From a young age, I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit bubbling up inside of me. So when I was working as a geopolitical risk analyst in Kenya and Somalia researching ship hijackings and ransom drops, I decided to build the business that I always needed – an on-demand beauty services app. By day I was a geopolitical analyst and by night I was a rising founder. I was determined to take the beauty game to the next level, and by 2015 I had launched the leading on-demand beauty app – Ruuby.
We have a platform that connects beauty therapists and clients so that clients can book at-home beauty services in the click of a button. Since inception, we've delivered over 300,000 treatments. We have about 2,500 freelancers on our books and we're operatingl in the UK, and we've just launched in France.
It's been an incredibly exciting journey – a rollercoaster ride, highs and lows and everything in between. And I'm excited to tell you a few of the stories behind Ruuby.
Starting the business
I have always been someone who has spotted gaps in the market, and my joy comes from thinking about business ideas. I have had this trait ever since I was young. In 2016, I was working a full-time job in a completely different industry (geo-political risk in East Africa!) and I was so busy that there was never any time to get any of my basic beauty treatments done.
At this time, we'd seen the rise of the on-demand service culture – from drivers, to food delivery and on-demand laundry services. I kept waiting for something to serve my needs in the beauty space, but nothing happened.
At this point, I'd had a few years on the corporate ladder, and recognised that ultimate professional fulfilment for me would lie in starting my own company. While I had a few ideas, on-demand beauty services felt like something that not only would people need, but that I also felt passionate about. So one day, I just decided to go for it!
Challenges as a female entrepreneur
Being an entrepreneur and founder is incredibly rewarding, and I would not have it any other way. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with its own set of challenges. Each day comes with a whole host of new problems to solve, and so maintaining energy, enthusiasm and clarity of thought and strategy is crucial for business success.
"The most important thing is true belief and passion in your business"
One of the main things that sets successful founders apart is their resilience, and their ability to keep this discipline even when it might feel like things are falling apart. No founder has a smooth, straightforward story – even the most successful businesses today are facing issues that we don't see.
Passion is the key to a successful business
The most important thing is true belief and passion in your business. Without this, the resilience and energy mentioned would be hard to maintain across the lifetime of the business.
Effective storytelling is something else I see in a lot of successful founders. The ability to effectively communicate and inspire is an incredibly important trait, and it can be learned.
3 things I wish I knew before starting a business
1. It always takes longer than you think
I launched my business seven years ago, and even today I feel like I am just getting started. Some of the most well known companies in the world that feel completely "new", were founded earlier than we think. Netflix was founded almost 30 years ago!
2. Mistakes are part of the game
When starting a business, the most important thing is to learn from them. I have made so many mistakes (from hiring and commercial hiccups, to new projects), but none of those mistakes have changed the game. In fact, they have made me stronger and more experienced as a founder.
3. The best businesses are made of great people
You can't do it on your own. A top priority should always be around hiring the very best people to help you grow and make the best decisions.
My final advice to anyone wanting to start their own business
Be fearless! I am a great champion of young entrepreneurs, and believe that these independent thinkers can change the world. Ensure you’re as informed as possible, that you learn every day, and that you surround yourself with those that inspire you.