Beate Chelette of Corbis: Living the American Dream

Beate Chelette is a woman full of dreams, talent, strength and business acumen. She came to the United States 17 years ago from Germany,determined to live her American dream. As an entrepreneur it was no easy path; she had her share of highs and lows before creating a successful interiors stock library, Beateworks. In March 2006, Beate sold that company to Corbis.

Beate describes her story as “crazy,” “adventurous,” “insane.”  She’s an overachiever who felt painfully mediocre growing up.  Her stubborn refusal to fail is ultimately what drives her: “I find opportunity in everything.”


Single Mother, Entrepreneur


One of her best talents as an enterpreneur — making money go a long way — grew from her experiences as a single mother.  “I hate waste; I recycle and reuse.  I even wear my daughter’s hand-me-downs. Working as a single parent is hard, with sacrifices galore.  Everyone is out having a good time in their 20s and 30s, and I was taking care of a child.  While they did couples weekends, I went to the playground. Not that I have regrets — being a Mom is still the best job in the world.  But I did not fit in, and that was an emotional challenge.”


Why did she sell Beateworks when she did? “It was time, that’s all.  I had a great idea at the right time and it worked.  As a specialty business you have limited revenue ability, and I was not going to be a general library and try to compete with Getty and Corbis.  The moment the product was ready, it was time to put it on the market, and I got to reap the reward.”


In the year since the Corbis acquisition, her life has been busy — but rewarding. “They had a great integration plan and I still get to work with qualified, smart people.” 


Life with Corbis


Beateworks, Outline, and InsideOutPix are now all Corbis entities, with Beate acting as senior director of entertainment for Corbis. “There is tremendous growth potential and great customer reputation,” Beate said about Corbis. “Not only does Corbis attract innovation, they take their business very seriously, always on the lookout for the cutting edge in imagery. Together we are determined to bring the world’s most relevant At-Home imagery to clients.”


Beate made her name in niche imagery for advertising and publishing, specifically in the Celebrity At-Home segment (now [email protected]) that showcases hard-to-find celebrity homes. Her business has been defined by uniqueness, quality and positive expression. Beateworks images have been used in ads for financial institutions, consumer electronics, builder’s magazines, design and style publications—venues that require beautiful images of homes, interiors, architecture and style. For example, Russia’s Architectural Digest recently featured [email protected] images of supermodel Naomi Campbell’s house.


“One must woo clients, actively pursue leads, respond in reasonable time frames with good customer service and great quality,” Beate said. “Price is

not always the issue, as long as you are within industry standards.”


As to the future, Beate believes her imagery has vast potential at Corbis, where the royalty-free collection InsideOutPix has grown by an astonishing 1,000 percent, and even the return per image (RPI) price is up. Beate will continue to help Corbis grow, find wonderful imagery, lecture, raise her daughter, write and paint.  She has also authored an upcoming personal memoir and advice book, the appropriately titled Women Who Want it All (and Get it, Too).

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