Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Oana B., Owner of HONEYLUX, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
HoneyLux is an environmentally conscious, female-run luxury silk business from Toronto, Canada, focused on creating high-quality, pure silk accessories at an affordable price. Our main goal is to combine both luxury and sustainability while providing women with the great benefits of silk, such as anti-aging, anti-hair crease, and anti-frizz. My customers are women 20 years old and up who turn to higher-quality accessories to improve their hair and skin and who simply seek a luxurious alternative to improve their daily beauty routine.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Oana B., and I am the owner of HoneyLux. I started my company at the beginning of the pandemic, close to 3 years ago. HoneyLux was a side project to learn more about my potential in sales, business, and entrepreneurship - something which I've always been curious about but was never able to explore previously. With a BSc in Life Sciences and no past business courses, I started a career in Pharmaceutical Sales with great sales performance. This is what encouraged me to try sales for myself, and since I've always been passionate about luxury fabrics, I decided to start a silk business during my free time. Growing up in Romania, I remember my grandmother always sewing her own silk pillowcases and quality fabrics being so readily accessible. After moving to Canada, I noticed the high price point of luxury silk, and, knowing the endless benefits of this natural fiber, I realized this would be a great opportunity to create my own line of (more affordable) custom silk products. Each day, I ask myself, "how can I grow my business today?" and set career goals along the way, which motivates me to push forward and not give up. On the harder days, I remind myself of how far I've come, the amazing feedback I've had from customers, and the wonderful friendships I've created with other fellow entrepreneurs.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment has to be surpassing the 400 retailers with which we work with currently. I pivoted to B2B wholesale as my main business structure vs. B2C, and this has grown my brand, my reach, and my connections in the beauty product industry significantly. Honeylux items are sold in salons, spas, and boutiques, and the fact that beauty professionals love and recommend my products to their clients and patients is surreal.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The biggest challenge for me has always been and continues to be time management. As business owners, most of us don't work a simple 9-5; we work 24/7. I find it hard to manage a daily routine and stick to it, as my day-to-day duties are so different and hard to plan ahead for. I find it very easy to get burnt out without properly scheduled breaks, work hours, etc. Being able to disconnect from your business and find the balance between work and personal life is extremely hard, especially when I am working to build my business from the ground up and my team is still quite small. To help with these challenges, my agenda has become my best friend. I've started planning my days and incorporating a strict schedule for my workouts, time with family and friends, etc.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Do not quit the first year - I heard somewhere that 9/10 businesses close after the first year. This is because it is challenging to see a noticeable revenue in the first 12mo, and you're basically working with no return. My advice is if you can push past the first 12-16 months, you really shouldn't quit, as there are enough opportunities and potential for all entrepreneurs to have their chance at running a successful business. My favorite quote: "The harder you work.., the luckier you become."
- As soon as you can, take it full-time - as a young entrepreneur, I was given the advice to take a chance and quit my Pharma job 1.5 years into HoneyLux, and take it full-time. This was the BEST decision; although very risky and scary, I went all in and took the change seriously by putting all my energy and effort into it. I was able to grow my revenue eightfold in the following 12 full-time months, and this was all thanks to the switch.
- Start now, perfect later - I always speak with new entrepreneurs who, like myself, are guilty of being perfectionists. However, I learned that in e-commerce (or any business, for that matter), you will always find ways to improve your work, and it's hard to perfect something at the beginning of your journey. The best is to launch the brand, start the line of products, open the website, etc., and just START, so you can learn and gain insights on how to improve as you go.
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.
Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.