Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in skin care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Evelyne Nyairo, Founder of Ellie Bianca, located in Calgary, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
My business is a luxury beauty and natural wellness brand founded on three pillars: Kind To Your Skin, Kind To The Earth, and Kind To Women. While our products are made for all skin types, Ellie Bianca's product lines cater to women and men of all ages, including adolescents, and millennials, to pre, during, and post-menopausal women. Our Naked skin line is suited for men, and during COVID-19, we introduced our Essentials Line, which includes Hand Soap, Hand Sanitizers, and now Hand & Body Lotions.
Tell us about yourself
While doing fieldwork in central Africa, among the beautiful mango trees in Chad. I watched as children and their mothers climbed trees to harvest mangoes for me to buy. When I went to purchase the fruit, I was asked to pay the husband as a sign of respect, even though his wife had served me the mangoes. "I felt a knot of anger and thought to myself: This happens everywhere around the world, just in different ways." I was motivated to create opportunities for women to excel. I was determined I could do this by building a business. "But not just any business — a thriving business that is going to make an impact." And that's how my brand Ellie Bianca started.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
It's so hard to pick just one! Some of my biggest accomplishments are that we own all of our formulations. We formulate everything from scratch, including research and development, to manufacturing and marketing. We are involved in every stage of the way. We are always creating opportunities for women. This is done through creating employment and education opportunities. Which why we introduced our Ellie Bianca Woman Scholarship to encourage more single mothers to enroll and graduate from post-secondary studies. Our foundation provides support to boys and girls in Kenya, where 20 young people helped by the foundation have graduated from university. We are proud recipients of the 2021 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards and Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub Micro-Business Award. But my biggest accomplishment is motherhood and juggling it all. I want to show my daughter that there's no challenge or barrier that she can't overcome.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
There are constantly lots of challenges that one has to overcome. Sometimes it's as simple as staying motivated and constantly being excited about your business, and you can imagine we're in a super competitive industry, competing with make-up brands that have big budgets for marketing, and sometimes you'll be knocking at doors, and people look at you like you must be out of your mind. It comes down to breaking those barriers, honing in on your vision and power and sticking with it, and being consistent.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- You have to be committed, continuous, and connected. Commitment to your business, yes, but you have to be committed to yourself as well.
- You have to show up even if you don't want to. Persistence is key.
- Be afraid but do it anyways.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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