We had the good fortune of connecting with Bella Caetano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bella, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
My Quote affirmation is “Don’t be afraid of yourself, be Gracefully Bold”. I wrote this quote myself after a marketing project I did for my brand. At that time Ana Luiza from DGRD brands guided me through this beautiful journey of mapping our ideal customer. We had countless hours trying to find a unique term that would describe this strong yet delicate woman that I kept on describing. I would go on and on saying that this woman is ambitious, she wants to be respected for her hard work but without losing the right to be feminine. My ideal customer was screaming BOLD woman but I could not rest thinking that this same woman might be afraid of losing her femininity in the process of becoming a successful one. Little did I know that those thoughts were a projection of my own fears and that my ideal customer was someone just like myself, a woman who have tried so hard to balance power and femininity. Sometimes to me, it felt that I had to be one or the other. I had to be either the owner of Bellina Caetano or the wife of my husband. A focused business player or someone who was a few steps ahead but still could take some time to help another woman. A woman who left Brazil determined to build a life in the US or a scared little girl who asked God to guide her path even though she did not know what was ahead. These were basically my projections and when Ana scheduled our final meeting to reveal the name she had chosen to describe this woman I was amazed. Gracefully Bold checked all the boxes and was a very new term at the beginning of 2019 and still is to this date. We were the first ones to trademark the two words together and I strongly believe that Bellina caetano is starting a new movement. The quote came a little later on after soaking in all that we had accomplished in those weeks of work. I was sitting down and realizing all that women are capable of and I kept thinking how scary it is when you finally encounter your full potential. How scary it is when you realize that your extraordinary dreams are going to change people’s lives. However, at the same time, you are still at the starting line and everything seems just so big for your tiny and fragile self. How not be afraid of that? How not to doubt yourself and decide to quit instead or not even start. How not to dare that it will be too hard and you might not be willing to give up on everything to conquer something so big. Well, that feeling was scary because not many people are telling women that it is ok to take breaks, it is ok to be all in and still play the game at your own feminine pace, no one is telling us that getting our nails done is not luxury it is self-care. The message is in fact that a woman who looks too well put together, too feminine, too kind probably don’t have the boldness that it takes to be a strong leader. What if I tell you that NO, those beliefs are false ones and the world needs more leaders with the sensibility of women, with the meticulous care of a mother, the willingness of a good sister. So, don’t be afraid of yourself, be Gracefully Bold. This quote has been my mantra especially in 2020 and what I like most about it is that it remind me that there is nothing wrong with being both Grafefull and Bold. The two words do not just sound so good together, they belong together and I will continue on the mission of spreading this message to as many women as I can.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a jewelry designer by accident! I am crazy about the idea of creating jobs in Brazil through my art and I am not afraid of going into a mine of amethyst to make sure we have the best natural gemstones to produce my designs. My first attempt at formal education was architecture, which was my life for three years until I realized that a degree was not going to make me happy. I loved my design classes, I loved being creative and having a natural entrepreneur spirit I knew that what I really wanted was the ability to be inventive and free. In the summer of 2015 in Brazil, I quit school and ventured into becoming an entrepreneur with the hopes of studying jewelry design one day. I made a logo, bought some Brazilian jewelry, an airplane ticket to live in Chicago, convinced my American boyfriend to marry me and that is how I started what is my life today. Fast forward I never had the chance to formally study jewelry design but instead, I had the courage to start sketching based on my life experiences. I found the best partners in Brazil to produce it and made sure to fly back to Brazil to choose all my natural gemstones. The result was a collection of rings, earrings, and necklaces made with semi-precious gemstones never seen before, thanks to my architectural background and the sensibility to listen to what women really wanted to wear as jewelry. I always say that I love listening to our customers because I use my ears to translate their feelings into jewelry and the final product resonates so much with them that it is inevitable not to want to wear it. The business that was created from selling my designs has evolved to a strong community of women who wants to belong to an environment of sisterhood and support. It turns out that what sets my work apart from other designers is not the jewelry itself but how women feel when they wear it and when they encounter this group of women that values personal growth so much.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I personally love quality time and surrounding myself with beauty. Those are the two things that in my opinion can not go wrong together. I always love to take my visitors for an afternoon tea experience, I love the one at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. The soft harp music, the sound of the water fountain right in the center, and the fact that it is a very long 3-course meal give plaint of time for a meaningful conversation. Walks are also one of my favorite thing to do and botanical gardens are my favorite for that, I love that there are no activities involved, the activity is actually not to have one and just soak in the stillness of nature led by the slow pace of a good walk. Last but not least for me there is nothing more fun than finding a new mini golf spot. I love the idea of playing like a kid while holding a beer and pretending you are an adult when in fact all you want is to let yourself go back to child mode when problems were something boring that adults do.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Ana Luiza from DGRD brands. She is another Brazilian woman living the American dream and she has an incredible sensibility for marketing. Ana found my brand in 2019 and invited me to participate in one of her projects which was one of the most valuable courses I have ever done. We came up with the Gracefully Bold term and I embraced it to be the center of my branding which has given me a beautiful community where women support other women. I will be forever grateful for her hard work.
All photos are paid photos I use for my brand and I have the rights to use them.