Sometimes we get so used to our day-to-day routines that we forget to take a step back to assess if we are really working towards what's important for us. For Yeba, the entrepreneurial mom of two who launched her namesake brand for women's handbags in 2015, it was the birth of her second son that made her start examining whether her choice of career and the lifestyle that came with it were really fitting with her priority in life. It was also then she decided to leave behind her career in marketing consulting and pursue what she really enjoys doing: the creative process of making something beautiful.
Yeba started by taking two start-up programs in the evening during her maternity leave and worked on her idea of creating a luxury handbag brand for modern women. Today, the result speaks for itself. Clean, structured and functional with impeccable workmanship, Yeba wants her collection to reflect her brand's philosophy and tell a story: about how women should not impose limit on themselves and take on challenges in life.
I sat down with Yeba in the trendy Leopold Café Presse in Brussels and chatted away about work-life balance, entrepreneurial challenges and more.
CHOU: You used to be a management consultant and now an entrepreneur. While both jobs require long hours of hard work, did this switch make a difference to your time spent with kids?
Yeba: Absolutely. Although I still work long hours, now I have the flexibility to fit my working schedule around my kids' schedule to spend uninterupted quality time with them. That means I can be there to listen to them about their day at the school, give them a bath, put them to bed..then typically start working again into midnight. Yes, I still work long hours, but now I can always be there when my kids need me the most- which is something I could not always do when being on a stressful and hectic schedule of a management consultant.
CHOU: Your brand's philosophy is about empowering women, celebrating women who venture out of their comfort zone and take on challenges. As you did not have a background in fashion nor an existing network in this industry, what did you see as the most challenging aspect when venturing out of your comfort zone and creating your brand YEBA?
Yeba: Having had previous experience only in consulting, I was used to being the one proposing ideas and solutions to clients yet never the one executing them. So my profile is much more of a 'thinker' than a 'doer.' When setting up my business, that became my biggest challenge as I had to learn almost everything from scratch and execute the ideas. The ideas didn't always work, and I had to learn to accept that sometimes things could take much longer to happen than I planned. What I want to stress though is that it is important to expand your network, leverage your resources and ask people for help.
CHOU: What would you suggest to women who would like to start up something but do not yet have a particular product or business in mind?
Yeba: I would suggest them to take a step back and think about therir different interests and if there is a particular message they want to relay to people. They do not need to feel like they have to be particularly passionate about a product or business in order to launch something; what they do need to find out is what they enjoy doing and what story they want to tell the world through their brand. That kind of passion will help them be persistent in their adventure which is key in any start-up businesses.
Check out more beautiful bags from YEBA here.