Empowerment

Empowered Women Empower Women- Helen Hadush- A Girlboss Changing the Face of Africa

This month's Empowered Women Empower Women series features an extraordinary woman who does it all!  She is an innovator, a creator, and a woman who believes in creating her own path into greatness. She built not one but TWO companies from the ground up and all while being a mother to two adorable kids and a wife as well.  

Enjoy reading all about Helen Hadush’s journey and how she became the superwoman she is today!
1. I admire and love your determination to empower women through the different projects you run here in the United States and Ethiopia. In addition to Helaz Beauty, you also created a re-usable diaper company in Ethiopia, and you mentor high school children as well. Tell me about your journey, what inspired you to create a diaper company and then launch Helaz Beauty? What does it do for the community, both in Ethiopia and in the United States?

During my visit back home in Ethiopia, I saw parents having to compromise milk and food supplies over disposable diapers.  It is estimated that more than 70% of the families can't afford proper and sustainable sanitary for their babies. The cost of diapers is becoming one of the most significant challenges parents face in Ethiopia. This inspired me to come up with a solution, a solution that would solve the economic, health, and environmental problems that come with the use of disposable diapers. As a result, Babymar re-usable diapers was born summer of 2016. Babymar re-usable diapers are high quality, eco-friendly, and affordable, which in turn helps families save up to 80% on their diaper expenses. The Babymar brand also includes cloth diaper accessories, baby wash, and shampoos.

I saw parents reusing the single-use disposable diapers by emptying the crystals and washing it. I also saw some parents collecting disposed diapers from garbage cans to clean and reuse. Babymar re-usable diapers created awareness, and I can honestly say I revolutionized the re-usable diaper market.

Today, there are more than five different brands of re-usable diapers in the Ethiopian market.

 

Now let me tell you about how Helaz Beauty was started.

During my travels to Ethiopia, I realized there was a lack of affordable quality cosmetics. I frequently got requests from friends and relatives to send or bring high-end brand lipsticks with me. I began to notice the lack of accessibility to quality products and the ridiculous prices of famous brand cosmetics during my visit. Being a natural problem solver, I decided to start my own makeup line. I made it my mission to find out how and where quality makeup was being manufactured. I researched products and visited labs and traveled across the world to meet suppliers to create an affordable line of makeup without compromising on quality.

While Starting Helaz Beauty, I also realized that this was my calling; I wanted my makeup line to be more than a beauty line, I wanted it to be a means to empower women and school girls as I believe it is truly one of my purposes in life to empower women. Therefore, I combined my beauty line with my technology background, and my deep desire to make a difference in the lives of my community and launched Helaz Beauty.

2. What are some of the hurdles you faced when you first started and some that you’re still facing today?

Lack of information in the Ethiopian business process, also very little to non-existent support system. The culture of consumer’s not wanting to try new brands, and especially, if it is created by a local and if it is a new idea.

3. What do you wish people knew more about when it comes to owning a business overseas, especially one that is highly invested in Women Empowerment?

There is a lot of opportunities to create a socially responsible business and your efforts/work will be watched because you will be an inspiration to many. The journey is not easy, it needs a lot of patience and sacrifice. Persistence is the key! If you are in it for a quick return and profit, you can and probably will be disappointed.  Building a great team of people that sharing your vision/values is vital.

4. What advice would you give those people that would like to invest in their communities overseas but are afraid of all the unknowns like not understanding the regulations, being scammed, or not being able to be hands-on for a longtime?

The first thing is all great things come with risk; we should be willing to take some level of risk.We can always start small, if you have a business idea that you are passionate about, just do it. Once you decide to take action, you will find a way. You will experience it through your journey, if you are open to learning, to adapting, to failing ,and then trying again and again.  Build your team! Having a team that shares your vision/values is critical to whether you will be able to stay in business and succeed or not. You will need to work very long hours.You'll have to communicate and follow up with your team frequently.  And remember, don’t expect rules and systems to be well established and clear as the developed country you are coming from.You will have to have a mindset that is willing to adapt and learn. Most of all, you will need lots of patience and persistence.

5. If there was one thing you’ve done that you could go back in time and change, what would it be? 

I would work and partner with experienced local businesses for marketing and distribution. Learn what type of marketing strategy works best for the particular population or country first, then focus on creating and perfecting the product.  

6. Where do you see yourself and your brand in5 years?

5 years from now, I see myself in a position to be a role model for the young generation of creators and not just consumers. I see my brand being one of the top makeup brands created and owned by an African Woman. My makeup line sold next to the leading brands of makeup across the world.  Helaz Beauty being the #1 choice of makeup in Africa. All my achievements will inspire and empower women to never let their situation and challenges keep them from acting on their dreams and passion.

I plan on being one of the women who helped change the face of Africa for the better.

 

7. In your eyes, what’s your most significant accomplishment?

Turning my ideas into products, creating, and building a brand of products that revolutionize some aspect of lifestyles and mindsets. Being an inspiration to others to act on their dreams and ideas and even do the same business as me. Starting my journey towards living my dream and my passion.

 

8. What advice do you have for someone that wants to become an entrepreneur?   

It is never too late to start. You don’t need significant capital to act on your dreams, don’t be afraid to fail. Life, after all, is worth living the life of the person you were created to be.

9. What are some empowering words or quotes you often find yourself turning to?

I am capable; I can make a difference.  

Anything is possible, and there is a solution to every problem.

At the end of my day, every day, I express my gratitude for the day I had (regardless of what type of day I had). In the morning, the first thing I do is express how grateful I am for the sleep I had. For the new day I am gifted to continue to live, love, create, face challenges and solve problems, and grow in the process.

10.    Do you have any last words for our readers…?

Always seek what your calling is, and don’t be afraid to start; there is no better time than now. Be grateful, hopeful, helpful, and always do your best!

I believe we need more African created and owned brands. We should be the ones creating solutions to our problems, not only in beauty, but in technology, health, and all other aspects of life.

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If Helen's story doesn't wake you up and motivate you want MORE for your life, I don't know what will! In the short time that I've known her, it's inspired me to fight every day for my dreams, to never give up on my passion and to thank GOD everyday for the gifts he has given me. I hope reading her story left you with the same emotions.

Yours,