March 8 is widely recognized as International Women’s Day! Why celebrate women just for one day, when you can celebrate them an entire week? That’s exactly why we’ll shine a light on the social and economic achievements of women this entire week. We asked six inspiring girl bosses to share their personal stories with us. Amylia De Schepper, Yentl Keuppens, Pauline Grossen, Lotte Feyen, Miette Dierckx and Leonie Lagaune will talk about their Insta-businesses and how they experience their professional failures and successes from a women’s perspective.
We’re kicking off this International Women’s Week with our first question. Where did your business idea come from and how did you launch it?
Amylia De Schepper – successful food blogger
“I never thought ‘now I’m starting a blog’. When I was eighteen, I moved in with my boyfriend and our house became a second home to all our friends who still lived at home with their parents. Of course I wanted to make it cosy, so that included good food. I practiced a lot and got better and better at it, even though I never had any cooking ambitions. After each visit, I often spent another hour writing recipes for our friends. My husband thought this could be easier; through a blog for example.”
“A little over 6 years ago, we put our money where our mouth was. We brainstormed about a name and from ‘cookingwithamylia’ came ‘cookameal’. Hence cookameal has grown very naturally (and with great enthusiasm) from a small page on the big world wide web, to an often visited blog. Something I am very proud of! Cookameal has become more than just a hobby for me. As a self-employed by profession I now regularly work for companies and twice a week I write a recipe for the newspaper (Deze Week & De Zondag). Very nice, instructive and tasty!”
Pauline Grossen – online content and video creator
“As a child I did a lot of modelling jobs for Belgian fashion brands and commercials. That’s when my very first ‘business’ actually started. Over the years, I translated my passion for photography and travelling into my website and blog: A Fashion Taste. As a fourteen year old, I wrote about the brands I worked with and posted ‘BTS’ of my modeling work. Because I was still young, I stopped modeling and the blog evolved into a platform about fashion, lifestyle and travel. Then Instagram emerged and that turned out to be the best way to share my photos with the outside world. Very soon brands requested collabs and I could pitch my creative ideas to them. That’s when I became self-employed!”
Lotte Feyen– multi-talented creative
“Even before Instagram, influencers and social media were a big deal, I was already involved with photography. When I went to the store with my mom, I always came to the checkout with my hands full of attributes to take pictures. My girlfriends and I had thousands of photoshoots together. As I grew up, I started working more and more as a model, and that gave me professional content to post on social media. All of the sudden, stores started contacting me and they asked me if I wanted to take photos of their stuff, to then post the pictures on my social media and tag them. The word “influencer” didn’t exist at that time, it was a puzzle of which all the pieces fell together perfectly. The great thing about this job is that over the years every one of my interests has received a place, such as make-up, music, events, Class93 clothing fire, …”
Leonie Lagaune – multitasking mommyblogger & communications manager
“My business came to live mainly due to the fact that I love taking pictures. When my children were born, I started to photograph more and more, so I really wanted to do something with those photos. Then I started to play around with the idea to post those beautiful pictures on Instagram and to come up with fun captions to go with that content. And that’s how it actually started. After that, I started thinking about creating a website. Since I’m also a communications manager, I was interested in making that website myself and learning how to do so. My boyfriend suggested the name ‘bellemaman’ because I was not only interested in being a mom, but also in beauty. It’s not because you’re a mom that you can’t take care of yourself anymore, or that you can’t buy beauty products and can’t look beautiful anymore. That all went pretty well for me and that’s why I got where I am today.”
So, what can we learn from these inspiring women when it comes to starting your business?
Even though they weren’t expecting to become such hits online and they didn’t think they would have such a huge reach by now, it surely turned out that way. They were able to turn their passion into their jobs, and that’s what makes them so good at it.
- Follow your passion
- Just do it! It sounds easy, but don’t let opinions or failure scare you
- Surround yourself with people that support you
- Even the simplest of ideas can grow into a business, just try it out
- Discuss your idea with different kinds of people for feedback
Something to look up to, if you’re asking us… Tomorrow is another day of celebrating women, so stay tuned and get to know these girl bosses a little better!