Starting a business is challenging and time consuming but can be equally rewarding. I remember days where I questioned why I was doing this, but luckily that “why?” had an answer — to help women feel their best and to give back. I knew my responsibility to finish what I started was worth so much more.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Meyer of Elia Parfum.
After 15 years in the fashion industry, Amanda Meyer lost her job early in the pandemic. The lockdown provided Amanda time to reflect and think about what her next step should be, ultimately deciding to combine her love of fashion and beauty with her passion for helping others and desire to give back on a broad scale. She created Elia Parfum, which donates 10% of every sale to fight against human trafficking and empower both the women who wear it and the women it benefits.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I grew up in Bakersfield, California with a loving family who instilled values and good morals at a young age. I played soccer competitively for 15 years and later moved to Orange County, California to pursue my passion of the fashion industry. As a child I was very strong-willed, competitive, and always up to a little mischief. I think these traits gave me a strong foundation to become a driven businessperson and entrepreneur.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Give more than you take.” I believe to my core that we are put on this earth to love, help, and serve others. I try to live my life by this motto because I believe happiness comes from giving.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I listen to Joel Osteen podcast every morning on my walk with Biff (the most beautiful golden retriever you will ever meet.) I always feel motivated, lifted, and lightened after listening to him and it starts my day off with a great message that is relevant to what we are going through every day.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
I love fashion. When I was a little girl my mother asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I said a lawyer because I want to wear a pin-striped pencil skirt and matching tailored blazer with black stilettoes as I walk into the court room. My mother quickly responded with… “Honey I think you might want to be in fashion.” From that day forward, it was a done deal. I was fascinated with clothing, style, and trends and knew this was the life for me. After studying fashion merchandising at California State University Long Beach, I graduated with a double major in Fashion Design and Merchandising with a minor in Business. During college I would model for different designers on the side and that quickly turned into a full-time job once I graduated.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
The pandemic changed my life. Having the down time to reflect and ask myself what I want to do, how I want to be known, and if there was anything I could do to help others. I created a beauty brand and named the company named after my mother’s maiden name: ELIA.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
Scent is the gift that keeps on giving. When you smell something attractive or familiar your memory is triggered which can immediately transport you to a time or place or person. I remember wearing specific scents that would just make me feel happy, alive, inspired, excited… and I knew in my heart this was it. Not only was I going to create a scent that would inspire and transform the women who wear it, I was going to create the first fragrance that donates a percentage to a non-profit organization working to end human trafficking, a cause that I’m extremely passionate about.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Things are incredible! I couldn’t be more proud of what Elia Parfum is accomplishing in our first year. We launched in May 2020 and have already donated over $5,000 to A21, a leading global non-profit organization designed to help rescue and restore victims of human trafficking. I love reading our customer’s emails and reviews telling me how incredible this scent smells and how happy they are to support such an important cause.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My sister Sarah has been my biggest cheerleader. Starting a business from nothing is challenging and there will always be days when you just want to say, “I’m done,” but my sister would always show me support in anything I did. She’s the first person to help me when I need it, give me sound advice, and just say, “I’m proud of you,” which really is what we all want to hear from the people we love and respect most in this world. I wouldn’t be here without her.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Yes, I found myself and discovered who I was meant to be. I found the magic in myself that I lost after so many years and now I have this new love and new passion that fuels and drives me every day to continue to do more to help others.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- It’s not going to be easy, so make sure you really want it. It will take a lot of hard work, persistence, and dedication.
- You will quickly get an education in every aspect of business for your start-up, from accounting, to packaging and supply logistics, marketing and more. My business minor helped but going through the process has been a big learning experience.
- Understanding how much capital, supplies and inventory you need to launch, grow, and successfully navigate a busy period. For Elia, that has been the holiday gift-giving season.
- Knowing that customer service plays an integral role in the growth and success of your company. You need to keep your customers happy and balance being happy with yourself and your products, and not take anything personally.
- Starting a business is challenging and time consuming but can be equally rewarding. I remember days where I questioned why I was doing this, but luckily that “why?” had an answer — to help women feel their best and to give back. I knew my responsibility to finish what I started was worth so much more.
Overall, I’m just riding the wave and enjoying the ride!
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
I meditate every morning when I wake up, started a routine that I could keep up with, and allowed myself space to be creative and have fun because if you aren’t having fun with what you’re doing — why are you even doing it? Working out is huge for my mental health. I found an online workout regime I can do 20–30 minutes a day that keeps me accountable and gets my endorphins going. Drinking lots of water, eating healthy, cooking a new recipe, and learning a new skill all help, but hands-down that life changing tip is my gratitude journal. Every morning and night I write down three things that I’m grateful for and why… this changed my life!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
To end human trafficking. Why is this even happening in our world today? It’s a heinous crime that we, as a society, don’t discuss. I’d like to change the dialog. We need to talk about sex trafficking. I’d like to inform, fight, and abolish human and sex trafficking, especially for women and children.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I’d love to have lunch with Christine Caine. She created the organization A21 with her husband over 14 years ago to fight and end human trafficking. I’d love to discuss the ways I could help and just hear what she has to say. She’s such an inspirational woman!
How can our readers follow you online?
I would love everyone to follow my journey @EliaParfum on Facebook and Instagram.
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!