Azaria Anaman is a multi-business owner carving her way into the beauty and zero-waste spaces. She is the founder of Eni Lashes, an eyelash brand that enhances lashes and empowers people. She also owns Brush Fresh Co. a zero-waste dental products brand. Azaria recently won the runner-up prize for Cardiff University’s Start-Up Awards 2021 with Eni Lashes, both validating the confidence in her business concept and giving her funds to implement some of her ideas. She is currently scaling and building business communities for both brands respectively while navigating her way in the entrepreneurial space.
As a recent graduate, Azaria has wasted no time and regularly contributes towards causes she is passionate about alongside her businesses. Most notably raising funds for charities supporting women against gender-based violence through Eni Lashes and meeting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to advocate for student mental health during the Global Pandemic.
Azaria is a determined person and budding entrepreneur who is passionate about helping people.
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Welcome to your ValiantCEO exclusive interview! Let’s start with a little introduction. Tell us about yourself.
Azaria Anaman: My name is Azaria and I am a multi-business owner carving my way into the beauty and zero-waste spaces. I am the founder of Eni Lashes, an eyelash brand that enhances lashes and empowers people. And I also own Brush Fresh Co., a zero-waste dental products brand.
Recently, Eni Lashes won the runner up prize for Cardiff University’s Start-Up Awards 2021, validating confidence in my business concept. I am currently scaling and building business communities for both brands respectively while navigating my way in the entrepreneurial space.
As a recent graduate, I has wasted no time and regularly contribute towards causes I am passionate about alongside my businesses. I am constantly raising funds for charities supporting women against gender-bused violence through Eni Lashes. I also recently met with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to advocate for student mental health during the Global Pandemic, see my interview on BBC News.
In my spare time I enjoy going for walks, dancing and listening to podcasts.
Overall, I am a determined person and budding entrepreneur who is passionate about helping people.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get to where you are today? Give us some lessons you learned along the way.
Azaria Anaman: At first I wanted to be an actress I really like to play pretend in school and just acting around really. Then I wanted to be an accountant which is the journey I chose to pursue, mostly for my love of numbers and earning potential. Along the way I realised how important enjoying my job is to me as well as earning money. Before my desire to become an accountant I wanted to run a business but didn’t have the confidence to do so. I came across a note I’d written in my teenage years stating that and I thought it was time to prove myself wrong, so I decided to start a business!
I didn’t know what to start my business in for a while but my housemate and friend asked me one day if she could give me a makeover for her YouTube channel to which I said yes and I gave her complete creative control. She did quite bold make up with bright eyeshadow and false eyelashes which was outside my comfort zone. But when she had finished I love the way it looked and felt so confident false eyelashes, it was a feeling I wanted to pass on to other people, that’s when the idea for Eni Lashes was born.
From there, I started a social media page and looked for workshops and a support system to guide me through.
Tell us about your business, what does the company do? What is unique about the company?
Azaria Anaman: Eni Lashes is a modern false eyelash and makeup brand made with a focus on enhancing eyelashes and empowering people. We sell only cruelty-free and vegan products because you don’t have to be cruel to be kind! Our Faux mink eyelashes, which are both vegan friendly and cruelty-free, are 0% mink but 100% Quality! Our luxury lashes come in our signature drawer boxes and are all REUSABLE and RECYCLABLE.
We know the power of makeup and the ability to give CONFIDENCE, however, we also know in its extremes, the ability for beauty to be unrealistic and damaging to one’s self-esteem. At Eni Lashes, we wanted to merge the idea of beauty and makeup being EMPOWERING tools while championing the importance of INNER BEAUTY. Through this, the names of our eyelash styles were born!
How to become a CEO? Some will focus on qualities, others on degrees, how would you answer that question?
Azaria Anaman: I don’t think there is one set way to do it, and that’s the beauty of it really – I don’t think there is a course or set of instructions to becoming a CEO. Having said that, I think its important to develop yourself, your soft and hard skills and to do research in whatever you want to do. I think doing all those things will give you a strong foundation in being a CEO and the benefits will show in other areas of your life. I don’t think it’s essential to go down a particular route of education but it can help.
What are the secrets to becoming a successful CEO? Who inspires you, who are your role models and why? Illustrate your choices.
Azaria Anaman: In my opinion the secret to success is community. It is so important to have a community of business owners around you to bounce off ideas, give advice, share tips and have a support system really. Sometimes motivation can eb and flow but having a supportive community around will help you continue to progress.
Another important secret of being a successful CEO is being adaptable. More often than not things don’t work out in the way you think they will so you have to adapt. Sometimes that means changing your strategy, angle or delivery, sometimes that means adapting to changes in environment and sometimes that means scrapping ideas entirely.
I am inspired by my family and friends without a doubt. A lot of whom aren’t entrepreneurs, although some are or have been, but most importantly seeing how they navigate life, challenges and successes. Even though they are not necessarily in the same field as me, I am very fortunate to be surrounded by very determined, kind and driven people which I value and helps me to improve myself.
It’s inspiring to see people work through their troubles, lean on the community for support and share and celebrate life with their nearest and dearest and I value that not and draw from the experiences of my community to improve myself.
Many CEOs fall into the trap of being all over the place. What are the top activities a CEO should focus on to be the best leader the company needs? Explain.
Azaria Anaman: Truth be told, I would say I fall into that trap sometimes. For me not being all over the place involves a lot of planning which means using diaries and calendars to plan my time and tasks. Especially when you’re running a business that doesn’t have many employees or any for that matter you need to prioritise your time especially when you have a lot of varied tasks and projects to do.
In my opinion the top activities a CEO should focus on should be strategy, long-term business vision and employee welfare. The long-term vision of the company will inform the long-term and short-term goals, which feed into the strategies and short-term goals which will translate into projects and tasks. I like to think of it as a captain of a ship looking ahead to see if there’s any danger while this is the ship is being steered.
The Covid-19 Pandemic put the leadership skills of many to the test, what were some of the most difficult challenges that you faced as a CEO/Leader in the past year? Please list and explain in detail.
Azaria Anaman: Knowing where to prioritise. Over the course of the past year I learnt and, training and development of skills and take a because of the climate, things have changed a lot and are continuing to change. Therefore knowing which areas to prioritise is essential.
At first I prioritised social media because that’s where I started out and for the time it made the most sense. Whereas now I’ve move my priority to website, product development but sometimes I find it difficult to know if I’m spending the right amount of time in the right places.
Another challenge is concerning stock. I never know the right amount of stock to order at a time. Sometime I’ve ordered too much that it’s difficult to store, or sometimes with delivery delays due to covid I don’t always replenish stock at the right time.
What are some of the greatest mistakes you’ve noticed some business leaders made during these unprecedented times? What are the takeaways you gleaned from those mistakes?
Azaria Anaman: The biggest mistake I can think of is that Facebook who conducted internal research and found that Instagram has a negative impact on girls’ mental health concerning things like body image and self esteem. Instead of using the research findings to think of solutions and ways in which self-esteem for a generation of young people instead rejected its own findings.
As both a business owner and a young woman this was troubling for me because I have business activity on both by what I learned from this is that it is so important to champion being normal and not fuelling the fire that is picture perfect skin and heavily edited photos which does affect peoples self esteem. This affirmed to me how important it is to be real with our audience and show people in all their forms.
This reason it is important for me to always learn from our research even if the findings don’t show what we want or expect. Also to never enhance photos of people. For this reason we never distort pictures to change the way a person looks. At the end of the day I think sometimes social media can sell the idea of a person and the idealistic view of the way a person can look as opposed to promoting a product or service.
In your opinion, what changes played the most critical role in enabling your business to survive/remain profitable, or maybe even thrive? What lessons did all this teach you?
Azaria Anaman: The first change that was very important was moving away from running my business on social media. When I started Eni Lashes, Instagram was our only sales channel. But it quickly became apparent that I don’t own Instagram and at any point my account could be deleted, hacked or distorted and I would lose a lot. Therefore building a website was very important to maintain as much ownership of my online space as possible.
Second would be moving away from the trial mentality and implementing ideas I thought would work in the long run. My first logo was hand drawn calligraphy which was nice don’t get me wrong but it was a short term place holder for me in case I decided to cease trading or things didn’t work out I wouldn’t have invested too much into it. I’ve since learnt, doing things intentionally with faith and longevity in mind tends to work a lot better.
Third change would be delegating tasks. I am not the greatest photographer in the world and that’s something I’m okay with so delegating photography to a photographer was one of the best decisions so I could focus on areas I’m better at and utilise my skill set more effectively.
What is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Azaria Anaman: Developing my marketing strategy. I’m operating in a market with a lot of competition, from big and small businesses and marketing with a smaller budget, less people and less time is proving to be quite a challenge.
You already shared a lot of insights with our readers and we thank you for your generosity. Normally, leaders are asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is the most useless skill you have learned, at school or during your career?
Azaria Anaman: Writing music. I learnt it in secondary school music lessons but it’s a skill I haven’t retained and doesn’t come into use in my everyday life, not even on occasions!
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. We will select these answers for our ValiantCEO Award 2021 edition. The best answers will be selected to challenge the award.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make, this past year 2021, for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Azaria Anaman: Changing website platform because it basically meant that I had to start everything from scratch. Collecting information, data, rebuilding website design etc, sunk costs of money lost from investing in the previous website platform. Would have been easier to stick it out and see how far we could get with it, but I just knew long term I would be stunted in growth and potential would start to see the impact. Not to mention, I had to do this during my exam season of my final year of university to avoid renewing my website for another year!
This change benefiting our customers because our new website is cleaner, faster, easier to navigate in use and just have a better user experience overall.
It also benefited business because it has more integrations that make processes quicker and more streamlined and it has been much easier to grow and see the results of changes so I know what is working and not working.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Azaria Anaman for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Azaria Anaman or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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