Ever wondered how someone makes it as their own boss? What it takes to run your own business? We here at VIP are speaking to some of Ireland’s top businesswomen to find out the secrets to their success.
This week we’re chatting to Ekari Maele, founder of haircare brand Golden Rootz about everything from managing the work/life balance, to what inspires her daily.
Ekari, have you always dreamed of owning your own business?
Owning my own business has been my longest dream! Fortunately enough, I was influenced at a very young age watching my parents run their own businesses. I don’t ever recall them working for anyone. This shaped my thinking and attitude towards focusing on ownership of something valuable.
What have been the biggest challenges you have faced so far?
Staying focused on Golden Rootz while having another job has been very challenging. However, I do what I can, when I can and I give it my all. The other challenge has been getting the product out there. When I first started I was mainly selling to friends and people they might know. Eventually, you exhaust that circle and breaking out of it has been hard. The goal was to go nationwide, attracting a bigger customer base which now seems to be manifesting.
Do you find that you often bring your work home?
I have an online store so my business is run from home. My work life and home life are somewhat entangled.
How do you balance work and home life as a business owner?
I am still working on that and figuring it out as I go. At the moment it really all depends on the week. Some weeks are busier than others and therefore require more production. This can take up more family time. My ideal week would be working Monday to Friday but sometimes the weekends also become work days. During quiet weeks I have more time to spend with my family and do other things. The advantage of running your own business is setting your own hours and putting in the work at any time you see fit. My goal is to come up with a balanced work/home schedule which hasn’t been successful as of late.
What advice would you give a young woman who wants to be her own boss?
Just go for it! Don’t overthink it and do not procrastinate, just do it. No dream is too far-fetched when you really believe in it and put in the work. There is no limit to your capabilities once you set things in motion. Every step you take gets you closer to your dream and you don’t know where that dream might take you until you try. Do not wait for anyone to give you your dream because you have all the tools and vision to make it a reality. Always be willing and have a passion to learn because there is always room for improvement. Growth comes when you step out of your comfort zone and try new things. The other important thing is to work with people, create a network to get your business out there. You will make a lot of sacrifices to get to where you want to be. When things get hard never give up just keep pushing.
Tell us about the role of your team in the business.
At the moment my team is just my husband and I. Every day is a learning phase for us as we figure out our roles and create new ones. We are both involved in every aspect of the business from acquiring raw materials, production, packaging to shipping, accounting and marketing. We have learned how to work together as business partners. We may not always agree on things but we both have a shared passion for this business and are strongly committed to the success. Our partnership is vital to business growth and its overall success.
What has been your biggest business mistake?
My biggest mistake was lack of consistency, especially at the start. Consistency is a key driver of any business.
What lessons did it teach you?
I have learned that no matter what happens you just have to keep on moving. Have the curiosity to see what would happen if you never stop pushing. I always live by the phrase ‘It’s never too late’. Everything happens the way it’s meant to happen. You can still turn things around even when all hope is lost. Even if you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel, the only light you need is within you.
What has been your biggest achievement?
We have been getting increased recognition through social media and other platforms. So far we have shipped so many orders nationwide and UK. Our biggest achievement thus far has been shipping to mainland Europe, the USA and also as far as Australia.
What woman in business inspires you the most?
The woman that inspires me the most in business is Rochelle Graham Campbell, founder of million-dollar beauty brand Alikay Naturals. It is now one of the most sought after Natural Hair Care brands with recent launches in Walmart, Target and CVS stores in USA.
What are your plans for the next five years?
Well, we have so many things planned out and would love to become a recognised brand in different retail stores, particularly in Boots. We would also like to have a physical store too, where people can come and experience Golden Rootz products.