After attending a couple of Vancity Business Babes events, it became quite obvious that I needed to learn more about the woman behind the brand. When you see her at an event, she stands with confidence as she speaks about the community and why she finds it just so inspiring. 'Why' you may ask? Her transparency and vulnerability in itself is inspiring. With that, you learn that this heart-felt woman is attracting others just like herself. And this is why the VCBB community is growing at the rate that it is. Below, you'll read our chat with Danielle Wiebe, founder of VCBB, and how she is connecting with like-minded women and building a brand by doing so.
1. Do you run this meetup full time, or what do you do outside of the networking community?
After graduating university in 2013, I spent a year and half working in different jobs. When I started the VCBB events, I was working full time and then I also had just started a business in health and wellness industry.
I realized very quickly that I wanted to control my own time and schedule. So, I started networking at that time and would attend many different networking events. Through this, I would meet different business owners to try and figure out what I wanted to do. For me, I’ve always loved business, but realized that there were certain businesses that go well with my personality. For me, starting with Arbonne was a good fit as it gave me the flexibility and lifestyle I was looking for. Simultaneously, I started hosting networking events in fall 2014. They went really well and I was enjoying hosting these events, and In January 2015, I branded VCBB and made it my own business.
About 8 months in, after working my 2 businesses and also working Full time, I quit my full time job and started focusing more on my businesses, one being a consultant for Arbonne. I started that business alongside my full time job.
2. What made you want to start this community?
It was the fact that when I was going to networking events, I sometimes felt they were too business-minded. I wanted mine to be educational, fun and an opportunity to connect in an authentic way. Less about just business, but more on speaking about other issues revolving around business growth with success and setbacks.
3. Why brand it specifically towards ‘babes’?
Women can sometimes let their guard down more when there’s just other women in the room. They tend to feel more comfortable and feel free to share openly. Not that there’s anything wrong with a mix of genders. But women go through different stages in business than what men sometimes experience. Their struggles can be different. So, women can relate together for example, about raising kids while in business. Or being paid for what they’re worth (that they may deal with in a corporate setting). It’s a chance to open up about any issue without judgement or feeling strange about any of it. I want my events to be about learning, making connections and friendships, possibly help each other in business and building those relationships. That was my vision. I look for speakers who are willing to be vulnerable and can share the imperfections of their business. I’m really mindful on who I ask to speak as well. I want them to be relatable and to empower the other women. People have a perception that success is often an overnight thing. Within a couple years, it can look that way, but you don’t see the hardships, time and energy they had to put into the years before they found ‘success’. And I think it’s important to share that.
4. What are your growth objectives for the next 1-5 years?
It’s always been about impact in the community and making those in-depth connections with people and not surface-level connections. I want to help people through the process. So in turn, people feel that they have this community for themselves. That’s my main goal in everything that I do. Going forward, I plan to continue to create events that are impactful and excited for people to come to.
At the back of my mind: I’d like to possibly do some sort of retreat. Whether a weekend or a couple days where we do more in depth workshops and talks in regards to sharing, setting goals and to tap into our creative side. What’s holding me back is that it’s fairly different from anything I’ve done before. I need to make sure there’s a need and desire for it before moving ahead.
Also, I’m getting really involved in the local community like, with The Gift of Giving in helping sponsor women in the downtown east side. Collaborating to give back, which builds community as well. I want to break the stigma that Vancouverites are cold and not friendly. There are so many people that are so open who really want to collaborate. But people may just be scared. I want to break that down and create a space for women to connect whether through monthly events or retreats. I know that online community building is huge, which I’ve seen in my own business through social media. I also envision maybe creating an online community where people outside Vancouver (globally) can connect with one another. I’m not sure what that looks like yet, but it’s also on the back of my mind. I want to be careful I don’t rush into things before I’m sure what the purpose is behind it though. Whenever I do something, I want to make sure there’s a lot of purpose behind it, that people are getting value from it and they understand exactly what they’re receiving.
6. How has meeting individual business women changed how you approach your business?
It definitely has. Every event, I gain so much and I am usually hanging on to every word these women are sharing and saying. It’s really cool to learn from women in totally different industries. From Mom entrepreneurs, PR, media people, young entrepreneurs…there’s a whole range. Everyone has their own skillset and ideas when it comes to business. I think the biggest thing I have learned is that the more authentic you are and more you share openly and honestly, people are drawn to you. Especially on social media, people are looking for authenticity. While creating relationships offline, I like to see past what you can get on social. I think that’s why I love different Instagram stories because I get to see behind-the-scenes. In person, we can hear and see more. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, everyone has the same fears and doubts. The community of women that I’ve met have all been amazing and supportive of me. Because I’ve shared my own struggles, others have appreciated that and in turn, they want to be a part of it.
A big thing in entrepreneurship, is that people may feel isolated. They are often alone in going down that path. They’ve all felt discouraged and frustrated. It helps to come back and find others who understand them. And I wanted that too. To feel that there’s others who understand what I’m going through. My friends and family were working traditional jobs and it was hard to connect or for them to understand what I was doing in the beginning. Certain people can make you doubt what you’re doing. But if the community is there, it confirms that “okay, it is possible.” It’s hard, will be a lot of work but can be worth it.
7. What’s a typical day like for you?
They are all so different. An average week has two days for just meetings. Usually my meetings are in Vancouver. The other three, I try to stay home and have local meetings in Langley. An average day: waking up with breakfast right away. I try to start my day with listening, journaling and reading before looking at emails, which can dictate your mood. Right now, I’m doing a 30-day video challenge: you do a gratitude journal, 30 minute of personal development and then a live video. I try to write down at least 3 major things I should get done that day and try to complete as soon as possible. Rest of the day is replying to emails, connecting with my other business. Once a day, I try to engage on social media. I take a lot of breaks from my computer (make tea, eat lunch, quick walk) to help with my productivity. Sometimes it doesn’t go as planned (she laughs). If I had a perfect day, that’s sort of what it would look like.
Interested in knowing more about this community? Visit Vancity Business Babes and sign up for the next event!