Women Entrepreneurs… The How’s, What’s, Why’s and Who’s that made it happen

We talk toVicky Olubi, founder of My Curls

Vicky Olubi is a 25 year old entrepreneur from London. Her business, My Curls, manufactures and produces natural and organic hair care products for women with curly and Afro textured hair. My Curls has been featured in various media outlets including Prima Magazine, The Detour, Black Hair Magazine and This Girl Means Business. Vicky is passionate about young entrepreneurship and contributes her expertise to online publications such as CEO Blog Nation, Natural Pink Tree Magazine and The Entreprenette Gazette. Vicky was nominated for the Damsels In Success ‘Women Inspiring Women Awards’ for Overcoming Adversity and was a keynote speaker at Prospects 2012 Graduate Fair.

Why did you want to start your own business?
I started my business for several reasons. Firstly, after graduating from university I found myself unemployed and struggling to find a job. One day, after receiving another job rejection, I realised that I needed to follow a different career path. I then had a ‘aha’ moment whilst talking to some friends about hair care. I was frustrated at the lack of quality products for women with Afro hair and was committed to starting a brand that went against the status quo in terms of embracing all textures of hair and not just slick straight hair textures.

When did you start it?
I launched My Curls in October 2010 after spending a few months mixing natural ingredients together in my parent’s kitchen. I then put everything together and decided to create a website to see if the idea was was viable.

What challenges did you come up against?
Where do I start? I was a young entrepreneur and had no prior business experience. I had no connections within the hair and beauty industry, no venture capitalist or investor to back me. Furthermore, I didn’t fit the criteria for funding from agencies like The Princes Trust. My only resources were my family, my friends and myself.

How did you overcome these?
I quickly learnt that whilst I had very little experience in the world of business, I was a quick-learner. I used my ability to learn things quickly as much as possible. For example, I taught myself how to design a website, I read hundreds of business books and I prayed every night. Of course not everything went to plan but a lot of great things happened- for instance Prima Magazine ran a feature on my business and I managed to get my products into the hands of a few celebrities. Those trickles of success gave me the motivation to keep going despite the many obstacles that I faced.

Is it successful? 
It’s funny because I used to think the term successful meant having loads of money but now my perspective is very different. To me, my business is successful because it makes a difference to the lives of women across the world. I have customers who’ve sent me thank you notes and who’ve said that my products have helped them to fall in love with their natural curls again. Success to me transcends money, status or being the biggest brand out there. It’s about making a genuine impact in other people’s lives and I know that My Curls has the ability to do that.

Would you recommend other women out there start something of their own?
Absolutely! I’m incredibly committed to seeing women succeed in business and fulfil their dreams. As women we have so many strengths that come naturally and that can actually help us to advance in the world of business. It’s important to leverage our innate talents and use it to our advantage. Of course, running a business isn’t for everyone but if it’s a dream of yours then go for it!

What would you say are the benefits?
Being in control of my day, having the ability to essentially create my own career path based on my vision for my future.

And the cons?
Fighting procrastination and being accountable for your successes and failures is definitely a difficult aspect of entrepreneurship. However, I see it as a learning curve and it’s definitely made me more aware of my own weaknesses.

What advice would you give to someone contemplating setting up there own thing?
One big piece of advice that I’d give is to do what Simon Sinek calls, ‘starting with why.’ If you’re thinking about starting your own business, knowing the reasons why you’re driven to start it and keeping those reasons in mind constantly is really important. The minute you lose sight of why you started the business is the minute things can start to go down hill. Always surround yourself with things that motivate you to keep going even when times are tough. Another big piece of advice is to surround and align yourself with people that share the same values and vision as you do and always follow your intuition even if it goes against what everyone else thinks is right.