Aai’sha Shakir-Wright - Entrepreneur
SymplyEbony: First of all, I LOVE your products! I’m on Pinterest and I have SO MANY pins about how to make bath bombs and body butters and scrubs…but I’ve only tried once. It’s not as simple as it looks, especially knowing how to give it a good shelf life. Did you start out knowing this was going to be a business or was it more of a hobby?
AaishaShakirWright: I am truly humbled that you love my products, thank you so much! You know, most people do think that it’s a simple process, but as I’m sure you have found out there really is much more to it! There is a very specific technique that needs to be mastered when creating bath bombs, so much so that even doing one thing incorrectly, or too slowly, can adversely affect the entire batch.
When I first started, I was making products for personal use, as I had suffered for years with medical issues and modern medicine provided very little relief for me. I began to do extensive research on the benefits of natural products and was blown away by what I found!
SymplyEbony: How big of a role has social media played into your sales?
AaishaShakirWright: It’s interesting, but social media plays a very small part in my sales. The success of my business has truly blossomed from word of mouth & customer testimonials. The one great thing I can say about social media is that it has allowed me to connect with the businesses I have partnered with! So for business to business transactions, social media has been effective. For everyday sales with my customers, it is more word of mouth and loyal customers.
SymplyEbony: You were featured in Izzy and Liv’s Brown Sugar Box for January of 2018. Did that heavily impact sales? If so, how were you able to keep up with the demand?
AaishaShakirWright: Oh my goodness, I was soooooo excited when we were initially contacted about the feature! Izzy & Liv is the 8th business that we have partnered with, but I’m also a Brown Sugar Box subscriber so this partnership was really special to me. The feature happened as we were coming off the heels of an extremely busy holiday season, so it did have a heavy impact on our January & February sales. It was almost as if we had an extended holiday, so instead of being able to relax a little right after Christmas, our Christmas lasted through March lol. I hired additional help and began prepping for the feature in the beginning of December, and as the orders rolled in we shipped them out as quickly as humanly possible!
SymplyEbony: You have a beautiful little boy! Male entrepreneurs are never asked how they juggle career and fatherhood…but women are asked this question every day. We do it because we have to. Period. In that spirit, I want to ask, have you faced hurdles in business…that you may not have faced if you were a man?
AaishaShakirWright: Thank you! I also have a 19 year old younger sister, who I have had custody of since she was 9 years old. Between the two of them, it feels like I’m on mommy duty 24/7 - hahaha! As far as facing any hurdles, I don’t believe I have. I attribute that more to me being the boss than being a woman, due to the fact that I essentially make my own rules. In my opinion, what’s the point of having your own business if you’re not able to have the flexibility to pick your kids up from school if you choose to, or grab lunch downtown if you need a break from the office? I don’t want to live a life that holds me captive to deadlines and time restrictions, I need the freedom to be creative, and feel the sun on my skin when I need to.
But on the flip side of that, as a mother I do have to be extremely cognizant of my time management. I don’t have the flexibility to work really late hours (even if I wanted, or needed to), because I’m a mother above all else. In honesty, there have been times when I have literally stopped creating for a few hours to take care of my son, and after he fell asleep got right back to it. As you stated, we juggle and we get it done because we have to, period. But I don’t feel this is a hurdle that I’ve faced because of my motherhood, it’s more of a conscience choice to bring balance and bridge the gap between my personal and professional responsibilities.
SymplyEbony: What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you BEFORE you started your business?
AaishaShakirWright: I really wish someone had told me that entrepreneurship is more of a marathon, not a sprint. In the beginning when the business didn’t grow as quickly as I wanted or expected it to, I thought I was failing. I really wish I had someone to tell me that I wasn’t failing, but that I was planting good seed and needed to take that time and prepare for the harvest! I used to think that owning a business was an A – Z type of ordeal, but now I understand that it is more like starting at 1, with no end in sight as there is technically no highest number. Entrepreneurship is a journey, and sometimes there is no clear pathway or “finish line”. I wish I knew that in the beginning, but I’m so grateful that I understand it now.
SymplyEbony: I know I’ve already said this, but adore your products and can’t wait for more! Thank you so much for SymplyConversating with me today!!
AaishaShakirWright: Awww, thank you! It truly makes my heart sing to hear you love our products. That is truly the greatest honor one could give me! And thank you so much for allowing me to share a bit of our story! I am extremely excited about our Spring Collection release on April 1st at 9:00am (EST). We are launching a new website (www.sugarshakcollection.com) as The Sugar Shak Collection debuts as its own brand (separate from Swag Boutique).
We are also excited to move into our new warehouse that we officially broke ground with construction on Feb 15th of this year. So lots of new and exciting changes coming soon, as we are excited to see what the future has in store for us!
**Swag Boutique has officially been re-branded as UNDER 10 where all items are $10 and under! For more information on UNDER 10 and the Sugar Shak Collection, click the buttons below!