Business Women Who Lead

How Valeria Lipovetsky Grew a Community of Over 1 Million Followers

Valeria Lipovetsky

Navigating the social media landscape as a content creator is no easy task, especially if you’re looking to harness the medium to build a business. In an environment that is already oversaturated and full of noise, how do you make sure your voice is heard? Valeria Lipovetsky has not only managed to figure it out, she’s laying down the bricks of a foundation for a future empire.

Lipovetsky’s journey to becoming a content creator was built on the intentions of authenticity and bringing value to her audience. Along the way, she has carved out a path as an entrepreneur.

After getting her holistic nutrition degree, Lipovetsky decided to share her knowledge with others through a blog. However, launching a blog in 2016 proved to be hard—everyone had a blog. So, in an attempt to push herself out of her comfort zone and reach new audiences, Lipovetsky turned to YouTube.

It was through making videos and exploring other facets of her interests that Lipovetsky began to see her audience grow—all the way to over 1.5 million online followers. They regularly see content about fashion, beauty, health and motherhood from the former model and mother of three. Now, Lipovetsky wants her followers to see all of the work that goes into building a personal brand.

“When I started, I was in my twenties, and I just assumed that, ‘Okay, I’m going to do this and it’s going to go viral and it’s going to just happen,’” she said. “This idea [of an overnight sensation] that we’re all getting exposed to on a daily basis is an illusion.”

Lipovetsky regularly shows her audience behind the scenes of VALERIA INC., which includes videographers and a personal assistant. Her steadfast commitment to authenticity and transparency is what draws audiences in and has allowed her to grow a dedicated following.

After proving herself to be a voice on all things fashion and beauty, Lipovetsky took a leap into entrepreneurship and e-commerce by launching Leia; a collection of items that are tried, tested, and trusted by the content creator, which she knows her audience will love.

“I’m interested in so many different things. With certain products, I’ve said, ‘Well, if I could just change that, if I could just have that, if it could just be a little bit different,’” she said. “Once we had the audience, it just made sense to start creating products with that little tweak here and a little signature thing there.”

If Lipovetsky’s venture into e-commerce is as successful as her content creation, Leia is set to become a go-to for the fashionable set. For this week’s Women Who Lead spotlight, we talk with Valeria Lipovetsky: mother, entrepreneur and content creator about building a personal brand and all of the lessons that come with it.

Q&A

You’re creating content basically everyday and pushing out new stuff all the time. What kind of impact do you hope your content has? What goes through your mind when you brainstorm content concepts?

At the end of the day, I think the impact that is important for me is making people feel like they’re not alone. I feel like we’re all dealing with similar struggles or thoughts or habits we’re trying to break. Although from the outside, it all looks like everyone has different circumstances, we’re kind of collectively going through very similar things. And I think the pandemic was a perfect example: we were all in the same boat, no matter where you’re from or what you do. So, when I create content, I just want to bring value. That value can be in the form of information, or helping you feel like you’re not alone, or even making you laugh for a second. 

For me, my motto is really to not take myself too seriously. That’s why I’m really spreading myself into different areas of interests, like fashion and self-love. I want to really just try to bring as much value as I can in whatever it is that interests me.

Image provided by VALERIA INC.

In exploring all of those different facets of your interests from fashion to health and whatnot, have you had any big lessons in growing an online audience? 

I think it’s a very fine balance between data and gut feeling. Being on a platform where you can evaluate the content that you put out there, through analytics and things like that, I think it’s amazing. It makes the process of getting from point A to point B much faster. You can see what works and what doesn’t. However, I think it also requires a certain self-awareness to look at certain topics that you are interested in and be like, ‘You know what? This is something that I want to push and I’ll have to re-educate my audience, that this is now part of my brand as well.’ There’s nothing wrong with constantly evolving. We are always changing as people. 

When I started with nutrition, if I would’ve continued only with nutrition, I probably wouldn’t be here today because the passion and the drive these other facets gave me is what brought me here. So I think it’s important to really sit and figure out ‘Okay, the evolution of my brand—what makes sense, but also what does the audience want to see?’ Maybe you combine the format of something that people enjoy watching and a subject that interests you together. Find that sweet spot for content. 

In terms of keeping that authentic online persona, why is that so important to you and to being successful as a business in general?

Honestly, it’s important because I wouldn’t be able to do it any other way. I’m raising three boys and I have this whole grown-up life that I’m leading. I feel like if I had to play a persona for my content, it wouldn’t be sustainable for me. This is my life. This is who I am. What you see is what you get. The end. 

So to me, that’s why authenticity is important. At the end of the day, when you want to connect with people, there’s no other way. We live in a world today that’s all about transparency and authenticity. People can spot from a mile away when you’re just playing a role. I think that we have enough of that. Authenticity is about coming as you are and showing up.

An extension of that success and growing your own authentic online persona content is Leia. How did that come about and what inspired that new venture?

Leia is actually my Hebrew name, which is where the name came from. For me, I always knew that there would be a day when I was going to have my own brand because I’m interested in so many different things. With certain products, I’ve said, ‘Well, if I could just change that, if I could just have that, if it could just be a little bit different.’

Once we had the audience, it just made sense to start creating products with that little tweak here and a little signature thing there. It came very naturally.

Images provided by VALERIA INC.
Images provided by VALERIA INC.
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For Leia, how would you say it’s different from creating a tangible product versus creating your content? What has been the difference there and do you have a love for one more than the other right now? 

It’s very different. The beauty of social media is that it’s instant. If I have an idea or I want to say something, I can film a video and post it the next day or within an hour. With the product, it’s just such a long process. You have to go through everything: you have to design, you have to manufacture, you want to make sure everything is sustainable. It’s a completely different kind of rhythm, but I’m happy that I get to experience both. 

I think they complement each other. With Leia it reminds me to be patient and to really trust the process. Whereas, with my content, up until now, it was go, go, go. So, they complement each other—definitely two different processes. I can’t say which one I love more because I just feel like it’s a very good combination right now.

You often take people behind the scenes of content creation. You make it very well known that, ‘It’s not just me running this entire thing. I have a whole team behind me.’ What’s something else you wish people knew about the business behind content creation? 

I think that everything that I want people to know, I’m trying to capture. I’m trying to show that it’s a process, even the 15-second TikToks that you see, or the one-minute videos. All of those take so much time and resources and ideation, and at the end of the day, that’s how it is. I feel like with social media, up until recently, you’d see people start from here [at the bottom] and all of a sudden they’re there [at the top], but no one really shows this crazy process. I think it’s very healthy for all of us to see how there are ups and downs, and it’s really difficult and it takes so much time. 

I also want to show that passion and discipline are the main forces of everything. With social media, I’m so grateful that we have the ability to really make whatever it is that we want out of ourselves. For me, I just really want to make sure that I’m capturing and showing people as much as I can, that it’s not a one-person show and it takes a lot to create anything that is worth putting out there.

What has been your biggest lesson so far—whether it be with content creation or building Leia—that has pivoted your course or really made you to step back and rethink things?

I think the biggest lesson was definitely learning to trust the process. When I started, I was in my twenties, and I just assumed that, ‘Okay, I’m going to do this and it’s going to go viral and it’s going to just happen.’ This idea [of an overnight success] that we’re all getting exposed to on a daily basis is an illusion. Building Leia and building my personal brand, it really showed me that it’s the process and the journey—it’s not necessarily a goal that I want to reach—but that everyday hustle that makes everything exciting and fun. All the hard work, it’s totally worth it. 

Image provided by VALERIA INC.

Looking towards the future, what do you hope happens with VALERIA INC. and Leia?

I don’t know. I feel like in today’s climate, it’s difficult to look five, 10 years ahead because the world can go upside down three times until then. I think at the end of the day, I just really want to be surrounded with passionate people that love what they do. We’re in the business of content and marketing, and I see it [VALERIA INC.] growing into a really great media company. With Leia, I hope it becomes a lifestyle brand that represents me. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I’m excited to keep doing the hard work and seeing how it goes. 

Do you have any kind of favourite quote that you look back on when you need to push yourself a little further?

There’s so much self doubt when it comes to entrepreneurs and there’s not necessarily people around me that I can turn to to be like, ‘Hey, is this normal? Hey, is that the right decision to make?’ because this is still a new industry and what we do is not very common. From really immersing myself with stories of other entrepreneurs and other innovators, honestly, what I’ve learned is that no one really knows what they’re doing. Like, ever. 

It doesn’t matter how educated, how accomplished you are. If you’re the CEO of Coca Cola or of Uber, you don’t know what you’re doing. And I feel like it’s about looking at the situation as it is, trusting your gut, having your data to back you up and just going for it. It’s better to make any decision that will lead you to another one, rather than just sitting in that one indecisive place, waiting for the perfect answer, because there is never a perfect answer.

As this is a Women Who Lead spotlight, are there any women in your life that you really look up to, or that has really inspired you and the path that you’ve gone on?

There’s not just one. As I’ve gotten older as a woman and gained a better understanding of the power that women have and the magic in them, I feel like everywhere I look around, whether it’s my mother or our team members, every day I’m inspired by a certain quality or a certain something that I see women do. And it just makes me want to become a better person or better myself. So I can’t say, ‘It’s this one person.’ I feel like it’s all around us. If we choose to see it, there’s so much inspiration out there with the way people live their lives and carry themselves and speak. So, I can’t pinpoint just one.

Right now you’re so open with your life and share everything online, do you feel like there will ever be a point where you decide to step back from it?

I feel like the reason why I share a lot of my life right now is because I truly feel like the lessons and experiences that I’m going through have a benefit [to share]. I know a lot of people can look at all the content and think, ‘Oh my God, your whole life is out there.’ It’s really not. The really important, personal things are kept personal. However, a lot of the stuff that we show, like the kids, my interaction with my husband, our relationship, growing the business—a lot of these things are experiences that I learned from. And if I can share and enlighten someone or share a kind of direction with someone that watches my content. I mean, what’s better than that, right? 

That’s the mark that I want to leave. If someone is watching my vlog and sees how I interact with my husband or sees how I interact with my children and that inspires something in them to take a certain action or to change something in the course of their lives, I think that’s so powerful. And that’s why I think I feel so open and grateful that I’m able to share my life with people, because that’s what drives me to keep doing it. 

In the future, if l feel like, ‘I really have nothing else valuable to share,’ I definitely won’t share it. I want someone to watch my content to feel good, or have an insight into something that maybe they’re not exposed to in their immediate environment, and maybe it can change their lives.

Image provided by VALERIA INC.

And speaking of that, do you have any specific kind of comment or reach out from someone who watches your content that has stuck with you?

I’m so blessed to have such an amazing community of people that really feels like a family. I know there’s other online communities and other influencers that deal with a lot of negativity, and I have to say that, we’ve really managed to build an amazing supportive community. People reach out to me and say, ‘You made me take the plunge and move to another country and go study medicine’ or ‘Just by watching your vlogs and the way you view a certain situation made me realize that I need to unlearn certain habits.’ I can’t point to one big one; it’s a lot of these small ones that keep giving me that fuel to keep doing what I do.

If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?

What I’ve realized is that I wouldn’t want to give any advice to my younger self because if I knew better, if I was at a place with a little more insight, self awareness, or understanding of my worth, I might have not made the choices that I made that got me here. I’ve gone through experiences that were heartbreaking, but they were those building blocks to who I am today. It’s just so liberating to be like, ‘I would tell nothing to my younger self [laughs]. You continue doing whatever you’re doing. You’re good.’

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