25 Oct 8 Things (Lessons) That Happened to Me Since Starting My Business Glam Seamless
8 years ago, on a fall afternoon at the young age of 23 I decided I was going to start “a business”. After watching too many Shark Tank episodes and being recently fired, I decided I needed to start making money on my own terms and my own schedule. I was tired of leaving my fate and finances in the hands of others. Now, I wanted to start a business for months, and I picked up a book simply titled How to Start a Business…As I read through the book I started looking at different businesses I would start. I had a few ideas but I thought they would be too hard and require too much capital to start. Then one day I was on youtube and saw a YouTuber selling hair extensions…She did now know hair extensions like I did (wearing extensions since 14 due to my thin hair). It dawned on me, this is what I need to do – start a hair extension business. I looked online the competition was low – I knew I could at least turn this in to a side hustle..And so I did – I did some research, tested 25 manufacturers, and created a product I personally loved and wore and started to sell it to others. Now, to be fair, I am an expert at wearing extensions and a great marketer – these two things really helped me scale my business. But I was 23, had $1500, and was determined to make this work. I started without a business plan and I would make to do lists to improve the business and product day by day…Anyways, this is not a how I started my business blog, but this is a check in of what has happened over the last 8 years of starting my business!
- I had a baby- 3 years after starting my business I found myself unexpectedly pregnant with a 3 million dollar per year business being ran out my home. This by far was one of the most challenging moments of my business and the fastest time I grew my business. I was determined to take the business outside of my home and in to an office before the baby came, and I had 9 short months to do so. This time was so challenging but forced my business to prepare for the next level. I quickly hired more people to help me grow the business and I got an office. This defining moment in my life forced me to grow the business and become a better employer. Now as a working mom I had so much more compassion and understanding and so much respect for working parents. This type of insight in to balancing it all made me a better leader and helped others within my organization grow. Although I had a different timeline for my baby, she came at the perfect time and actually helped me grow and helped push my business to the next level!
- I opened a retail store -As the business got big, I thought it would be a bright idea to open a store in NYC. Instead of opting for a small store in say the lower east side (cheaper rents) I decided lets go all out and open a store in Soho something grand…It was not worth the headache. Unless your brand is over 50 million per year or you have 15 million in funding, I would not do this again if I could go back in time…I would have gone smaller and more conservative. We broke even, made some money some months, but our most success came from our online business – people shopping 24/7! Opening a store was fun, I learned a lot of lessons, but it caused us a lot of headaches in the long run for the size store we had. Start small, and fail fast!
- I started a non profit -I wanted to give back and help other young girls in poverty, so after a year of writing bylaws and defining our mission and who we would serve I got an an official 501 3c – One of my proudest moments. The organization Glam Girls was to be self funded through Glam Seamless and a % of proceeds were to go to it…Then I sold my company and could not longer support the non profit through Glam Seamless. Sadly, I never got off the ground, and the non profit is taking longer to get up than I had hoped for. Now, I hired a consultant and we are working on a way to digitize the non-profit…Giving back is so important to me and this was a good lesson to me that I should have delegated and hired a consultant for the non profit sooner than later so that it would have taken off the ground faster…Delegate, delegate, delegate!
- I outgrew people -This part hurts the most and was one of the lessons I was not ready for – my business separated me from a lot of people and I lost relationships along the way. On this journey I hired best friends, my mom, my significant other, you name it..Some worked out for the best, some were the worst decisions and ended long term relationships. As the business grew, my responsibility for the business grew as well. Your business is your baby, especially when you own it 100% like I did…I was committed to the business first – and I was not afraid to do what it took to grow it…People would say all I did was work, that I was obsessed with money, when really I had an obligation to the business. Because the business supported my entire family and provided us with a lavish life, I never took my foot off the gas…In life and in general we outgrow people and relationships…It feels like the business sped this process up for me and crashed some into the ground…But I know everything will work out how its supposed to in the end.
- I became more confident – As I started to help others grow and develop professionally and started achieving really high revenues with no cofounders or investors I developed a strong sense of self. Year after year, I started to see the crazy ideas I had were amazing and scaled the business. Then when Forbes, Entrepreneur wrote articles, or Inc 30 under 30 put me on their 2017 list of Entrepreneurs I started to step in to my calling and my role as a leader who lifts others up. This boosted my confidence beyond anything I ever imagined. In my early 20s I thought confidence came from how fit or pretty I was, but it’s beyond that. It’s about the commitment to becoming your better and best self..This too is confidence building.
- I lost myself and then burned out- When I started my business it was a “side hustle”. I never thought it would be what it is today, the revenue size it is, or all that we achieved in the industry…In year 6 I became my WORST SELF. I am talking heaviest weight, high blood pressure, business out of my control. I was working 7 days a week for 5 years straight and it was past the point of no return. I could not take it – I did not hire the right team and I did not delegate well nor enough. This was the worst year of my life – I had a 2 year old and a business bigger than anything I could handle. I burned out beyond belief and damaged my health. Luckily, an angel stepped in and I had several offers from different people to acquire my company. I said no for 6 months…Then one day I threw my hands up – at 28 with a 8 figure brand and a lean team – I yelled Mercy – I decided to entrain these offers to sell.
- I sold my business– I never sought out to sell my company. In fact, I never even thought about selling or what my succession plan would be..I was making great money and selling a product I loved..This was the dream life…until I burned out and my daughter started to talk, walk and needed me more…Several offers came in around the same time to acquire my company and I said no for a while – but then I wisened up, called some mentors, got really smart about the offers and decide to sell to a company that I could partner with to keep growing Glam Seamless with my vision, and their support. Feb 2019 I sold my company Glam Seamless at the age of 29. It was a dream come true! I will never forget this day – even my mom was in tears (She is my longest standing employee and still works for me). They became a majority owner and let me keep control of the brand while giving me the corporate support and investment funds to grow the brand as I see fit. Selling the brand was the BEST thing I did ever. You have to know when to let go. I am so thankful for how it worked out and how I sacrificed for so many years working so much so that I could sell. Those years really paid off. I am also thankful for the company that acquired us. They gave me so much support to grow and have taught me so much on how to be a better leader and business owner.
- I moved to Los Angeles- In 2020 I moved in the middle of the pandemic to
LostLos Angeles haha. One thing my business taught me is you have to make MOVES. Start, take action, if its wrong oh well, you will figure it out later. But you MUST MOVE FORWARD. Feet in front of the other. The risker it is, the greater the reward. I upped and moved to start my life over and expand Glam Seamless – we are opening an LA showroom and expanding our team to the west coast. 5 months there and I am BEYOND happy. I am working more efficiently, getting really healthy, and expanding the business. Life is all about chasing your dreams and taking your thoughts in to action. I moved to experience a new area of the US- I was in NYC for 12 years and it was time. My business showed me that anything is possible you have to be willing to move – even if alone – and that is exactly what I did…I am currently in NJ for 2 weeks where I started my business online 8 years ago writing this blog – and coming back too NJ from LA even if for just 2 short weeks makes me feel insane – I miss home (LA) and I want to go back…I am SO GLAD I LEFT and moved from NYC to LA. I would read blogs and thought about this for years and finally did it…People say “ I hate LA – the people”. I do not care – I do not need people – I make my own reality – plus I do feel like NYC was a great place to “make it” and LA is a great place to enjoy it..Yes, there are a lot of lost souls there- but luckily I moved there at 31 and no 21. But even if I did – the universe always has your back..It always works out.
So, with all that being said – if you are thinking of moving, starting a business, leaving a job or a relationship…just do it – trust yourself and make a plan then make it happen…8 years ago in October 2012 I was just a 23 year old with no money and no experience..And now I have the freedom to live my life the way I see fit on any terms and the financial means..I sacrificed A LOT over the 8 years – but it was all worth it and it all worked out…