Focus on the people that work with you. They are the enterprise.

 

Abell Oujaddou started life like a sprinter exploding out of a set of starting blocks. He was born in Morocco and raised in France from the age of five. By the time he had reached his teenage years, he had already begun his career in the beauty industry as he pursued his education in hair design and training. However, the very young, very energetic, Abell had more than one dream in his heart. At the age of 17, he moved to the United States to pursue a career in acting.

Abell settled in New York to attend acting school. Over the next five years, he worked in an upscale New York City hair salon, while honing his acting skills. When he felt ready, Abell Oujaddou took the leap and moved to Los Angeles to continue to follow his dream.

After several years, Abell moved back to New York and started doing theater. He produced two documentaries. The first documentary was Haze, it focused on the death of a college student and the consequences of hazing that plague college campuses across this country. The second Abell produced was a feature film called Rendezvous in Summer Camp. However, even as he worked as a producer, he hadn’t lost touch with the idea of owning a beauty salon business of his own.

Today, Abell Oujaddou owns and operates not one but two lavish beauty salons, one in New York City and the other in Miami Beach and has 87 staff members.

Where did the idea for Marie Robinson Salon come from?

When I was a teen living in France. I was dating a young girl. She was going to school for Hair Design and Training. I wanted to leave high school. My parents presented me with an ultimatum. The only way they would allow me to leave school was if I agreed to enter a trade school. I made the decision to join my girlfriend and train in hair design in Cosmetology School. Ultimately, it turned out to be the best decision I could have made. All these years later I own two thriving luxury hair salons, one in New York, the other in Miami.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I have a six-year-old. My day starts with making breakfast and getting him ready and off to school. Then, I can head to work. I make sure the staff is in and on schedule. I have a sequence of tasks that have to be executed daily. I do my best to stay on task. I make sure clients are happy.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I am a very visual person. If the idea makes sense to me visually, I can make things happen. I see ideas. It is like a puzzle you can put together as long as you have the image. It is almost like a stage or a theater. My salon is like a stage. It has a story with actors. I am the writer, director, and actor at the same time. Every day is different, from the decor to each production in the salon is what I love.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I am a very visual person. If the idea makes sense to me visually, I can make things happen. I see ideas. It is like a puzzle you can put together as long as you have the image. It is almost like a stage or a theater. My salon is like a stage. It has a story with actors. I am the writer, director, and actor at the same time. Every day is different, from the decor to each production in the salon is what I love.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Being consistent with my routine is something I thrive to achieve on a day-to-day basis. I always try to hold myself accountable for not doing what I tell myself I was going to do.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to enjoy your youth and relax. Everything will fall into place. Once you realize you will not always be in control, things start to happen more naturally.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

The only thing I can think of that is very controversial and no one agrees with me is that all borders around the world should be open. I believe that all things will flow and move the way it is supposed to. If we want to fix the world. Let people experience and feel what they want to. I believe it is fear that keeps people behind borders. But, it is something that I can simply visualize.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

I think what we should do is focus on the people that we work with because they are the enterprise. It is important to be attentive to the people you work with. Always truly listen to what they have to say. Always be available for advice or help. Relate to them.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

It is cause and effect. Give your staff the knowledge and the means to be effective. It is so important to care for the people that you work with and that they are happy. If the are happy, it will show in their faces and their attitudes. My customers will benefit from that energy and great service.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I don’t believe in failure. I have been knocked down a few times, but they are simply the challenges that life presents. I don’t consider them failures. You just pick yourself up and move on.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Be aware of your surroundings. Find the thing that gives you joy and find a way to monetize your joy. It will never feel like work.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I have a connection at the Ivory Coast. Every year, I send that person a thousand dollars to distribute to ten people. Last year, one of the benefactors of one hundred dollars started her own business. She is distributing nuts to people all over. She is a single woman supporting her family with five children. It was not the full thousand that went to her it was simply one hundred dollars. She wowed me. She sent pictures! I am so happy for them.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I have a connection at the Ivory Coast. Every year, I send that person a thousand dollars to distribute to ten people. Last year, one of the benefactors of one hundred dollars started her own business. She is distributing nuts to people all over. She is a single woman supporting her family with five children. It was not the full thousand that went to her it was simply one hundred dollars. She wowed me. She sent pictures! I am so happy for them.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. The book directs individuals to look inside themselves for answers.

What is your favorite quote?

Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it. Success is shy, it can’t come out while you’re watching. by Tennessee Williams

Key Learnings:

• I would tell my younger self to enjoy your youth and chill. Everything will fall into place.
• Focus on the people that work with you. They are the enterprise.