TAJ10 hopes to make "vegan sexy," says creators
When meeting sisters Anita and Nadia Saoud, one is struck by the fact that both possess remarkable beauty. Each has long, glossy black hair paired with dark olive skin. And as soon as they begin speaking, one is equally struck by another very discernable trait: the sisters are straight-up businesswomen.
The first-generation Canadians say that it was their parents who sparked their entrepreneurial drive.
"Our parents were immigrants, and they started their own business," says the elder sister, Anita, adding that both her and Nadia were essentially raised to become entrepreneurs. They were especially inspired by their mother "for being such a strong, (professional) woman," who also happened to be the bread-winner in their childhood home.
Anita, who just turned 25, has already earned a bachelors degree in marketing – a discipline specifically chosen because she knew she wanted to start her own business.
Anita and her 19-year-old sister, Nadia, –who is currently earning her own business degree at Mount Royal University –joined forces and in the spring of 2011, launched TAJ10 a lineup of three "all natural, locally (Canadian) made hair products."
The line includes a shampoo, conditioner and texturizer.
The TAJ10 business strategy
Both sisters say that taking the Calgary-based company from a great idea to a sellable product could not have happened without a ton of determination – and of course, some cash.
"You can't make money without spending money," Anita says. "You have to spend the money first before it will come back for you."
Still, the Saoud's say that just how much money one needs to start up a small business will depend on things like marketing, and public relations strategies.
"We live in a social-media world," says Nadia.
And although Anita says that she still works to fund advertising for TAJ10, there are many free public relations strategies like Pinterest, and Facebook.
"The world has changed," Anita says. "You have to be interacting with your customers."
Both Nadia and Anita blog and do tutorials for their website, TAJ10.com, another way of building relationships with their customers.
A Calgary business
Being in Calgary has also been beneficial for the Saouds.
"I would actually say we are lucky to be here," Anita says. "The demographics are young, and the arts and culture scene in the city is growing."
Anita says that it's been exciting to be a part of a rapidly growing industry at such a young age. The TAJ10 team has also immersed their company into the Calgary fashion scene.
"We are hoping to have an upcoming collaboration with N.R.T. Fashion," Anita says, referring to another young Calgary entrepreneur, local clothing designer, Nicole Rita Tomney.
Work hard and don't give up
And when the going gets tough, Nadia says that the TAJ10 team gets through rough patches with good old-fashioned hard work and determination.
"You have to start from the bottom and the only way to get to the top is by working for it," she says. "It gets hard when it doesn't seem like (the company) is going anywhere – but don't give up because it will only get bigger and better."
- By MELISSA MOLLOY