Pulling in multiple heads really helps us to solidify potential routes forward in order to bring ideas into reality.
Keane Veran is the cofounder and CEO of OURA, a social enterprise which makes unique wellness products such as self-cleaning hats and towels. With every 1000 products sold, OURA grants a wish through a children’s charity. His company seeking to make a difference for children battling cancer.
A cancer survivor himself, Keane spent his early childhood fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and experienced the power of a wish.. Keane’s wish to meet President Obama was granted by Make-A-WishⓇ and accelerated Keane’s recovery. Inspired, he volunteered as a Wish Ambassador before launching OURA to help other children in their recovery process.
Keane is currently working towards a degree at UC Riverside and enjoys being active at the gym, pool, or beach
Where did the idea for OURA come from?
The name OURA is short for Ouragami – Inspired by the Japanese legend of folding 1000 origami cranes in order to receive a wish, OURA sells 1000 products in order to actually grant a wish for pediatric cancer patients. Together 1000 people can make a wish come true. This is not origami, its OURAgami.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
After beating cancer, staying healthy and active has been very important for me. Because of that, I start my mornings with a quick workout – either lifting weights or getting laps in at the pool.
I am currently in school, pursuing my Bachelor’s degree so I normally head straight to class afterwards. In between lectures, I normally have some time to work on things for OURA. This could be anything from social media content to crafting webpages for the site. I also try to finish all of my schoolwork while on campus so that I can focus on the business once I get home.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I always get my ideas on the go. Because of that, I have a lengthy notes section on my phone to jot anything down. However, actually realizing these ideas can be much more challenging. I am so lucky to have built a strong team to bounce ideas off. Pulling in multiple heads really helps us to solidify potential routes forward in order to bring ideas into reality.
What’s one trend that excites you?
One of my favorite trends is the growing importance on Corporate Social Responsibility. Millennials have a huge presence in the marketplace and these buyers care about the social good that companies are having in the world. They recognize that brands have a lot of power and want to see them use this to influence change in the world.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
For me, it is giving myself the one hour a day to be active. Wellness has been such a big part of my life and a really good workout does so much for both my body and my mind. It allows me to destress and start the day properly.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to appreciate people more. While I was undergoing chemotherapy, it was the support from my community that made me determined to overcome cancer. I am grateful for every person who was rooting for my recovery and wish I could have shown more gratitude and appreciation for their love and support.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You don’t need eight hours of sleep to feel fully rested. On average, I get four to six hours of sleep. I wake up feeling good and energetic. Anytime I sleep longer than six hours, I feel lethargic and less productive.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I watch ads. I do this in order to get ideas and see what other companies are doing. We can call it market research, but if an ad is even a little intriguing, I will watch all of it. It is so important to be aware of what is going on in other fields and how companies present their ideas. These ads have sparked so many ideas for how we can better communicate with our customers.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
As a startup, there are so many things that need to get done in order for your business to succeed. For us to accelerate growth, we had to quickly outsource roles and build a team with experts in each area – videography/photography, marketing, product design, and business development. Quickly setting up a team allowed us to expand at a much faster pace.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
We misunderstood our optimal audience. When initially launching, we targeted the cancer audience. We quickly realized that we had a much broader base of support from the wellness community as well as the philanthropic community. A lot of the verbiage we use and products we make has now shifted to focus on this audience.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One problem for cancer patients lies with their central line. There is no easy way for medical staff to access this without a robe which many pediatric patients like to avoid. A solution we have played with is a shirt that opens where the central line is placed.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
In first launching our hats, we struggled to get the best pictures of the product. Because of this, we purchased a large light box which really improved the quality of all our shots.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
For us, Trello works really well to keep our team on the same page even though we may be in different locations.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
This is a classic that I think every entrepreneur should read. It can be so applicable for any business that is looking for a wide adoption of their products.
What is your favorite quote?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. “Maya Angelou
- Time is of the essence, so don’t be afraid to spend cash to expedite processes
- Be aware! Pay attention to market trends and what the big guys are doing
- A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. Stay active to help drive your productivity
- Know your target audience and never be afraid to change strategies if things are not working.