[quote style=”boxed”]I would delegate more and manage instead of doing everything myself.[/quote]
Maryam Ershadi is an accidental business owner. After Maryam’s father had a heart attack, her plan to go to medical school was set aside. In between caring for her father and studying for medical school, Mary decided to start a small business selling a diet pill out of her garage. In 1996, she started the business with $500 in hand. What started off as a small business in a garage soon grew to a business earning a little over half a million dollars in revenue.
To increase her product line and offer more to her growing base of customers, Maryam started a catalog of her own in 1997. This was the beginning of Rozgé. After working with multiple manufacturers who charged for ingredients not found in their product, Maryam decided to do her own manufacturing of products to control product integrity and quality.
Between 1997 and 1998, Maryam introduced anti-aging, skin whitening, skin firming, and hair care products to her product line. Rozgé’s product line is a representation of Maryam’s passion to provide products that deliver on their promise.
Now, Rozgé makes products for over 50 million internet-based companies, and is the sole-manufacturer for many others. Their products have been formulated specifically for doctors, and reality TV stars, making Rozgé product experts in over 30 different countries.
Where did the idea for Rozgé come from?
Rozgé was born because of a need I saw in the market place for result driven products.
What does your typical day look like?
My day is crazy. I have 3 kids under the age of 4 so my day starts at 6 a.m. By the time I get everyone and myself situated I get to the office around 9:30. I start my day by meeting with my production and product managers to get an update on the day’s schedule. Then I’m off to answering emails and phone messages. Before I know it, it’s time to go home. Time really flies when I’m at work. I have fun every day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I have an idea I meet with my chemist to discuss the latest ingredients on the market that address a particular function. From there she orders the active ingredients I want and starts working on a formula.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
The new fragrance trends for hair and skin. That’s pretty exciting. Companies do hours of research to forecast upcoming trends for fragrances, colors, and more – it’s all so interesting and exciting to learn all the upcoming trends.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think all entrepreneurs think alike to a certain extend. I can come up with a marketing strategy for any business. I love marketing so it’s fun for me to look at a business and come up with ways to improve sales.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
The worst job I had was when I was about 15. I worked at an insurance company. They put me in the microfiche room to look up articles. I got dizzy from the moving screen and passed out. I got transferred the next day. I learned I wasn’t made for microfiche research!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
I would delegate more and manage instead of doing everything myself.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I get excited about new products and opportunities. I can’t imagine losing that spark. I recommend the same to others. To keep trying no matter what. Have I made mistakes? Of course. But did I stop trying? No. I think that’s what’s important. To get up and try again.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
My strategy has always been to respect my client and be honest with them. I strongly feel that clients want and are willing to pay for quality products. If you give the client quality product, are honest about the results they should expect and give them good service too, what else would they want? You have a client for life.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I invested in a cosmetic company a few years back thinking that the owner is just as driven as I am and would do everything to make sure the business succeeds. I was wrong. Not all those claiming to be entrepreneurs actually are. I later learned that she was not mailing product to the customers which caused the salons to have back orders and lose clients and in turn not order again. I took over the company about 2 years ago and have slowly brought back some of those lost clients and are still working on the rest by giving them excellent service on top of a good product. Service has to be exceptional. I always tell my employees that we are not the only company selling cosmetics. These days the consumer has many options. But if we give clients good service and good product then we have built a relationship that will hold for many years to come.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve always wanted to open a coffee shop/yogurt shop with a pet bar. Where people can come no matter the season and bring their pet and relax. I wanted to have decorations on the wall that you could buy and take home. The coffee shop wouldn’t have any chairs, mostly couches and bean bags and pillows.
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I’m shy. I know a lot the people would disagree but I really am shy. I push myself every day to overcome it. Fake it till you make it, right?
What software and web services do you use?
We use custom programs for both our retail and manufacturing businesses.
What do you love about them?
I can make any change I want and search for anything I want. No limits.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I read a lot of management books. I like those a lot. I think a company culture starts from the top so it’s important to set the right tone throughout the company.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
A lot of people have influenced my through the years but I think most of all would be my family especially my parents. I think their perseverance in supporting me and encouraging me has a lot to do with where I am today.
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Rozgé on Twitter: @Rozge_
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.