Many people ask how and why my father and I started our business. And to be honest, it was by accident.
About two years ago, my father returned home from a trip visiting family in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After picking him up from the airport and unloading luggage, he handed me a gift— a custom, handmade leather messenger bag. Immediately, I fell in love with my new gift and sported it everywhere. From work to dinner to weekend trips, I toted my new bag all around the world. And soon after, friends, family members, and strangers started asking, “Where did you get your bag? I love it! Can your dad get me one as well?” For months the questions and requests kept coming. Even my father told me he had been getting the same questions, and suggested, “Hey, I think we have a business here. Let’s start a leather bag business!” Shortly after, the birth of UnoEth began.
Starting a business from scratch is a fun creative process, where brainstorming sessions let your mind run free with ideas and opportunities for your business to grow exponentially. But as with any business, the road to success is never a straight line up. There are dips, curves and encounters with the unknown. In addition, it can be a lot of work. On the bright side, there are benefits to running a business with family.
A family member as a business partner can be extremely beneficial— especially my dad. Having an equal partner with a long history (my whole life) and blood ties helps solidify communication, trust, and dedication to succeed. Neither partner wants to let the other down. From day one of creating our new business, I felt unbelievably confident in our new venture because my dad and I shared the same vision and passion for our budding brand.
In addition to trust, communication, and dedication, working with family also means splitting responsibilities. As we both grow our business around our full-time jobs, we wish there was more time in the day to juggle responsibilities. We split outstanding tasks, which alleviates the stress and workload on both of us.
Communication is key to maintaining strong relationships with each other, our vendors, shipping counterparts, business partnerships and most importantly, our customers. In the development of UnoEth, we’ve learned to communicate promptly to avoid creating a bottleneck in our business. Thanks to apps like Viber, we’re able to communicate easily internationally via wifi and all stay on the same page— just in different time zones.It’s incredibly important to maintain a positive, can-do attitude with a goal always in sight. As mentioned before, the road to success is never a straight line. Every business experiences road blocks and obstacles, which can deter most individuals from starting a business in the first place.
But with an optimistic, focused, and goal-oriented outlook, one can overcome the temporary downfalls, cross the finish line and push on to the next stage. At the end of day, one must ask, “How bad do I really want to be successful?” And then simply just go for it!
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