On social media, many of us tend not to post about our struggles. It is not that we are living a pretense; we just don't want to share with others when we go through our hardships and pains. We think it is important to be transparent and talk about these things as they encourage people to live their dreams, big or small.
At Mahina Beaute, we experienced some ups and downs and insecurities when we started this company. No one comes blazing out of the gate when it comes to start-ups unless you are seriously funded.
In the beginning, we heard a ton of negative comments from people saying how hard it is to start a skincare line, let alone start your own business. Yes, there were challenging moments, but that reconfirmed that formulating was what made us happy and that it is both of our dreams and passion.
We also were told that we weren't “smart enough” to be skincare formulators. The good thing about us is that we like criticism as it fuels our desires even more, to prove that we are, in fact, capable. We both got certified as skincare formulators and have created a line that has been third-party stability tested and PASSED!! It was a major confidence boost because it proved that we knew what we were doing.
We officially launched in October 2019, and honestly, all the paperwork with insurance and trademarking was time-consuming, difficult, and expensive. Our lawyer at that time was very challenging to work with; we had to learn how to stand up for ourselves and push for our creative control.
Then, there was the jealousy aspect. The people who told us that the market was too saturated for another beauty line—other people who kept the pressure on us, asking why we weren't making millions after a year.
There is so much pressure from society to get rich fast. There is this idea that this is how it should happen. We don’t believe that it is healthy. We truly think it is important to be ready for success, to be able to handle it in every possible way, not just financially but also to be able to deal with the workload, attention and pressure that comes with it.
With COVID, there was so much we didn't have control over. So we took a step back, surrendered, and let the universe take control. We used that time to re-brand and reformulate some products adding incredible new ingredients. We had the time to perfect things instead of rushing and making bad decisions due to a lack of time or energy. It was a blessing in disguise.
The most challenging part about starting a company is that we needed to wear all the hats. We did our formulation protocols, social media, all of our marketing, graphics, blogs, videos, photography, photoshop, customer service, and shipping. In the beginning, you need to be involved, especially if you are cash-strapped. Luckily now, we do have the leeway to hire some help.
We've made some mistakes along the way. We've learned from them and are ready to move forward. I am sure we will continue to learn from our actions. But the main thing is that we continue to move forward. Life is about living your fullest. We can't be too scared about making mistakes. You need to ask yourself, "What is the worst that can happen?" You may lose some money, time, or energy. But what you gain is a sense of knowing that you tried and can live your life without regret.
In closing, here are some advice for other entrepreneurs, especially women.
Suzanna: Go inwards and find something you genuinely love to do and create from that heart space. Don't look externally. It should come from the heart.
Maria: If you can, delegate. Ask for help from friends, family, or your partner. It's hard for women; we're expected to do everything independently. But we should ask for help and create "Me-Time" for ourselves.