A true “Oolala” moment – meet Daniella the founder of The Oolala Collection Club
In celebration of Woman’s Month – a day is just not long enough – I wanted to feature a female powerhouse I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person. A lady, full of grace and poise, but also drive and sheer determination. Daniella Shapiro, known as ‘Danz’ by her friends and peers, by the age of 30, she’s a speaker, marketing expert and has created an empire for herself – what have you been up to?
How did you get started in the working world before you founded The Oolala Collection Club?
The journey has not been an easy one and every day brings a new challenge.
I have always had an entrepreneurial mind-set from a very young age. During my Honours year in Brand Leadership I had to complete an internship at a company. Wanting to work under a successful umbrella company, I decided that L’Oréal was where I could gain value and experience. It was a 3-week internship and from the moment I arrived I was excited, enthusiastic and ready to get my hands dirty.
However, what I did learn and know now for sure was I am not a corporate girl. After my internship with L’Oréal ended I was offered an immediate position. It was at that moment that I had a huge revelation; I needed to build my own empire and disrupt the market space. At the end of the day I wanted to be a world class innovator and I knew that disruption was the only way to change expectations of customers.
My business journey started while I was thinking about my passion for wellness, fitness and running. One morning in January 2011, while looking for the next half marathon I wanted to run, I had an Idea, I wanted to create a sporting event and own it. But this event was going to be different, unique and never done before. In January 2009 I bought over, rebranded, metamorphosized and re-created the City2City ultra marathon (Pretoria to Johannesburg) Heritage Race.
After selling out of this venture and then testing and trying out lots of different ideas of what worked and what didn’t and making sure we were providing a platform which keeps up with the latest digital and content marketing – I finally launched my own marketing, branding and social media consultancy.
Have you always had entrepreneurial aspirations or did this manifest when you felt the need to change after “burning out” in the business world?
I have been a high achiever for as long as I can remember, and both my parents supported me. I have always had to study hard to do well, nothing came easy. This gave me an appreciation for persistence, and an unstoppable work ethic. My dad passed away when I was 10 years old which was hugely traumatic for my family. My mom had always been independent and had her own company, so I was always challenging myself from a young age and my mom was always my biggest encourager and supporter and instilled so much confidence within me. I knew I would have to be independent and strong and find ways to earn money, by owning a business.
Have your life goals changed since becoming an entrepreneur?
Yes! Definitely. I used to only be focused on rigorous goal setting and had an obsession of achieving “perfection” with everything I did. I was always able to push through a rough patch but eventually I hit the wall hard. I desperately needed to reset and recover. I was totally burnt out, constantly exhausted and chronically stressed. This left me unable to think strategically or creatively. I knew that if I didn’t slow down and take care of myself I would never be able to pursue everything I had worked so hard for. I knew I needed to make changes. I needed to have a conversation with myself about what’s important and re-evaluate my mindset. Being a young entrepreneur, I learnt that there is a great deal to gain from freeing yourself of the collective delusion that burning out is the necessary price for accomplishment and success. Once upon a time we knew the value of self-care, taking not just moments but time to nurture, nourish and care for our body, minds and souls. Today, with the world moving at such a rapid pace, we are overcome by the need to juggle an exhaustive number of commitments. This results in neglecting our own wellbeing and our ability to feel whole.
What fuels your passion for being a creator, collaborator and key influencer?
Knowing I have been through so many life challenges and have so many stories to share about both my personal and business journey fuels my desire to help others by informing them of the so many insights I have learnt and experienced. I have a big story to tell and I believe my biggest purpose in this world is not just solely about the bottom line but also about making a difference to peoples lives. I only work with others who are sincere, genuine and don’t only care about how many followers, likes and share they have! I care about collaborating with others who share the same vision, values and goals as I do. This is just the beginning. I am a very private person so for most of my life I have not shared all the struggles and challenges in detail but now my aim is to be as real and transparent as possible if that means helping others. I never want anyone to think that I live a perfect life, or everything seems wonderful all the time because that is not the truth at all. Everyday brings a new challenge.
How do you balance things being multi-faceted between speaking, consulting, radio, Oolala etc.?
One word: ORGANISATION!
I’m most switched-on in the mornings, so I try to capitalise on that and wake up at 5am to always get a workout, run or boxing session in. I do not look at my phone or any social media/emails until I sit down at my desk. My morning routine is my time to clear my head without any interruption’s or background noise.
Strategise: I always take a few minutes at the start of the workday to think about where the business and brand should be going when my brain is still fresh.
To-do lists and my calendar: I don’t want to overwhelm myself first thing in the morning, so it’s important to take a quick look at my to-do list and calendar to know what’s ahead. Time needs be spent wisely, so I make sure that all plans are adaptable.
Organise workstations: A clean desk gives me a sense of mental clarity.
Acknowledge and plan for the tough projects: There are always difficult projects looming that get put aside. I address how I’m going to attack them first, so they don’t hang over my head all day.
Touch base with the team: I still have a relatively small team, so I’m able to engage one-on-one every day to see what everyone is working on and make sure they are on track.
I always focus on the product: I spend time working on our product line which usually entails thinking about ways we can improve, soliciting feedback from clients, and working with my talented team. We brainstorm, debate, and ultimately make the tough decisions necessary for true prioritisation.
What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring female entrepreneur?
Research and knowledge are everything, you need to understand your business and brand inside out. Have confidence and always believe in your vision. Seth Godin’s words from his book “The Dip” appropriately highlights the importance of innovation “Being better than 98% of the competition used to be fine. In the world of Google, though, it’s useless. It’s useless because all your competition is just a click away, whatever it is you do. The only position you can count on now is best in the world.”
What does Oolala Collection Club stand for?
TOCC stands for Proudly South African, genderless, result driven skincare which is paraben free, cruelty free and vegan. The entire brand is about creating affordable luxury and clean cutting-edge products that focus on preserving and protecting the environment. We have done this by eliminating the use of boxes and making all our products recyclable. The Oolala Collection Club is Eco-friendly, and we strive to make small efforts that show our respect to the planet, the importance of sustainability and minimizing our carbon footprint.
What’s next for the Oolala Collection Club?
We are currently working on maximising and improving the personalisation and online shopping experience making sure the entire experience is as seamless as possible. We are also going to be working on exciting POP UP stores. In addition, we are launching our OolalaSWEAT range and collaborating with likeminded brands to drive this campaign hard. (You will have to wait to hear more!). All in all, we are excited for what the future holds.
What challenges have you had to overcome being a woman in a traditionally male dominated industry?
I have to be honest, not many challenges. When you are confident at what you do, have the latest industry knowledge and are on top of your research, development and trends consistently, nothing and no-one will come in your way. Knowledge is power.
Thank you, Daniella, for being such a wonderful fierce and fearless female we can all aspire to be like! Go check out TOCC here.