Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with LaToya Stirrup, Co-Founder of KAZMALEJE, located in Miami, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
KAZMALEJE (cos-mol-o-gy) is a Miami-based company I started with my two sisters - LaTasha & LaTrice - to reinvent the wash day experience by creating innovative, lifestyle-amplifying hair tools and accessories that cater to the needs of the textured hair community. Our tools are made for those of us who have been told that our hair is too kinky, too dense, or too difficult to comb. We designed our hair tools to be sturdy and smooth to make detangling textured hair easy.
Tell us about yourself
The idea to start KAZMALEJE was sparked by our desire to solve our own haircare problems. We were tired of long wash days, unnecessary breakage while detangling, and hair tools that did not work. Instead of waiting for a big brand to identify and solve our problem, we took a chance and launched our business with our patent-pending, 5-star customer-rated KurlsPlus Detanglers - three uniquely designed hair tools that leverage the idea of finger detangling into a comb. Our vision for KAZMALEJE is to create a 360 lifestyle experience that elevates our customers' hair care routine into a self-care ritual centered on beauty and wellness. By turning pain points into moments of self-care, we are impacting how our customers think about and embrace their hair care regimen.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Honestly, our "biggest win" is every time we complete a milestone or successfully move through a "roadblock." Entrepreneurship is not a well-traveled road with a myriad of signposts to guide you along. There are definitely bumps in the road, but there are also bridges that come in the form of new resources, guidance, and insight that help to move you from point A to point B. Celebrating those moments when you are able to work through a challenge and/or complete a milestone is so important because those moments serve as fuel to keep you going.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
As an emerging brand, new challenges present themselves every day. However, as a founder with ad agency experience, one of the biggest challenges I have personally faced is taking my big ideas and adapting them to startup budgets. We have had to get creative, tap friends/colleagues, and DIY a lot of what we have done to build the brand. But I would not change it for the world because it gave us the opportunity to really get in the business and figure things out. It may not be the fastest approach, but the learnings are invaluable.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
If I could give other entrepreneurs three tips, they would be to do your research. I can't even tell you the number of pitch competitions I've been to where the same idea is being pitched by multiple people and/or reflects something that is currently on the market. My second tip would be to not be afraid to share your idea and ask for help. Oftentimes people try to navigate these waters alone. There are too many resources available to see your dream fail because you were not properly equipped to make it a success. You have to understand what you are good at and build a team that can fill in the gaps. My third piece of advice would be to never stop learning. New advancements are coming out every day. The moment you disconnect is the moment you become outdated.
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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