There are not enough words in the the English (or any) dictionary for that matter to describe our February feature for our blog series. This woman has and forever will hold a special place in my soul. Not only is she my mentor, friend, therapist, confidant and business coach, she is also a power-house business owner, author, blogger, wife, designer, wedding planner, creative taste-maker and more, more, more ... I legit got tired just writing that ya'll! I can actually hear Bey singing "Who run this mutha ..." when this woman walks into a room!
Candice blessed my life and business in 2013 when my own event planning company needed a serious face lift and some flat out H.E.L.P.
I may not have been her best student to date ... but I'm getting there! Sometimes as creatives we start business ventures because we love our art so much and couldn't imagine doing anything else, buuuuuut not a lot of us have the business background to support that dream. Solo-preneurs need help and you gotta go get it from people who have been there and have gone through it too. They say, "If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room kid!" and making true connections with creatives like Candice has not only made my business decisions better and smarter but my personal ones as well. Having friendor, solo-preneurs to cheer you on, listen to you vent and help you up are a MUST in any creative industry, otherwise we'd all lose our minds! So THANK YOU Candice (for the ga-zillionth time) for being my cheerleader! You are bad-ass, girl! xo
Okay ... now it's Dani's turn to write ... Enjoy!
Our February Covergirl in our "Who Run the World?" series is the innovative and multi-talented Candice Coppola of A Jubilee Event and A Jubilee Event, Caribbean. In addition to running her event planning business in Connecticut and the Caribbean, she is also the co-author of The White Dress In Color (with a second installment on the way!) AND she runs her own mentorship business, CandiceCoppola.com. WOW. I could have asked Candice a million questions, as she has such knowledge and talent in the wedding industry and there is so much to be learned from her, but I doubted she had the time, so I restrained myself and kept it to 11. You're welcome, Candice.
DANI :: What ignited your love affair with event and wedding planning?
CC :: I've always loved hosting parties and the idea to open my wedding and event planning company was born from hosting family and friends, along with my love for interiors. I wanted to be an interior designer, but chose to pursue an education in Art History. I was able to parlay my love of interior design into this career by creating spaces that would be enjoyed for such a short period of time - which has become so gratifying! There is nothing like seeing the vision of your clients come to life, although a part of me is always sad to see it packed away into the trucks at the end of the night. Although, another part of me is happy - because at that point, we are all exhausted!
Design + Concept: Candice Coppola, Jubilee Events // Photography: Carla Ten Eyck Photography // Beauty: d.d. Nickel // Fashion and Styling: Beth Chapman Styling // Floral Design: Tony Palmieri for Green Dahlia // Cakes & Sweets: Confectionery Designs // Stationery Design: Coral Pheasant Stationery + Design // Rentals: Rentals Unlimited // Linen: La Tavola // Headpieces: Maria Elena Headpieces // Hat: Bijou Van Ness // Dresses: Ivy and Aster
DANI :: When did you decide you wanted to take your knowledge and turn it into a mentorship business?
CC :: I had been mentoring my colleagues long before I launched CandiceCoppola.com. Just like I am passionate about my client's events, I am equally passionate about helping wedding industry professionals better their businesses. I would sit down with those in the industry and give them business advice in an effort to help them pursue their goals and/or climb out of a difficult time in their business. I had no background in business when I opened mine in 2007, but I did a tremendous amount of research and also got pretty lucky. I developed a knack for understanding the clients, the industry and what worked for me and I loved to share that information with anyone who was struggling. After some encouragement from my colleagues, I decided it was time that I turn it into a service and mentor others on how to start their business or reinvigorate a struggling company. This business is so hard and sometimes there isn't any transparency - business owners are always struggling with how to make money and how to make a name for themselves. I believe that everyone needs a mentor, a coach, a cheerleader who is pushing them to succeed and giving them the right information that is curated to their unique business. I feel very privileged to be able to do that for my "mentees."
DANI :: What do you enjoy most about mentoring other women in this industry?
CC :: I love mentoring both men and women in the industry! What I enjoy most is watching a business owner discover what their businesses purpose is. Sometimes we loose sight of that at 2AM in the morning when we are struggling to catch up with our work during the busy season, or after we've had a difficult client. Helping someone to discover their purpose is like watching someone during that magical moment when it all makes sense - when everything they've worked so hard for aligns with what they want their future to be. It is a very gratifying feeling.
DANI :: You moved to Barbados to be with your husband. How do you find running a business remotely has helped shape your business? Challenges?
CC :: I'm so fortunate, because I have two very talented women who are continuing the business and offering our unique experience to clients in Connecticut. I'm not going to lie, choosing to move away from the business I had spent tireless nights building was a hard decision, but it was also extremely gratifying knowing that I had cultivated a team that wanted to continue the work. Plus, they are equally passionate as me! Diana and Libby really believe in the brand and continue to surprise and impress me with their ideas, work ethic, and genuine demeanor toward our clients. They really love what they do and it shows in every bow they tie and dress they bustle. The challenge for me has been less about the business in Connecticut but working in Barbados - which is not anything like Connecticut. I love this little island and have never felt more welcome anywhere else in the world, but there are a lot of challenges working here! I've learned that I will never adapt to the pace in which business flows, and instead, I needed to find like-minded business owners who believe in providing a world-class service to their clients. I have been so fortunate to find some brilliant entrepreneurs here who understand what service truly means - and they have been a godsend to me AND my clients!
DANI :: What was your favorite part in putting together The White Dress In Color?
CC :: Our first book was an entirely new experience for me and my co-authors, Beth Chapman and Carla Ten Eyck. We had all dreamed of being a published author at some point in our lives and for me, it started when I was about 16 years old. I used to write a lot and envisioned writing important novels that would be read and dissected in college classrooms. I have to laugh at that because my life took a dramatically different turn and I didn't end up like F. Scott Fitzgerald, but I still did reach my dream of writing a book. My favorite moment was arriving in Paris to work on our second book and getting to hold The White Dress in Color - Inspirations for the Modern Bride in my hands for the first time. I was like - holy shit - I helped to write a book! And PS - holy shit, I am in Paris!
Photography © Carla Ten Eyck
DANI :: Was there a different experience in putting together your first book that you have with now writing your second book?
CC :: Yes! For the second book, we've chosen to make it both informational and inspirational. Since Destination Weddings are now part of my business, I wanted to give the reader insider information on how to plan their destination wedding. That, coupled with the gorgeous content we created, has really made this book magical. I'm so excited to share it with everyone and I'm so proud of my co-authors and the journey we've taken together. Writing a book is not easy by any stretch - you are terrified every step of the way, especially when words are involved. This has been a journey of discovery for the three of us and the realization at the end was that we CAN push ourselves and we CAN do things outside of our comfort zone (i.e. WRITE!).
Carla Ten Eyck , Candice Coppola and Beth Chapman at The White Dress in Color Launch Party at The Lace Factory.
Photography © Allan Zepeda
DANI :: When you aren't planning events, mentoring, co-authoring novels....breath....what do you enjoy doing in your off-time?
CC :: I would say going out with friends and having fun. Since I am in the business of creating fun for clients, it's nice to cut loose and have fun for myself. I also still love hosting parties - dinner parties, cocktail parties, you name it!
DANI :: What is the best and the most challenging part that you find in planning an event?
CC :: My favorite part of planning an event is developing a relationship with our clients. It's a lifelong friendship that we build and I am so privileged to be trusted with such a monumental day in their lives - and that is never lost on me! I keep in touch with almost all of my former clients in some way or another, and it's gratifying to see their lives change and evolve after the wedding. The most challenging part...well, there are so many! Our job is rated as one of the most stressful jobs to have, and I'm here to confirm that! I suppose the biggest challenge I face is the persistent need for everything to be perfect. After you've worked with a client for over a year, you've developed a relationship and met their family and friends, you want their wedding to be everything they had hoped for. I take on all that stress, especially on the wedding day, because I care so much about the end product.
DANI :: If you had one piece of advice for lady-preneurs what would it be and why?
CC :: Be authentic. I don't think I can stress this enough. There are a lot of "trends" going on in business right now, but trends are fleeting. Don't worry about being trendy, worry about staying the course and doing it your way. Create that Blue Ocean in a sea of Red Oceans, girl, and build a business that is intrinsically you.
DANI :: What is the most empowering part of being a business owner?
CC :: Building and creating! I love business building and brainstorming. I love seeing how an idea I have for marketing translates into sales or a new opportunity. I love being in control and find it very gratifying to have the ability to shape my career destiny. That is also what keeps me up at night during times where business might be slow or not moving quickly enough, but it just pushes me to work harder!
DANI :: What's next for Candice Coppola?
CC :: Babies? Let's circle back to this question...my husband and I have seemed to live a life full of surprises (just like our elopement in July 2014!) so who knows what is next! Whatever is next for me, it will include Mr. Kistoo!
It sounds like Candice is not only living her dream (and in BEAUTIFUL Barbados...jealousy, much?!) but helping others to live theirs as well! It was a pleasure getting to know her a bit more, and we thank her for allowing us an insight into her empowering, bad ass business mindset as well! Thanks Candice!