Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in skincare but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Dina Omar of Palestinian Soap Cooperative, located in Berkeley, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We're a cooperative, or democratically run and mutually owned, distributor of traditional Palestinian olive oil soap. We promote this historic and wonderful product and manage orders in the US market for three soap factories in Nablus, mostly wholesale to stores of different kinds, as well as some retail.
Tell us about yourself
The year we started, I was finishing a degree at Yale studying Palestinian history and issues, and I wanted another way to connect with Palestine that was more everyday and practical — thus, the cooperative, basing itself on one of the finest products of the country, was born. And that's the biggest motivation for our work: the joy of working with the factories in Nablus and building new relationships here in the US.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Applying my abilities as a scholar to be able to manage a complex commercial business.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
It should be much easier to file taxes! I often say that our country has been able to put a human being on the moon and send rovers to Mars, but when it comes to taxes, we are still in the era of the Pony Express.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Only sell products you believe in and about which you can be honest with customers. Sell products that the more you learn about how they're made, the better, not worse, they get. The Palestinian tradition is one of honest and honorable business, but you have to choose products that enable you to reach that ideal.
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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