Sana’s Entrepreneurial Life (Part 2)

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2008 Arizona Trip

Introduction

Hi guys! Hope you are doing well. It’s been quite a ride these last few days before Christmas. I have been spending loads of time with my sister’s family at iChakras and in the second to last planned post of 2018, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas 2018 and a Happy New Years 2018. For those of you who do not know, as I just have discovered, Krispy Kreme has holiday-themed donuts available that you can probably see being deep-fried in one of their many branches. If you want to see the menu, see HERE and to find their locations in the United States, see HERE. Most of the donuts are above 250 calories, but ladies and gentlemen, you can always order their in-house brewed coffee (See HERE, HERE, & HERE) and not worry about the extra calories during holiday season 2018.

Today’s Entrepreneurs & Yesteryear’s Business Magnates

Today, I want to continue (not chronologically though) my thoughts on my entrepreneurial life (See my first post HERE). I did a bit of research on past entrepreneurs or “business magnates” as they were called and there seems to be one similarity. They all had a passion for something, which they resourcefully turned into building personal empires. When you think of John D. Rockefeller, who amassed his wealth through oil, Andrew Carnegie, who made billions in steel, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who built his wealth through shipping and railroad, and probably Henry Ford, who invented the automobile, you need to realize they made hundreds of billions of dollars doing something they loved & felt the world needed at that time.

This small population of wealthy people should not be looped into multi-millionaires like Hollywood stars & celebrities, couture fashion designers, or wealthy politicians since these guys essentially identify a global need or change and “create something out of nothing”.  All categories of wealth require talent to reach and intelligence to run, yet given the trends of the past and present, I’ve learned you do not have to be born rich or educated to be an entrepreneur; just highly imaginative or skilled at something.

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2008 Arizona Trip

Assignments

I want my young readers to go online or to your city’s library and read up on the names I have mentioned in THIS post. I’m sure you will learn a personal skill or a life skill in the process.

*Not For Children 

I give many lessons that can apply to any “business” venture no matter how big or small. However, if you feel you have something “big” that many can benefit from & you know how to market or “sell” it, there is some personal advice I’d like to give you. Everyone who walked this challenging road of entrepreneurship expected to get hurt from the start. You NEED to expect getting hurt in the process.

While or maybe “for” enduring existential situations, I coined the term “The Blond Salad”, which is the name of a popular blog now. I hated the phrase “Dumb Blond” to describe confusion especially when I felt I was being lied to, so I coined “The Blond Salad” to describe a mental state where you have too much on your plate and all you can do is tackle eating each part of the tossed salad. 

Basically, If you are not ready or think you will never be ready, you are not the right person for the “job”. I was asked a million times why I am doing this or if I am doing this to hurt people by unimaginably awful people. I was followed, badgered to answer questions I didn’t want to answer, write contracts to hand out to undeserving people in exchange for something BIGGER; and was intentionally accosted repeatedly to a point that I told one of my co-founders ONCE that I regret creating all this in the first place.

On the other hand, I became popular, more worldly, gained a variety of skill set, and made tons of good friends with important people. My point is that entrepreneurship, especially for a woman hosts the most unexpected ways to get hurt. So please put off your “project(s)” until you feel you are ready to meet the challenges head-on.

When I was well into my journey, there were numerous ways I took care of myself to prepare for the challenges. For example, I used noise such as sounds of Japanese Drumming (See HERE) or ASMR videos such as this one (See HERE) to quiet my mind and stay more alert. When I needed to work on intricate stuff, I would darken my room or apartment so I can be relaxed and not forget things. Smells or textures were usually ways to sharpen my memory. If I wanted to remember something I would either smell it or feel it. That’s why I consider myself the owner of an excellent human memory.

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2008 Arizona Trip

Personal Assignments

I have told you before that I attribute my personal success to many factors such as the country of my birth, my upbringing, but, mostly to my mental sharpness (wit), hard work and determination (See HERE).

On my 1998 trip to NYC, where I think I may have been kidnapped (lol), I experienced many things for the first (and only) time in my life. Standing on top of the original World Trade Towers and witnessing many, many Hindus detailing and intentionally “putting in my ear” an elaborate terrorist (I coined the word BTW when I informed the authorities about the incidents) attack plan so “we can blame something” on Muslims, getting the opportunity to be on the floor of the NYC stock exchange, where I stood outside the doors of the large space for 10 minutes only to step inside and walk straight through and towards the exit because it was painfully intense for me, and reconnecting with many fashion friends from Pakistan including those working in Vogue and Victoria’s Secret.

It was in New York City, that I also reconnected with Vogue Editor, Anna Wintour who over coffee told me and Former President Obama her serious dilemma with the makeup industry. She discussed how stories related to the “crimes of the industry” were now backed up by evidence and it “was painful on a personal level”. Seeing the pain on her face, I offered to do a presentation to offer my expertise in the matter. She told me it sounds impossible since a lot of important people are going to be there and she cannot allow just anyone to be there, but she will check. I told her about the big entrepreneurial project I was working on and I think I even may have reminded her of Pakistan’s Truck Art Culture, which I helped start (See HERE).   

After I was gifted the opportunity, I went overdrive on my research and note-taking. My winter vacation turned into a “work weekend” and I came up with a plan hoping the attendees will find some importance in. The trickiest part of the whole process was and still trade with China, who requires animal testing and the inclusion of glycerin in many (both makeup & beauty) products since companies synthesize animal-derived glycerin with plant-derived glycerin.

I am not sure if I was driven to Manhattan or took the train from Long Island, but I was at Vogue’s Manhatten office by the afternoon. Everyone was there, including representatives and founders of makeup companies such as Revlon, Maybelline, Estee Lauder, Boscia, Erno Laszlo & Cover Girl. I think Ralph Lauren and Valentino Garavani said hello as well. 

During the Powerpoint presentation, which I emailed to myself since USB sticks were non-existent (external drives were called floppy disks), I suggested they do the  following:

  • Categorize the beauty industry into two parts: Makeup & Beauty. I suggested we deal with makeup first because everyone uses it. Beauty products at the time were not so readily found in bathrooms in the 1990s.
  • Define separately the parameters of “cruelty-free” and “vegan”, which were words already in circulation. I offered that “cruelty-free” should define makeup that no longer requires animal testing and instead uses research from previous testings of ingredients & can contain animal-based ingredients. “Vegan” makeup brands should label makeup using ethical testing aka no animal-based ingredients or any research from animal testing. The point was to eradicate animal testing completely by labeling aka legalizing the two terms. 

Interesting questions were raised including this bright one from the current SAKS Creative Director, who asked if a product can ever be vegan since plants grow from the soil, which contains fossils, human remains and worse, animal remains. I responded by saying that what I am suggested is only a place to start.

Hence, today these two labels are on ALMOST every makeup and beauty product available in the American market. Currently, FDA does not regulate and claims no responsibility in managing the integrity of makeup or beauty products. My hope is that the language becomes even more wide-spread since contradicting information leads to confusion and inaction and China relaxes some of its trade rules so no animal gets hurt in the process of making us feel beautiful. 

*Look out for part 3 soon.