an entrepreneur. The order seriously does depend on the mood I wake up in (LOL).
What’s your start-up story? How did you stumble into the entrepreneurial world?
I always had a job, of course you need one to pay bills and such…but I also always had the need to keep my mind busy and “create”. Ten months after I had my son, and being home, I decided I had to do something for my sanity…that and I wasn’t too fond of the ‘stay-at-home mom’ gig. Don’t get me wrong, I count my blessings and am so grateful for being able to be home with my son, I know many women don’t have that luxury and that there are many that do, and that love it… I just didn’t know what to do with myself when he was napping!
So, after a visit to the DR and a long talk with my mom (my hero and mentor) and my husband, I picked up and old hobby: making jewelry. Using techniques I had learned through the years and brushing up on new ones: enV by Vanessa Coppes was established.
The thought, the name, the concept was all there…but how to start it? Well, there I was guilty of being CLUELESS.
A BA in Design and another in Elementary School Teaching did not prepare me for Entrepreneurship. I knew I had the most important things though: a dream and the drive to make it real.
You NEED a business plan. So, I had to write one…and if I was going to this, I had to do it right from the beginning. I researched online and looked up courses for ‘starting a business’ at my local community college. After attending a couple of sessions at the Small Business Development Center here in Staten Island, I was ready to write my Business Plan.
How long have you been in business and what’s your business model?
I am very excited to say that I’ve been in business for 1 year: enV by Vanessa Coppes was established on June 16, 2009.
My “Business Model” was an intricate part of my business plan. It continues to be what I like to call ‘success in progress’. Through trial and error, I’ve determined who my target market is and am currently working on a marketing campaign specifically for it.
When I started I thought EVERYONE would love my pieces. Reality bites, though: as cool as my husband, my mom, family and friends may have thought I was, they weren’t the ones who were going to sustain this business… So, be prepared for people to blow you off (…and don’t take it personally…it’s a matter of taste…I’ve accepted that over time).
That’s also why determining WHO my customer was, was SO important.
What’s your current inspiration and in what direction do you see EnV moving?
My inspiration: women who love that one piece of jewelry that make jaws drop :). In short.
enV does cater to special orders and requests, but my everyday muse continues to be creating pieces with a ‘wow’ factor.
enV grows everyday. Entrepreneurship is an exercise in personal development. It tests you in so many ways: your self-discipline, your intelligence, your communication skills, your focus, etc. If you’re at fault in any of these areas, your business and your home will reflect it. The real world of business can be unforgiving. Success is rewarded and mistakes are punished. The benefit in that to me is that it keeps you HONEST. You CANNOT settle for weakness, laziness, and bad ideas, or your business will fail.
My business has compelled me to grow into the kind of woman who can handle a lot more than I thought myself capable of. I’ve learned to trust myself to work hard, to stay focused under pressure, to find a balance between family/business, and still enjoy the process.
I am aiming to branch out exploring other venues to sell my jewelry and accessories, other than online. So networking and marketing for more exposure are currently my focus.
Who is the typical EnV client? What is she like, what does she prefer, and what are her aspirations?
I like to describe enV as “wearable art” that caters to all women who love jewelry and fashion, but most of all to those who dare to be different and make a statement. She’s also fun, determined and secure. She aspires to be ‘present’ in this world, to be ‘seen’ and ‘noticed’; not by a trend, but by setting one herself.
You blog, too! So you’ve dived into the social media sea. How’s it going? What services do you most enjoy and benefit from?
How I find the time to blog, I do not know…but I love it! It’s my little niche on the web to let a more personal side of me flow and be seen. I blog about my work, my family, and I even question life sometimes.
I admit it though, I am addicted to Face Book, it brings me new customers every day. I am also on Twitter, Savor the success, linked in, digg, stumble upon, and probably a few others that I can’t remember…if it’s out there to network, I’ve probably joined it. But, my business is fueled mostly by Face Book and Twitter.
What are the best and worst parts of doing it solo?
My work comes from inspiration, it can’t be pushed or rushed. It has it’s time and needs to flow , so I “create” and my new designs when the ideas come. When I’m not making jewelry I am networking and marketing, which I also enjoy.
The worst part is administrating it. I do have help with some things, but ultimately I have to make the final decisions, and they are sometimes hard to make. But when that happens I do a lot of research, pray and ask for help from people who know.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned being in business that you’d like to pass on?
I LOVE this question. I learned this from a particular situation and blogged about it immediately because this is soooo true: The ‘reaction’ from your customers, not only sales, should help you measure your success. Many companies have forgotten what customer service is really about. It is the key to your success and it is what will keep customers coming back. Satisfied and unsatisfied customers talk about your product and services. Bad news tends to travel faster than good news unfortunately.
Tell us (at least) 3 quirky facts about Vanessa!
1) I am afraid of mirrors and clowns in the dark. Something about watching the movie ”Candyman” too early in life just left me broken, and I also don’t know where clowns come into play here but, … I just DON’T like them! They creep me out!
2)I LOVE “Frosted Flakes with hot cocoa…it’s delicious!
3) I get so drilled about this one, but it’s true … I confess: I wear my sunglasses inside places. The lights bother my eyes! I know I’m not the only one!
Vanessa Coppes is enchanting entrants with the prospect of winning one mesmerizing piece of EnV jewelr y. On Tuesday, July 20, the EnV-d winner will have the excitement of picking her piece! Have you been punishing your pierced ears with lackluster posts? Perhaps it’s Brown Freshwater Pearls you need to regain your perk.
Here’s how to enter:
SUBSCRIBE TO FUNK-TIONAL FEMME.
and that’s it. Yep, that’s all. Mhmm, as easy as pieee. yum.