Deborah Koepper is the founder and owner of Deborah Koepper Beauty in Palm Beach. She's earned a reputation as one of the nation's most skilled estheticians and make-up artists, serving as stylist to First Lady Nancy Reagan and the make-up artist of choice for visiting White House dignitaries and diplomats. Today, Deborah's salon is frequented by high-profile fashion and entertainment clientele and is in demand for national advertising and television campaigns. We sat down with Deborah to discuss her career path, the impact of her mentor and what awareness International Women’s Day brings to the world.
"I have a heart for our country and the people who fought for our freedoms that allow me to do what I love"
Love what you do and get paid for it. A lot of people wait later in life to learn this lesson. It takes courage to follow your passions and dreams.
What has been your most rewarding experience so far in your career?
Every step is rewarding in different ways, but my four years in Washington with the Reagan White House were the most rewarding. Meeting and working with all the world leaders, starting programs like "Look Good, Feel Good" with Brown University which has gone around the world. We are a "can do" society that cares about the world. Most memorable experiences include standing in the Jacqueline Kennedy Rose Garden with Mrs. Reagan and waving to America for her birthday and playing Cinderella for a night while attending the Inaugural Ball.
How would you say focusing on relationships has contributed to your success? What advice would you give entrepreneurs who are building their company?
Plant seeds! Wherever your go, have good relationships with everyone. It will come back to you. Never let the small things ruin the big picture. Send personal “Thank you” notes. It is something that is dying in our society of Internet but sets you apart and ties the experience up with a bow.
Fashion and beauty trends are always evolving. How do you stay current on what’s popular among your clients?
To keep current, I attend NY Fashion Week twice a year and LA’s Fashion Week. They’re two different but important vibes for our industry and influence many magazines. I also visit movie sets, especially when my sister-in-law is working on a movie.
You have dedicated your life to making people feel beautiful and special. What is the secret to unlocking each person’s unique beauty?
Making them feel comfortable with me and then themselves. I see beauty in everyone.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “pledge for parity”, encouraging men and women to help accelerate gender equality. What do you think is the most important action people can take to support gender equality?
See the beauty in everyone!
Who has been your most impactful mentor and why?
My dad has been a consistent mentor, teacher and cheerleader my whole life. Whether it was his work ethic (never missing a day in 40 years), teaching me about money and saving or sizing up people, “dancing" as we called it he has consistently been there. He’s always been honest with me, picking me up and never saying, “I told you so.” He’s been married to my mom for 58 years. That requires a strong foundation and faith. Even though I am in beauty, these basics make you successful in any field you choose.
What do you think will change for women over the next 10 years?
Acceptance and confidence. Whether it’s success in the marketplace or being a stay-at-home mom, it’s all ok. We do not have to prove anything with our choices.
If you weren’t doing what you are doing now, what would you be doing instead?
Speaking globally on issues that change the world for the better. I have a heart for our country and the people who fought for our freedoms that allow me to do what I love.