Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ren Lopa, Co-Founder of Wolf & Rabbit Inc., located in Tampa, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Women with high confidence make more money, have more fulfilling relationships, and aren't afraid to ask for (and get) what they want. The BIGGEST influence on confidence is... HAIR! Hairstylists have this unique opportunity to connect with their community and genuinely enrich the lives of the women who live in it each and every day.
Wolf & Rabbit Inc. was founded because we want to end the stereotype of the "Starving Artist" in the professional beauty industry! As a former hairstylist, I know the heart, compassion, talent, and work ethic it takes to be successful, and I want to empower other hairstylists to experience financial freedom and the elite reputation that the beauty industry deserves. The consumer market has changed so much in the past 4 years (let alone 10!) that it's important to help hairstylists filter through relevant information and tune out the noise so they can not only start booking high-end clients but also deliver show-stopping experiences to their clients every day they walk into the salon.
From the perspective of the everyday woman, our mission helps them have more clarity around hair products, beauty trends, and the experts they choose to trust. With the rise of influencers and spon-con (sponsored content on social media that is not always disclosed) - it can be really confusing. So the better hairstylists are at communicating who they are and the value they can bring - makes everyone's lives better! After 5 years of working with hairstylists and helping them build profitable and quick-growing businesses - I genuinely feel like I'm living a dream and love what I do each and every day!
Tell us about yourself
After graduating from the University of South Florida during the Great Recession in 2008, I enrolled in Cosmetology School - I didn't know then how this decision would be one of the best of my life. While I was working behind the chair in a Top 200 Salon in Tampa, I realized that my clients were coming in with a lot of misinformation they were finding online. To help them with this, I started a weekly blog with tutorials, articles, and general myth-busting. After 2 full years of weekly blogging, I gained national attention and was approached to begin writing for other salons, hairstylists, and big influencers in the beauty industry. I realized that my methods for communicating, marketing, and reaching my ideal audience were unique and that if I could be brave enough, I could help others.
I was amazed to see that the hairstylists I worked with were able to DOUBLE their monthly sales in just 30 days (and with working on it while their babies were napping). I realized I was onto something really special, and a fire lit in my heart to reach as many hairstylists as possible. The business has evolved a lot over the past 5 years, but I'm so proud to be a successful female entrepreneur and to bring as many other women along with me!!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I am an extremely shy person. Even when I was 5, my mom routinely had to push me to speak up and hang out with friends, and put myself out there. When you own a business - there's only so much you can do "behind the scenes" before you realize you have to step to the front and let yourself be seen.
One of my biggest accomplishments is the courage to make videos, speak publicly, and just SHOW UP regularly. It feels super vulnerable and scary - but I genuinely know that there are hairstylists out there who NEED this support, so I feel really driven to make sure I'm not letting my own insecurities stop me from my calling.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I won't lie; there are A LOT of hard things that come with being a business owner. One that I didn't expect is that "good business is boring." When you're first growing your business, you're a little adrenaline junkie, driven by excitement and feeling the rush of each new client and moment in your business. But as you begin to scale up past 5k months - that addiction to excitement and "building" and "creating" becomes a form of self-sabotage. Truthfully, a successful business is simple. It's finding what works and doing what works over and over. It's creating repeatable, predictable systems that generate happy clients and money!
Our society is very much about NEW, EXCITING, FUN adventures. And I believe that LETTING your business be boring and predictable (AKA super successful) is so hard that, alone, is why only 12% of women entrepreneurs hit 100k/year.
The best way I've found to work WITH this energy is to let my business be predictable and "boring" and to make my personal life more exciting instead. So I can still feel the rush without taking myself backward.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Make something the market WANTS (not just something you like doing). The number one reason businesses fail is that people don't actually need/want/know they need whatever product or service someone wants to sell.
- Try to bootstrap it as much as you can. Getting business loans and financing BEFORE you've proven that it's a viable idea is a recipe for immense stress and pressure. I personally continued to work part-time and take freelance projects for 3 years before going full-time in my business. It doesn't make you any less of an entrepreneur!
- Prioritize building an audience. Whether it's on social media or growing an email list - if you don't have people coming into your world every single day, it's going to feel like an uphill battle to grow.
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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