Verve talked to five business owners who decided to go it alone and be their own boss.
BRANDON WONG – SABA SALON
Please tell us a little bit about your business. In an industry typically driven by fashion and creativity, Saba Salon is my venture aimed at bringing the salon experience back to being more client focused, with good service and advice, technical precision, and a solid dose of integrity. No smoke and mirrors, just beautiful hair that works for our clients.
What do you do to keep yourselves motivated? I’m honestly lucky to have found an occupation that I love. Hairdressing has allowed me to meet some interesting and amazing people. The fact that I have the opportunity to contribute to their lives, and help them look and feel their absolute best on a daily basis, is all the motivation I need.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur? Starting this business has given me the confidence to know that I can stand on my own two feet and has opened my mind up to a whole new world of possibilities. The learning curve has been steep but as a result, the personal growth has been staggering too.
What is unique about your business? Integrity is paramount to us. Hair can have such a significant impact on how people feel about themselves and it’s not something you can glue back on. As such, we place a huge importance on making sure everything we do is in the best interests of our clients and their hair.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be? Here’s two. You don’t know unless you try, and surround yourself with successful and supportive people.
How do you chill? Going for a surf, motorcycle ride, or listening to music with a glass of wine and mooching with my partner Rose, and cat Gypsy.
PARIS MITCHELL AND GEORGIA CHERRIE – THE MERCANTILE
Please tell us a little bit about your business. We started our label, Paris Georgia basics, alongside our online store, The Mercantile, just over two years ago now. We wanted to create something that filled the gap we found in our wardrobes. Paris Georgia basics focuses on form and fabric creating elevated wardrobe essentials that we feel every girl needs and The Mercantile is the eccentric compliment filled with vintage finds, our favorite Maryam Nassir Zadeh shoes and the primary home for our Paris Georgia basics pieces.
What do you do to keep yourselves motivated? Staying in tune with what’s happening abroad is so crucial and motivating. It reminds you that there’s a big world out there filled with lots of talent and that you can never get too comfortable.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur? So many things! Being your boss, creating your own schedule, choosing your team and most importantly doing what you are most passionate about everyday.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you on your entrepreneurial journey so far? Finding the perfect team that is both great to work with and good at their jobs. The design process involves a lot of out sourcing, which is scary as essentially you are putting elements out of your control. It’s all about finding your perfect team, it makes the world of difference and after two years we finally have.
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be? Just go for it. It’s so easy to sit back and think about ideas but if you’re truly passionate, it’s definitely worth just giving it a go. It may change your life in the best of ways!
How do you chill? In summer it’s at the beach, and in winter it’s at home in a cozy house with good music, movies and food.
ASHLEY SKIFFINGTON – SOCIETY
Please tell us a little bit about your business. At Society we are a beauty community. Everything is connected. We believe your environment and spirit play a vital role in understanding your identity. This is why holistic beauty is at the core of everything we do. We offer several senior hair stylists, a beauty and makeup specialist, and a nutritionist, not only for your convenience, but because we believe you feel best when you develop a beauty regime that is in harmony with your way of living. Our privilege is guiding the conversation to provide you with insights into the latest innovations in natural, potent skincare, treatment makeup, and supportive hair and wellness expertise.
What do you do to keep yourselves motivated? My motivation is to show the ones who believed in me that they had something to believe in. My parents have been absolutely amazing and my dad believed in me from the very beginning. I met my partner in the process of planning Society and his support has been unreal. This along with my loyal clientele and amazing team, it makes it so easy to jump out of bed in the morning and smash each and every day!
Do you have any entrepreneurial role models or mentors? My beautiful friend Donielle Brooke, the founder of Designer Wardrobe. I grew up with her and witnessed her turn something extremely hard into something truly magical. She will forever be an inspiration.
What is unique about your business? I have created a hub where everyone works for themselves. I have given amazing stylists the courage and opportunity for them to do this. The atmosphere is amazing and we are an incredible team!
If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be? To just go for it! A lot of small goals is much more powerful than a big dream. Have a little goal to tick off each week rather than get overwhelmed at the bigger picture. I never thought my little goals would even come close to how big and beautiful Society has already become.
PHIRIYA ANAKAKUL (PARLOUR P) – PARLOUR STORE
What do you do to keep yourself motivated? Just doing what I love keeps me motivated, I don’t really call this work to be honest.
What do you love about being an entrepreneur? I love the fact that you can tell your story within your business your own way. There’s no guidelines so you can do what you think feels right.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you on your entrepreneur journey? Selling goods online, I suck at computers, but we are slowly getting there!
What is unique about your business? The items we sell, every item in store is a one of one — I personally pick every item before it is sent over to us.
What are your responsibilities as a business owner? Pretty much making sure the customers are getting what they want. I’m in charge of the buying (vintage) and brand production and I’m lucky to have my team who are great at selling.
If you had one piece of advise for someone just starting out what would it be? You’ve got to love what you do, then everything will fall in place.
How do you chill? Taking my family out for yum cha.