We met up with Camille Coppens, a Belgian alumna from the MiM class of 2017. She is the founder of the jewellery company Dazibao Antwerp and is currently working on expanding her brand internationally through an online shop.
What inspired you to start your own business?
Since I started my master’s at EADA, I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. My step-father is the CEO of a diamond trading company in Antwerp and I have been passionate about diamonds ever since he took on the role — I knew I wanted to work in this industry. I thought about how I could differentiate myself from all the competitors, and that is how I came up with Dazibao, a unique concept involving jewellery made from diamonds and gold combined with customer imagination and creativity. The idea is: “you are the designer, we are the crafters“. Customers have the chance to become part of a collaborative collection by providing the design and seeing their creation (which carries their first name) worn by other customers.
How did your EADA experience prepare you for your career as an entrepreneur?
Before EADA, I had absolutely no business skills. During the MiM programme, I learned all the skills I needed in order to create my own business plan and then, my own company. The cases methodology had a big impact; I still remember most of the cases and I can always link a real situation to a case that we discussed in class. I would definitely recommend the Master in Management to future entrepreneurs — in one year you will be ready to launch your own company, especially if you choose the entrepreneurship specialisation like I did.
What was the most important thing you learned during the leadership development modules?
The whole leadership development experience was by far the most important aspect of the programme for developing self-confidence, which is crucial for entrepreneurs! Moreover, the negotiation module still helps me every single day at work when I have to buy my diamonds or gold — I know exactly what to do and what to avoid during a negotiation.
What was the highlight of the programme for you?
The case study methodology was the best way to learn and to practice what I would need to do in real business situations. But, for me, the diversity in class was the best part of the whole programme, especially in terms of my current goal of expanding my brand abroad. The network you have after one year at EADA is truly impressive.
What was the most memorable moment of your master’s?
The best moment was the day of our Final Project presentation –seeing the reaction of the professors was proof that hard work and passion lead to success!
What advice would you offer to young professionals who want to launch their own business?
First of all, I would recommend trying to invest as little money as possible by asking for help from people you know to reduce your costs (a friend who knows how to create a website, an amateur photographer, etc).
My second recommendation would be to find a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors. This is the biggest strength of my jewellery brand and the reason why so many articles and interviews about the company have appeared in the press.
Last but not least, talk about your project as much as you can to receive constructive feedback from experienced people. People tend to avoid talking about their startup because they are scared that someone will “steal” the idea, but in reality, discussing it with people who have experience in this field is really worth it!