Zuly O. - Believe In Yourself (CEO of Tiara Bliss, Canada)

Nothing happens overnight, the road to success takes time, patience, and perseverance. Without that deep-held belief in yourself and your business, you won’t have the stamina to see your business through the ups and downs.

1. Tell us more about your company and your journey.

The journey of creating and building my business has been amazing. I had a vision for a seemingly mundane item, to make it even more effective, but more importantly, transformative for the planet. Shower caps might not seem that exciting, but to me, making a daily use item work more efficiently for people, and replacing single-use plastic with a sustainable option has been incredibly fulfilling. The TIARA Shower Cap has been so well received, and I’ve received orders from all over the world. The most rewarding part of my journey is hearing from people about how much they love their TIARA Shower Cap!

2. How did you come up with this idea and go about executing it?

To understand how I created the TIARA Shower Cap, you need to understand my hair. I have thick hair, with a lot of texture, but I enjoyed the look and feel of a sleek blowout. Trying to maintain my blowout was always a challenge, though, because traditional shower caps could never fully contain my hair, and would leave awkward indents on my forehead, and I hated using a single-use plastic shower cap with each shower. I’m not content to simply deal with disappointment. I set about creating a solution. 

I researched designs and fabrics to create a shower cap that not only functioned perfectly, offering protection during showers, along with a cap that can be flipped inside out and worn during hair mask treatments, but I also ensured the design offered a sustainable option for shoppers. The TIARA Shower Cap can be washed after each use, and used for years! Beauty and sustainability are my passions, and that’s truly what fueled the creation of the TIARA Shower Cap.

3. What has been the biggest challenge that you faced and how did you overcome that? 

My biggest challenge was also a blessing in disguise! Running a startup during COVID lockdowns was scary–there was so much uncertainty, both in my professional and personal life. It allowed me time to really narrow my focus, though, and thankfully, the lockdown meant more women were doing their own hair at home, and happy to invest in the TIARA Shower Cap to extend the life of their at-home blowouts. 

It also allowed me to slow down and really focus on the direction I wanted to take my business. I invested my energies to create another amazing product that we are soon going to be launching. If you stay still nothing is going to happen, you have to continually look to the future and evolve. I am really excited to watch my company and my role as CEO evolve over time.

4. What are the most essential qualities of a successful entrepreneur?

First and foremost, you have to believe in yourself. Nothing happens overnight, the road to success takes time, patience, and perseverance. Without that deep-held belief in yourself and your business, you won’t have the stamina to see your business through the ups and downs.

5. What are your tips for first-time and aspiring entrepreneurs?

Set yourself up for success by surrounding yourself with a network of fellow entrepreneurs. Having trustworthy mentors and allies that you can turn to for advice or even a simple gut check as you make decisions has been a huge source of support and assurance for me. It’s also vital to know your numbers, all your numbers. Even the disappointing figures. 

You have to know the numbers inside and out. Only then can you make truly informed decisions for your business. And finally, mistakes are inevitable. Don’t shy away from them. Instead, understand why they were made, and how you can avoid making them again in the future.

6. How can one overcome the hurdle of lack of funds when starting up? 

Start small, and don’t overspend. So many entrepreneurs start exactly this way, growing in small increments. It can be tough, especially when you have grand visions for your business, but by starting small, you’ll be able to grow steadily through your own success. I would have loved to have launched my company with a wide product line, but that wasn’t financially possible. Instead, I launched with one solid product that I knew I could depend on. 

Most entrepreneurs do not start off with investors. I recommend getting a line of credit overtaking on investors if you can. I don’t believe in giving away a stake in your company for money. There are so many innovative ways to finance a new business, like crowdfunding. Starting a new business is all about problem-solving, and the best entrepreneurs love the thrill of facing and overcoming each and every challenge!

- Zuly O. (Linkedin)

- Interviewed by Deshna Jain