As the ‘Entrepreneur of the month’ Womenlines takes pleasure to introduce Leza Parker, founder of Spendless Academy and Spendless Cosmetics. Leza Parker a mother of 3 children is the CEO of SC Beauty Network Pte Ltd. SC Beauty, which is an internet marketing platform with over 20,000 resellers, promoting some of the top brands in the beauty space. Operational in more than 17 countries, SC Beauty has more than 80 full time and contractual employees. Leza Parker is also an active investor, have invested and incubated in many small businesses. She lectures from time to time, and has spoken at more than 100 conferences, universities and participated in numerous panel discussions. She won the award “Youngest Business Guru in Singapore” at the age of 28, and her story told in a book called “The Lady Boss” published in Singapore bookstores. She has authored four books over the last 4 years and is currently writing modules for universities to launch her own Diploma certification. Listen to Leza and read about her entrepreneurial journey in her own words –
1. Please share with our reader’s little bit about yourself.
I am a mompreneur with 3 children. I started my first business from home seven years ago, with a simple eCommerce platform to sell children’s hair accessories. Since then, I’ve grown and developed and with investments and resources, fast forward, I am now the CEO of a global tech company in the beauty industry empowering over 20,000 women across 14 countries. I love business and entrepreneurship and despite my busy schedule, I commit to also homeschool my children. Pretty much, a busy working mom.
2. So when did you started this venture and what inspired or motivated you to take a plunge into this venture?
I started Spendless Cosmetics in 2014 with the intention to empower women, to be financially independent as a beauty reseller. I had several businesses before that, majorly in brick and mortar investments or manufacturing of goods. I became interested in technology and since I’m very interested in women empowerment, Spendless Cosmetics started in 2014. This also largely inspired by my own story being a stay home mother, for many years wanting to earn extra income for my family. I tried ordering cosmetics in 2011 and have been selling to my friends and family. The extra income helped me grow my business, feed my children and improve my household income. So I thought, why not develop the same process to make it possible for every woman to have the same opportunity – reselling cosmetics from home.
3. Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced during your initial days?
My company has just undergone bankruptcy end of 2014, due to poor investment in human resources when I expanded. I was still determined to start the new business with Spendless Cosmetics, but convincing people around me is hard. I work endlessly on Spendless Cosmetics, despite the lack of funds and support from anyone I know. I barely could afford the tech resources and had to borrow money to sustain my family expenses. I still had so much belief in the vision, that eventually, an investor came forth to support me in the capital. I finished the development and expanded regionally. One of the challenges I faced, is managing people. Leading people is one of the hardest roles to play, not to mention the time investment to guide others who may or may not bring expected returns. I am still learning how to be a better manager.
4. So how do you balance your personal and professional life?
I integrate both my personal and professional life. I do spend 8-11 hours to my work each day, but making sure that spread over a time that does not affect my parenting role. I might start a few hours in the morning, focus on my children in the afternoon, and get back at it after dinner until wee hours. I enjoyed my work, especially when I get to learn and improve, connect and collaborate with others so long hours do not bother me much. I try to keep my health sustained so having small healthy meals in good proportion. I do some sports every other day to stay fit – so a bit of running and Yoga keeps me happy enough.
5. What would you suggest to other aspiring women who want to venture out on their own?
Three things I would suggest is to first (a) Outsource – You are not an expert in everything, even if you invest time to learn it. Hence, spend time identifying your weakness and let someone else takes over the role but outsourcing the work. Earn more from your capabilities and skills, and use that to fund the outsourced experts. So things are concurrently accomplished and your business levels up. (b) Embrace mistakes. Don’t try to deny them, when you’ve realised a mistake has been done. People learn from mistakes to ensure they improve in their future decisions. So for every mistake, must be seen as an opportunity to learn and do better. That is the only way to be successful. (c) Collaborate. Be open to networking for the purpose of collaboration. There is only so much you can achieve and do, but through collaboration, you will achieve more and do better.
6. Is there any person who has mentored/supported/inspired you?
The people who sub-consciously mentored me does not know they did that. It’s always through random conversations with a random person, that provoke my thoughts and inspire me to improve what I do. It amazed me, sometimes I find solutions to my problems in conversation with someone on a totally different topic. I’ve always admired women not based on what they have accomplished but where they come from because I appreciate strong women with emotional and mental strength for that control of the mind is truly make them powerful and successful.
7. What do you have in the pipeline for your venture’s future development?
I have the intention to further scale the business in the various markets, we are already in hoping to create local communities of women. The aim is to use technology to reach them, to educate, empower, inspire and motivate them for whatever it is they choose to pursue. I intend to do that as my life’s mission for as long as I can.