Canada, USA, Singapore
- Website: http://www.alexandriaprofessional.com/
At what point in your career did you make the decision to become self-employed?
I would have to say that I was interested in doing “my own thing” as far back as I can remember… but more serious thoughts began to form themselves when I was a pre-teen. I started by sewing gowns for prom nights to make some money. From there, I tried several small ways to make money whether by piece work or by piece jobs, trade jobs, etc…
All I can say is that I have always wanted to create my own road. I was considered a “modern gypsy” growing up. And, I always considered the world (and beyond) as my backyard.
Speaking about my international sugaring business, it is amazing how everything came into play and fulfilled all my desires for the person I am.
What was the driving force behind that decision?
Regarding getting involved with sugaring as a business, I have to say first the market needs for hair removal treatments that were much less painful than conventional waxing and electrolysis – the only 2 measures available at that time other than waxing and harsh creams.
But ultimately, my prayer from the night prior to viewing the Dini show in the morning was and continues to be my strongest driving force. I prayed for an answer as to what was to become of me in life. How was I to support my child as a single mom? Was I to be alright physically; heal well? I fell asleep crying and praying… woke up, turned the tv on and after changing the channel a couple of times, I came upon the Dini show with a caption of “women inventors” which caught my eye… and my mind!
Dini was interviewing entrepreneurial women including Miss Vicky Chips! I knew her chips before she branched out. What a great story she also has.
There was a woman who was demonstrating sugaring and in that very moment, I caught myself thinking… if this really works, what a great opportunity to the market. I wasn’t about close my eyes to such a divine gift from the universe! The rest is history which I will write about soon enough.
Describe the greatest challenges you faced when making the transition.
Always being short of money! Haha I got started with very little in hand. I was on mother’s allowance raising my son as a single mom. I was working for a 5 star restaurant on the side and had began a small translation business for extra cash and had even more recently began a fun side business called “Highway to Fashion”… a cheating take on the then popular show ‘Highway to Heaven”. My ambitions were to take it to the level of “Skyway to Fashion”. That’s a whole other fun story!
Everything else I learned as I went along through books, by asking a bazillian (I have a dictionary I am putting together – the Lina Dictionary – so many new clever words! hehe) questions to people I admired, respected or simply met who were successful business owners. One of my greatest strengths is not being embarrassed by what I don’t know and having the intelligence to ask questions.
Which skills did you need to develop in order to become effective in your role as an entrepreneur?
Where do I begin to express all of the skills that I needed to develop over the last 22 years and even more today?
Basic bookkeeping – thank God I have a shoe fetish!
Basic negotiations – thank God I loved to debate when I was a kid – some might call it rebellious child!
Diplomacy – Getting better every day! I loved playing cards as a kid and to me still to date… a spade is a spade!
Managing monies – I always managed to find money for my shoes – well with all my bookkeeping needs, what choice did I have!
Balancing Life as a Mom (again single – seems to be a theme going on) and work demands – Luckily I learned how to appreciate taking things “one day at a time” from supporting my father through his earlier AA meeting years!
Balancing a Cheque Book – Did I mention that I managed to successfully balance my weight my entire lifetime so far? Without health, what else is there to balance!
Speaking, presenting, demonstrating to Groups – having been somewhat of a class clown really helped me to hone in on basic stage skills!
Writing for Magazines – My rebellious side combined with my ongoing efforts to master diplomacy has enabled me to be accepted as the expert in body sugaring writer! There’s a lot of b.s. in article writing today even in professional trade magazines, and to be respected for “sharing the knowledge” style author gives me great joy. A big part of my life freedom is simply being who I am every day.
Getting through Hardships - Yes, this is a learned skill. Disappointments, rejections, being ridiculed, people cheating you (worse is when you really trust someone and they cheat you – have I got stories to tell there), people wishing you failure, and of course BANKS telling you the almighty NO. Again, my early pre-teen lessons of living life one day at a time came in really handy in all of these aforementioned moments in time. They really are only moments in time if you allow them to be no more than just that. I will break it down to simple steps when I write my book to be titled: Sweet Revolution
Which networking groups do you belong to?
NACCAS National Accrediting Commission of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences
AACCS American Association of Cosmetology Schools
Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce
Spa Association in Singapore
What is the best business book you have ever read?
My daughters would laugh out loud if I dared to answer this with anything less than the truth. So here it is…
I am the type of person who can read the same book several times or watch the same movie several times and think to myself – hmmm… this sounds familiar! Yes that’s right! I actually forget what, when and where I read or watched something. Generally I see all movies on flights, and usually will read while in airports.
I do own a fair selection of “How to’s, for Dummies, Basic 101’s, Minute managements, Steps to Successes books. They are all sitting in my apartment in Buffalo, NY while I set up our subsidiary company in Singapore. I don’t recall any author specifically. What I can tell you is that every book I ever read has reiterated some of my personal beliefs, personal style, basic knowledge, creative side, etc… My favorite books are those that inspire me and they are all related to people’s biographies.
At the end of the day, these people have something in common with me. They didn’t believe in failure which means they did not believe in quitting. Changing directions, restructuring, taking a deep breath and moving another step is what they all have in common. Not only the business success stories, but the life stories! And a tale they tell.
What does the future hold for your industry?
Hopes and dreams! …isn’t that the truth!
Our (AP) industry today remains the hair removal industry along with skin conditioning and repair. That is what Alexandria Professional specializes in. We have evolved from a small local Welland business to a global company. I see no end to our growth potential (never have) from subsidiary companies to more international distributors and ultimately to an expansion of products. Not just any products but products that offer exceptional results; products that do what we say can be achieved.
I see AP as a global company that is viewed and accepted as a “stable Mable” of the industry by both professionals and consumers alike…A company that people rely on for some of their personal care needs.
I see us as a company that people come to rely on because WE say what we mean and WE mean what we say.
Reliability; Responsibility; Accountability – Trustworthy = Alexandria Professional®
My growing team and I will continue to develop and improve who we are for as long as we can. When the time comes, AP’s future will be in the hands of my daughters, and hopefully future bloodlines from all sparks of our world.
I am responsible for building our legacy. It is what it is and I am who I am.
How do you feel about the current status of women in the workforce in Canada?
I am taking a global perspective and not specifically talking about Canada, so.....
That depends on the country. I have felt the wrath of the stupidity that comes with some men – especially in business. Like it or not, it is still considered a man’s world out there. However, I do have the privilege of working with great women from all over the world. Some are leaders and some are greatly skilled workers. We (man or woman) all serve someone irrelevant of our position/status. And we are all selling something regardless of what level we represent.
So to me, I see no troubles in the workforce. If you, as a woman, believe you are worth more than you are receiving, it is your responsibility to demonstrate your value and to ask for your worth. And it is up to you if you want to accept less than that or move on to bigger and better things. It’s all about choice. The more of us who come to realize that it’s not about men vs. women but more about YOU vs. who you are, the more equality we will discover together…with the exception of everyday corruption worldwide and those who be in power. That’s a whole other issue.
I have accepted no troubles in the workforce. I actually think only in thoughts when I have meetings with either gender. I do not think as a woman or a man. I think in thoughts of what is required from all sides.
I refuse to accept anything less than who I am. Anytime I meet a woman who allows herself to be less than who she is and believes “she cannot” be all that she is destined to be, I have a chat. Like I tell everyone – I am so blessed! And you cannot feel blessed if you cannot bring joy to others… and to your “self”.
When you are featured on the cover of Time magazine, what will be the headline?
Modern Gypsy Girl creates her world.
Man… can she make things happen!