Denise Reddy is originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and founded Harebell Sustainable Shop in Los Angeles with a focus on sustainability, inclusion, and ethical values. Denise is permitted to give LEED certifications to green buildings. Denise was inspired by the women in her life and creates products made with raw materials that preserve her heritage while taking care of the planet for the future of all children, including her son, Liam.
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Thank you for joining us today. Please introduce yourself to our readers. They want to know you, some of the background story to bring some context to your interview.
Denise Reddy: Hello! I am Denise Reddy, an Argentinian living in Los Angeles, mom of a toddler, President of Harebell Sustainable Group, and CEO of Harebell Shop.
You are a successful entrepreneur, so we’d like your viewpoint, do you believe entrepreneurs are born or made? Explain.
Denise Reddy: That is a very hard question, but I can tell you this: you need to have a certain personality to be a CEO. For example, if you like to be told what to do, you may face challenges. Decision-making is a key element in being a leader. We are all different and that is okay but being honest about what your strengths are will help you find the right workplace or profession. Going back to your question, leaders can be made too. I believe we change all the time. It might take a few years to grow into being a leader and that is the beauty in life. It is not written in stone and circumstances change and we do too.
If you were asked to describe yourself as an entrepreneur in a few words, what would you say?
Denise Reddy: My doors are open, always. Many decisions are made in a horizontal way. I am receptive, intuitive, and mindful. I trust my gut feeling a LOT but there is so much more than the eye can see. Brave as well! It is a different journey for me as a professional and it can be scary sometimes, but I keep on going… moving constantly toward pursuing my goals and Harebell’s of course.
Tell us about what your company does and how did it change over the years?
Denise Reddy: Harebell Shop sells a curation of Latin American Sustainable fashion. We launched as Harebell Sustainable Group with the purpose of “tackling” different industries and helping them while healing the environment. Little did we know we would end up in the fashion industry! Though since entering this very consumer-oriented industry and a super pollutant one, it just made sense to start here. It was quite a journey and we couldn’t be prouder.
Harebell Shop is a space where customers know they can find triple impact brands that thrive to help their communities as well as the environment. They are all Latin American and sustainable. We work with three categories: sustainable (noble products such as organic cotton, linen, or hemp), recycled (plastic bags, Tetra-Pack jewelry) or upcycled (repurposed clothes destined to the landfill; mainly defective products from the fashion industry). There is so much happening in the world and designers are getting super creative in transforming products. For example, the CARRO brand from Argentina recycles agricultural plastic into amazing resistant purses, wallets, and bags!
Thank you for all that. Now for the main focus of this interview. With close to 11.000 new businesses registered daily in the US, what must an entrepreneur assume when starting a business?
Denise Reddy: A rollercoaster! It is a MUST to be flexible. If you want things to happen a certain way you will only get disappointments and hit your head against walls. Life is not written in stone and there are a lot of different ways to get to your goals. So remember to stay open and keep on moving forward even when it seems nothing is happening. Life is not linear. Things are always happening.
Did you make any wrong assumptions before starting a business that you ended up paying dearly for?
Denise Reddy: Oh yes, so many! Those are experiences I am grateful for. I assumed certain people wanted to help me, but entrepreneurs have to be cautious about wasting time on people who are taking advantage of them due to their flexibility. Being new in this business, there was a lot to learn but I am passionate and very creative so it came easy. We still have a lot to improve even in our products but it is prices I am willing to pay to keep on supporting new innovating materials.
If you could go back in time to when you first started your business, what advice would you give yourself and why? Explain.
Denise Reddy: To trust. I believe many businesses fail because owners want things to happen a certain way and get frustrated when it does not happen immediately. When you are sure in yourself and move confidently toward what you want to pursue, life makes sure you get it. I do not mean castles in the air though, I just feel that trusting that you are in the right place, doing everything you can for what you desire to happen helps. I would tell myself that I deserve it, and I want to emphasize committing to action for the moves you have to make which jumpstarts your personal growth as well as your professional ones.
What is the worst advice you received regarding running a business and what lesson would you like others to learn from your experience?
Denise Reddy: You need a concrete business plan. Of course, you need a road map and clear goals, but that changes all the time and it is hard to adjust when you are fixed into doing things a certain way. I do believe that certain people need to bring everything down to a paper, plan, or Excel Sheet even, but there is much fish in the ocean and what might work for one might be a big red stop sign for someone else. Sara Blakely of Spanx did not have a business plan and look how far she’s gone.
In your opinion, how has COVID-19 changed what entrepreneurs should assume before starting a business? What hasn’t changed?
Denise Reddy: I believe COVID forced many to think out of the box and adjust their work to doing it remotely. Also, since many people had no work and businesses were mutating there was a lot of opportunities for many dreamers to go for it and start their entrepreneurial journey. Online modality grew and small entrepreneurs who had hobbies started doing business with them. I think this is a thriving moment to allow ourselves to change and transform the way we work. COVID showed us that everything is as thin as air and can change in one second. So, make sure you go for what you want. The moment is now.
What is a common myth about entrepreneurship that aspiring entrepreneurs and would-be business owners believe in? What advice would you give them?
Denise Reddy: A big myth about being a CEO is that you’re working all the time and your only priority is work and money. I am a mom and own a value-based business. Yes, I work a lot but I also allow my heart to guide my days as much as I can. If one day I want an afternoon off, I allow myself to have it. Those small breaks in the agenda create force and focus and allow you to perform better. It’s the contrary of what we’ve been taught. It’s not about running on the hamster wheel all the time. It’s about really focusing when you have to and allowing yourself to feel the need for breaks or pauses. It’s about the quality and not the quantity.
I advise them to keep on working on themselves and their personal growth. Prioritize yourself and those moments that give you joy. Make time to relax and reset. Again, I believe that the more aligned you are as a leader, the better your team will thrive. Each leader has a different style. My style is doors open and transparency. Maybe others prefer to do it in another way, but make sure your communication is fluent and your team knows where to go when having fears, doubts, feedback.
What traits, qualities, and assumptions do you believe are most important to have before starting a business?
Denise Reddy: Determination and tenacity, but also flexibility to trust you are on the right path even when it does not look like it.
How can aspiring leaders prepare themselves for the future challenges of entrepreneurship? Are there any books, websites, or even movies to learn from?
Denise Reddy: Sarah Blakely’s Masterclass is great! I do love many books such as “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz or “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. The more you know yourself and move toward what makes you happy, the better. Entrepreneurial life is a journey and there are no steps that can assure you success. The only thing that can assure your business’s success is your feeling toward owning it!
You have shared quite a bit of your wisdom and our readers thank you for your generosity but would also love to know: If you could choose any job other than being an entrepreneur, what would it be?
Denise Reddy: Probably something related to intuition or creativity, but value-based business and sales make me thrive and combine all of my tools!
Thank you so much for your time, I believe I speak for all of our readers when I say that this has been incredibly insightful. We do have one more question: If you could add anyone to Mount Rushmore, but not a politician, who would it be; why?
Denise Reddy: Being an immigrant, this was especially difficult. I am used to this lack of knowledge about American politics and to having to apologize for it. By no means of being disrespectful to your heritage as a nation, but I also wanted to answer with someone Native American since they are not regularly represented as part of your Nation’s symbols, but then I found there is another carving near Mount Rushmore featuring Oglala, a Lakota leader. So my definitive answer is a woman.
There is so much we still need to learn about this binary supremacist masculine modern trend and how to change and improve it, but even in medicine, the concept of two genders is from the 1800s. Slowly society and people are learning that the world is more diverse than what the books teach us and equal representation is very important for future generations to aim for endless possibilities regardless of the gender they identify themselves with.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Denise Reddy 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 Denise Reddy or her company, you can do it through her – Facebook
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