With her journalistic work for Le Vif L’Express, her association Touche Pas à Ma Pote, and her new women’s club and “nest” Beabee, Béa Ercolini is quite busy. And if there’s a common topic to her different activities, it’s definitely the feminist cause that is so dear to her. Story to Line being the first e-shop selling Belgian fashion designers who all happen to be female, we naturally turned to the Belgian businesswoman and former Elle Belgium’s editor-in-chief to talk about being a female entrepreneur and empowering women.
A multitasking businesswoman
We had the pleasure of meeting Béa Ercolini in Beabee office on Avenue Louise in Brussels. A long staircase led us to a beautiful space where a meeting had taken place a few hours earlier. As Béa started to explain it to us, she launched the women’s club Beabee with her associate Dominika Herzig in October 2017. They have a rich program of activities – business breakfasts, lunches, workshops and glamour dinners – and each one has its own essence. In only three months, one hundred members paid their year membership. One hundred others participate occasionally. “I love women but I also love men!” Béa tells us. Men are welcome, but spending moments with women creates a special energy, she says.
As a journalist, she writes her own column Des chiffres et des femmes for Le Vif/L’Express, with which she always begins by giving an indisputable number taken from studies, to help demonstrate there are problems in the society.
With her NGO Touche Pas à Ma Pote of which she’s the founder and president, she organizes campaigns against street harassment and sexist insults, and sends actors into schools to perform improvisational plays. At the end of this school year, they will have played in front of 14 000 young Belgians in French and Dutch.
Becoming a mentor as a female entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur hasn’t always been easy. Back in the eighties when Béa first started her self-employed career, she had to deal with quite a few problems. She thinks now is a better moment, an easier context to be an entrepreneur, especially as a woman. There’s some kind of trend and effervescence.
”Diane Von Fürstenberg really mentored me
“Here, when we have a new member, we mentor her”, Béa tells us. She and Dominika really listen and help, or ask someone they know to help, which makes Beabee an interesting partner. Mentoring is also about empowering.
Many professional experiences have built the career and the address book of this woman who used to be mentored by Diane Von Fürstenberg and has now become a mentor for young entrepreneurs.
She also cites Michelle Obama as one of her biggest inspirations. Besides, the portraits of these two inspiring and powerful businesswomen will soon be framed in Beabee offices.
Empowering women by listening to their stories
“With Beabee, I feel like I’m eating caviar every day”, Béa tells us. Beabee is indeed welcoming incredibly interesting guest speakers: fashion designers such as Delvaux’s artistic director, fashion journalists such as Parisian writer Sophie Fontanel, Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi…
Listening to women who have stories to tell, seeing how fast they go to develop businesses and find solutions feeds her every day.
Béa thinks it’s important as a female fashion entrepreneur to have a clear vision of her business and what she wants it to become. Working with a partner is also a great source of pleasure: “finding your complement, who’s very similar and very different than you is the key to happiness”, she says of her partner Dominika.
Story to Line designers’ piece of advice
More than ever, female entrepreneurship is making an impact on today’s fashion world. Two of Story to Line fashion designers are also giving advice and telling us what they think is the most important quality for a female entrepreneur.