Working from home is not a bad thing. A lot of times, we are too ashamed to work from home. We want to “look” the part and have an office or commercial space when we may not be ready to branch out into a commercial space. If working from home is possible, then do that until you absolutely have to rent a commercial space.
Ihad the pleasure of interviewing Andres Roban, CEO and Founder of Ounce of Nature™. Roban was born in Trinidad but moved to New York City for his formative years. Throughout his life, his ability to create anything he sets his mind to has resulted in him becoming an empowered entrepreneur who consistently brings to life ideas. Roban’s Ounce of Nature™ launched as a result of his refusal to accept the facial lines that appeared on his then 37-year old handsome face. His Supreme Pillow came to life as a result of asthma issues that made sleeping difficult. Effin Fresh became a thing when visitors at a trade show were irresistibly pulled toward his booth by the wafts of fragrance he used as a lure; they ignored the showcased products only to ask: “where can we buy that air freshener?” These products were amongst others that he’s brought to market including a hybrid of Match.com and Craigslist for Baby Boomers called SinglesBoom. He counts the Gym Hoodie, a locker key/credit card/iPhone-holding gym towel amongst one of his innovations.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
One word: Aging! Aging is inevitable, and it was a rude awakening as I began approaching 40 years old. Seeing the development of fine lines and wrinkles on my forehead made me decide to be proactive. Searching for products that work to reduce fine lines and wrinkles took me from one dead-end to another. That was a good thing, because the inventor in me kicked in and sent me to the drawing board to develop my own Anti-Aging Serum. As a result of the tremendous positive reception to my product and brand, I realized that this is the career path I should focus on.
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
A few years ago, while applying for my Patents, I ran into severe financial difficulties. I went to my landlord and asked him if I could be late with the rent. Being a good tenant, he said yes. At this same time, there was also the crash of the economy, which led to slowed down the business at the restaurant I was working at. Unfortunately, I could never catch up to my back-rent and lost my apartment. It was a very low time in my life, but I still had life. That meant, if I am alive and healthy, I can always right those wrongs, get up, dust myself off and keep on grinding.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur! As cliché as that may sound, it is very true. The drive never disappears. It’s always there. What really motivated me to continue, was my family, achieving the goals I have set for myself, those who depend on me for employment and for revolutionary products.
So, how are things going today? How did Grit lead to your eventual success?
Today, things are great. From not having a place to live, I bounced back better than ever. Resilience is important if you want to be an entrepreneur. Now, I am back on my feet, moved into a new apartment, and am successfully running my Skincare Retail Store & Spa, Ounce Of Nature. The drive to succeed trumped everything else. When you go through real hardships, rock bottom hardships, any other adversities become insignificant. You realize you are unstoppable and that any adversities will be short-lived.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the funniest mistakes I made turned out to be my #1 product. While searching for the best skin care products, I blended different anti-aging products I found on the shelves and accidentally came up with a revolutionary anti-aging serum. This was funny, as developing a skincare product was the furthest thing on my mind. This was pure happenstance! But, I never sat down on it and the results were truly amazing. I could have never imagined what was to come from that crazy experiment I concocted a couple of years ago. The lesson I took away from this, especially as an inventor with three patents, was that there are always new products to develop or ways to enhance them. So, when something presents itself to you, never ignore it, look into it, and you may be on your way to developing a revolutionary product like I did.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
In the already saturated skincare industry, there is no shortage of products to help individuals age gracefully. Almost all of them are bogus products, with claims that are unsubstantiated and products that don’t deliver on their promise. At Ounce of Nature™, our products are truly remarkable. Our Anti-Aging Serum delivers visible results within 30 minutes of application. That’s a remarkable feat and unheard of in the skincare industry. The fact that it is 100% natural, non-GMO, not tested on animals, etc., puts the icing on the cake when it comes to why Ounce of Nature™ stands out from the rest.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Over the last few painstaking years, I have learned the critical importance of developing and testing products. When testing products, a lot of companies will advise you to “just blend, it’s okay”. However, as cosmetics and skincare continue to grow into a multi-billion dollar industry people have gotten greedy, “it’s quick money and it’s plentiful”. They forget that they are dealing with ingredients that can adversely affect a customer. The FDA does not regulate the cosmetic industry but they do provide guidelines. I make sure that Ounce Of Nature follows these guidelines. It’s necessary for companies to understand the deep importance of testing their products before they sell them and potentially hurt customers.
Another tip that I believe is crucial for success is to understand when you release a product it should fulfill a need for the customer. Just because you like the product, doesn’t mean it will work. Releasing products that customers need is what really matters. This can’t be stressed enough.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Over the years, I have had people support me in many ways. One of those individuals stands out more than the rest. My investor! Though he and I have had some disagreements along the way, he was the one who invested in Ounce of Nature™, when so many others promised. He challenged me to apply the anti-aging serum on his face, and if it worked, he would invest. Like clockwork, within 30 minutes, he checked the mirror and was blown away by the results. His facial fine lines and wrinkles were greatly diminished. He put pen to paper and the rest is history. For this, I will forever be indebted to him.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As a successful company, it’s an honor to give back to the community in any possible way. My preferred way of giving back is through charitable organizations. Suicide has been on the rise in recent years, and Ounce of Nature has contributed hundreds of dollars to 1journey2wheels, headed by the National Police Suicide Foundation. This foundation lends support to those who took their lives and the loved ones they have left behind. We have also donated hundreds of skincare products, specifically shower and bath products, to shelters and individuals who need them.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Five things I wish I knew or was told about before I started my company are:
- Make sure you build a strong credit history before opening a business. When I started Ounce Of Nature, and needed a loan, I hit a giant wall. My issue was not bad credit, but “no credit history”, as I’ve never had debt, and because of this, the Credit Bureau had no history from me.
- Hire a team that is familiar with your business model. When I first started with my skincare business, I started doing it all myself. Learning as I go, and wasted precious time. Though it was only a couple of months, it was precious time I would have hired someone in the field to improve productivity in those months.
- Get an Investment and use those funds before dipping into your personal funds. When you use your own funds, and you run out of cash, that’s it! Now, you are reliant solely on investors funds, which greatly limits your spending ability and control of your company.
- Utilize family and friends for loans before getting an investor. This is critical if you are to retain most or all of the company’s equity. In most cases, family and friends loans are usually expected to be returned with little to no interest, allowing you to retain control of the company.
- Working from home is not a bad thing. A lot of times, we are too ashamed to work from home. We want to “look” the part and have an office or commercial space when we may not be ready to branch out into a commercial space. If working from home is possible, then do that until you absolutely have to rent a commercial space.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I am working on a motivational platform to encourage individuals to strive to do their very best in everything they do. To understand that giving up should never be an option, as we never know what’s on the other side waiting for us. There is no timeframe for success. Yes, most want it to happen right away, but it doesn’t work that way in most scenarios. Success happens when the time is right, and not a second before. The important thing is to never give up on one’s dreams and aspirations.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!