I am excited to start this new series called "The Brazen Woman!" The Brazen Woman boldly pursues her passions and inspires others to do the same. Every month I will be interviewing amazing women doing just that!
I am honoured that our first Brazen Woman is one who combines her love for community, entrepreneurship and her passion in all she does. Neveen Dominic is the CEO of Neveen Dominic Cosmetics a high quality make-up, fragrance and skin care line.
Neveen Dominic Cosmetics was showcased this year at the International Makeup Artist Trade Show, IMATS, in Toronto, Canada and Sydney, Australia. IMATS is one of the biggest makeup shows in the world and Neveen Dominic Cosmetics was right next to some of the world's biggest makeup brands!
She is also a philanthropist and founder of Beauty Response to Cancer in Calgary, Alberta; a charity that helps cancer patients deal with the cosmetic side of chemo and radiation therapy. She is active in various charities and was the recipient of the 2016 philanthropist of the year award by Vigor International Awards, for her work with South Sudanese youth in Windsor, Ontario and Beauty Response to Cancer.
Neveen has made such an impact and continues to inspire so many by her work, experiences, amazing attitude and personality. She has always been passionate about fashion and beauty. After 10 years of owning an African Salon and beauty supply store, she knew she had to go to the next level of establishing her own line of beauty products.
Here is a bit more about my conversation with Neveen, she has amazing advice for any one just starting up in business.
The Brazen Closet: What is the story behind your brand?
Neveen: I have always loved finding solutions to problems and being innovative. I pursue good reputation and want to leave a good legacy. I wanted to create a brand that is a reflection who I am and what I believe in and especially to honour my parents who believe in giving back, business and Education.
I went back to school to take a diploma in Business Administration from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and decided that I could do more. Neveen Dominic Cosmetics was born and just celebrated its 2nd year anniversary on November 12th, 2016.
I also believe that as an entrepreneur the more you give back the more you gain. You need to be paid more than money. Running a business just for money is no longer the status quo. Every brand needs to have a core purpose and a vision that is incorporated into the business. We can all do small things that collectively result in a huge impact to make the world a better place.
The Brazen Closet: How do you create a brand that reflects who you are and what you believe in?
Neveen: I am very intuitive; I love high quality products and admire highly reputable organizations. To make sure my organization and products are at par, I work with reputable organizations with corporate integrity, that take pride in their craftsmanship. I am as involved as possible in product development; we have approvals from Health Canada and the FDA. There is no testing on animals and we strive to be socially and environmentally responsible.
The Brazen Closet: What motivates you?
Neveen: My faith in God, my past experiences and the people around me. I pray for wisdom every day. I am very community oriented. My family migrated to Canada from South Sudan where we lived through the war. We learned to depend on our neighbours for our safety. When there was a stranger in the community who was not a family member, we came together as a unit to protect each other.
I am a realist and I draw strength from motivating others. I believe that everyone has their little light and the more we motivate each other and come together, the more we all shine. The effect becomes like lots of lights on a Christmas tree. All of them coming together makes a beautiful sight and illuminates the darkness for the whole world to see.
The Brazen Closet: How do you it... How do you juggle everything?
Neveen: I don't! (She laughs!) My mother is my hero; she is my rock and my support that helps make it all possible! My family supports me, especially my kids. They have taken on some roles in the business and they volunteer in various capacities in the community.
I am so happy about the impact this is making on them as individuals. My kids are working on an exciting project right now. The best thing I can do is support them and get them involved so I can spend more time with them. I'm learning more from them than I ever thought possible.
The Brazen Closet: What do you know now that you wish you knew 2 years ago?
Neveen: I wish I started off working in small teams more than in groups. I wish I took the initial time to learn how to collaborate with people. Collaborating with others helps you achieve your objectives faster. Having an accountability partner makes you accountable to take action. An accountability partner should not be a liability to your business but a benefit. You both create a win-win situation because you are both striving towards success and are accountable to each other.
The Brazen Closet: What advise will you give someone just starting out?
Neveen: I will say don't be scared, nobody knows it all. No one came out with a manual for life. Don't be afraid to take a risk. Be prepared and do your research. Don't say you have a lot of ideas in your head, write it down!
Be organised, to start with - create a business plan for you and not to convince anyone else. How will you convince someone else that your ideas can be viable without convincing yourself? A business plan is mandatory.
When you start, you are not writing a business plan to get a loan, you are writing it to organize yourself. You are writing it to answer all the questions that can come up. Write it down and role play as the pitcher and the investor so you can hear how it sounds and make it sound.
It is better to fail in a business plan than in an actual business when you already have all the liabilities, contracts and products. Take your business seriously. Do your research to determine who your customer is, how you will sell it and what you will sell. You need to have these answers for yourself.
With a business plan, you can then begin to further determine what you need to start, such as licences, permits, resources etc. Retain a lawyer and an accountant as soon as you can. You also need to be realistic and reserve your money. Try to barter services (if possible) on fair terms and don't be afraid to negotiate.
Don't buy massive inventory and have product risk. Be wise and secure customers first, before mass producing. Slow and steady growth is better than sudden growth one day and massive loss the next.
Give yourself milestones, set smart goals for yourself and know what your deliverables are. Plan ahead so you are setting yourself up for success.
I am a huge advocate for following your passions, vision and talent. You are the artist crafting your art and ideas. You are in control and you can condense or expand according to your resources.
I definitely don't know it all and Neveen Dominic Cosmetics is still in preliminary stages of developing. A lot of people quit after 2 years but you have work hard the first five years to establish a highly developed and profitable business.
Business involves a lot of trial and error. You can minimize the errors by having stakeholders, accountability partners and by teaming up with the right people. I will say just take the first step and keep going! This was a very long answer, can you tell I am very passionate about this topic (she laughs)!
Please comment below, let Neveen and I know how you have been inspired. And as always wear confidence on your sleeves!