Gabriel Flores 0:00
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the shades of entrepreneurship. This is your host, Mr. Gabriel Flores. Today I am here with the owner of Arne Ari. Reba, how are we doing?
Reeba Daneil 0:13
Great. So glad to be here.
Gabriel Flores 0:15
Thank you again. Yes, I'm great. Thank you again for coming is a beautiful rainy day today in Oregon, and we needed it so bad. I'm so excited about the rain. So so let's let's, let's get into this are Inari. First, before we get into that, let's introduce the world to Reba Daniel, who is Reba.
Reeba Daneil 0:36
My name is Reba Daniel. I have lived in Portland for the last seven years. I am the founder of Arne Ra. And I create hyper intentional self care products, as well as self care solutions that are powered by community. I run I activate wellness spaces, as well as just opening up in the process of a brick and mortar.
Gabriel Flores 1:08
Oh, nice. So you're gonna be opening up a physical location soon?
Reeba Daneil 1:11
Yes. So it started as a pop up and will turn into a brick and mortar location.
Gabriel Flores 1:18
Love it. Love it. So first, before we get into detail, what exactly is art art for the folks at home, give them a give them a little background of what that is?
Reeba Daneil 1:27
Yes, I started are an RA. The problem that I aimed to solve was one, my daughter grew up my I had a baby and she started to exhibit eczema. And as I went into the stores to try to find some sort of solution I ran up on not really understanding what the ingredients were, why they needed to be in there. And then I started to get into the kitchen, looking at recipes and creating my own skincare. I eventually evolved to pain management. So adding in CBD isolate. And also collaborating with other small businesses, which is also a huge part to my business. I think that when we all collaborate that we grow quicker and more sustainably. And so I started with mood boxes, r&r a mood boxes, and it would have four other makers in there. Most of them were bipoc, or queer identifying. And that that evolved into a pop up that was given to me a space by Portland Business Alliance in December. And then my most recent pop up as well was in Old Town.
Gabriel Flores 2:53
Nice. Now, now you've all Did you also have your own experience with eczema? Or was it just your child that had that experience?
Reeba Daneil 3:01
Yes, I had a long list of allergies growing up. And I was one of the folks where I wore turtlenecks in the summertime. Because my skin was just so tore up a lot of steroidal treatments, which would work and then wouldn't be effective any longer. And so I really struggled. And it wasn't until you know, later in adulthood where I start to really grow out of all of those. Yeah, those those issues. And so I when I saw my daughter going through it, I just I knew I had to do something about it. And yeah, this was my definite call to action.
Gabriel Flores 3:41
So would you consider your daughter's kind of seen your daughter's eczema? Was that considered like your motivation to get this thing product going?
Reeba Daneil 3:48
I think it it Yeah, absolutely was definitely a big part of the motivation. The other part is as a as a parent, and you know, raising a child, I wanted to build a community and I lost my job at the end of 2019. And I took a chance on myself and it ended up becoming fruitful and I wanted my daughter to be able to have that same experience that whatever she wanted to be able to pursue that I had created a network for her to be able to have those opportunities.
Gabriel Flores 4:24
I love it. Now let's let's talk about curating the some of the creams and oils that you have created. You mentioned that you went to the stores and you looked at some of the products and you didn't really identify with some of the ingredients and then you went to the kitchen. What how did you go from the kitchen to production? Let's let's give the audience a bit of a taste of what does that look like?
Reeba Daneil 4:47
Absolutely. I would say starting out with a product that you really enjoy looking back and looking at the ingredients on the back of them, finding out what they do and why and whether or not they're needed, my products don't have any preservatives, but they are also aren't acquiesce. So that was a decision that I made as well as their vegan as well. I tried to have my products, you know, using, you know, more infused oils, closer to the way that our ancestors produced medicine, and healing. So that's kind of a focus for mine. But getting into the kitchen was just looking at Pinterest, joining Facebook groups for skincare and using this opportunity, some people get the privilege of being able to go to business school or to go to college to be able to learn certain things. And I have, I've treated the last two years as basically a way of me being able to learn business Hard Knock style, but also finding that support as well.
Gabriel Flores 5:58
I like it. So what what would you say, had been difficult thus far about starting this business since you? Do you feel like they not have an education piece? Even matter?
Reeba Daneil 6:06
I think yes and no. So having the business fundamentals of what a business plan looks like, why it's needed, what is funding, you know, getting yourself ready for investments, whether or not you want to LLC, I mean, starting just even from the very beginning, I think a lot of folks don't know, you can get an LLC by yourself. You don't need to hire anyone, and it takes 20 minutes to do at most, finding those. And it took me a lot of bumping around and spending money that I really didn't need to spend. Because I lacked education. Yeah.
Gabriel Flores 6:44
Now, what are you one of the things you mentioned, was getting on like Facebook groups and doing that thing, and meeting with other like minded folks within the profession? Why was that important?
Reeba Daneil 6:57
These are folks who were either vetted in the market already. They were groups like formula, Botanica, for instance, is very entry level there. Facebook provides all the information of not just recipes, but why you would utilize them. And I started I started looking at that they do have programs, a lot of them do. You know, people always say you to YouTube, but I'm a very tactile learner. And so when I found a recipe, I bought the ingredients, and I started off with shea butter. And shea butter did the trick on its own. And then I thought, Okay, well, if I infuse this oil or fuses with Shea, then I can be able to get this certain fragrance. So then I started getting familiar and just buying essential oils and smelling them and learning about what their medicinal benefits were, and then starting to incorporate those into the product.
Gabriel Flores 7:54
And you know, this, a lot of a lot of time and energy goes into this right. Now, one of the things you also mentioned was determining if about funding about whether or not you wanted to go that route? Did you decide to go a specific route with funding?
Reeba Daneil 8:09
Yeah, that's a great question super hard, especially for black women to find funding access to funding it, you know, we put on that it got better during the pandemic. The fact of the matter is it didn't What did increase was access. And when I say access is people willing to open up their Rolodex and do some networking folks that were willing who were already established to have cohorts where they they gave information that would have I would have had to go to school for to be able to learn. And so they're rallying around there. I also, even if the networking event wasn't exactly right, that the networking online really helped to be able to have an easier entry into some of these groups that can really also expand your network as well. So even if they didn't hold me apart, apply, I would still go into them. And what I you know, what I did was a lot of made a lot of connections. What I also it allowed me to work on my pitch, get that honed in, what is my story, all of those things and just give practice.
Gabriel Flores 9:23
Now when what year did you start your business?
Reeba Daneil 9:28
I started my business at the end of 2019. But I had been creating my che infused products for it would be seven years now.
Gabriel Flores 9:37
Okay, so 2019 Next year, pandemic hits, and one of the things you've been kind of consistently saying this entire time is networking and community right and the importance of networking. So let's talk about the effect that the pandemic had on your network. How did that affect your business?
Reeba Daneil 9:58
It affected it huge because especially when you're starting out as a maker, a lot of the places where you start is in markets. And as markets were closing, that was difficult. My My product is something that you have to apply to really be able you can smell it. But you know, if places are closed, and you can't be able to have access to smelling it or to being able to try it very difficult, what helped out a lot is directories came really popular, especially for bipoc. Folks, and that helped me to increase access, and people wanting to try and try and really just support that was a great part of COVID. It, it allowed for expansion to be able to happen quicker. And for me to be able to build up my inventory, as well as my customer base. The collaborations with other businesses were key. So that mood box starting out, I believe that my I, my my company is a social justice company. And so in part of that self care is also community care. And me being willing to collaborate with someone who traditionally would be seen as my competitor actually made me stronger and made my product stronger, their product stronger. And we had the same markets when we did when we did Instagram, so folks that were on their Instagram, were already interested in skincare. So our collaboration, just it really helped to grow and inspire into the network. It is now
Gabriel Flores 11:42
yeah, you know, one thing you mentioned about the community and I'm reflecting back on Hosek Gonzalez who actually was a former guest of mine. And one of his quotes, he said, if if our community isn't doing well, our businesses never will. You know, and I thought that was so true. Because at the end of the day, when people think of you know, it's imperative that our economy is doing good our economy, our economy, right? Well, the the biggest asset we have in our economy is our people. Absolutely. Now, is this your first business? This is my first business. Yes. What are what are some things that you've gone through that have been that surprisingly hard?
Reeba Daneil 12:24
The loneliness in the very beginning, that was very hard, having hard business lessons. Money Management. Traditionally, I've not been very good with money. And when you have a business and having to report how you spent money, going back to how I have been able I'm majorly bootstrapped, but received grants, because the sad part is, is because my business is seen as a cannabis company. Regardless of of I have one product, it makes me a cannabis company. It excludes me from a lot of funding that was going on during COVID. And also with the eidl, which was also a little problematic for micro entrepreneurs, because you couldn't prove before that time, or they're after you may have needed the money to grow. But you couldn't show it on paper in regards to taxes. So that kind of caught me as well. So I would sell to folks that I at the job, I'd start I started out there. I really the there was a company, which I'm so sorry that I missed them. But they helped me to get my website together. I didn't read in my website four times. Also, as they were going through the transition of processing payments. I also didn't qualify for a lot of those and was on Shopify and had to go to square just because of the fact that I was seen as a cannabis company. So there were losses that happen in that. Uh, yeah, I would say the funding the capital getting in front of folks that was all of that was very difficult.
Gabriel Flores 14:13
So this is your is your organization considered? Or has to follow the legalities of the cannabis industry simply because their CBD and your oil? Correct. Wow. And so for the folks at home that may not understand this. In fact, Colin land force from unrivaled brand was on our show recently. And he kind of highlighted the cannabis industry and the financial limitations in that. So currently, since cannabis is not a federally legal substance or plant would say that that means a lot of the federal funding, including bank funding, like loans, is not available for individuals that are in this industry. And so that's that's one kind of a A very unique thing that I was unaware of that as well, I must admit, that must put a lot of pressure. It's a,
Reeba Daneil 15:08
it's a huge struggle. And it's just one more tick, I guess into, you know, being a black woman and already having, you know, trouble with seeking traditional funding to then also being a cannabis company, which I doubled down on, because I believe in the plant medicine and want to be a disruptor in the gatekeeping. And so yeah, it is a struggle. My rates are higher for processing of payments, just simply because Facebook, Instagram, a lot of those places stop you from being able to put on CBD products, because it's not legal yet. So you lose that kind of that market as well.
Gabriel Flores 15:57
Yeah, that's a that's another piece that I think the entrepreneurs should understand as well. Is is the marketing piece. You are in fact restraint to the meta versus kind of policies. So for example, now I'm just dropping all these names for some reason on this episode, but Rick Madera is from Burnside knives, another former guests, you know, Burnside knives is considered a knives considered a weapon. And so he's, he's very limited on what he's able to promote on Instagram. Because of that, in fact, Burnside and I thank you, again, for being our sponsors. But yeah, because of because of some of the algorithms as well, it's something you need to think about. There, there are certain algorithms, and I will tell you, I'm sure people at home listening may notice when they post something, sometimes on their Instagram, or their Facebook, or things of that nature, some of those posts will either get a large amount of attraction, right? In some of those may not. And some of them, a lot of the times it's based on algorithms, is based on what you're stating, and whether the, you know, powers that be algorithm, want to put it on top of the feed. Now, you can also trick the algorithms, right? So that's kind of where you get into a little bit of the marketing strategy and, and understanding when the best times to post are what to post what hashtags to use. Right? So have you have you in this entire process? Have you found anything to be easy?
Reeba Daneil 17:29
Yes, the connection based upon the vision that I have the vision folks really align with, I think that right now, especially coming out of the pandemic, a lot of us are taking a harder look at our wellness, and, and getting back into community and having it be supported by small businesses that are local, that just went through the same thing as you there is this really relatability? There is this humanism that comes from it. And what I would like to do is to provide access to that to more folks, especially black and brown folks who traditionally do not get that that self care time.
Gabriel Flores 18:13
Now, what as a small business owner, we kind of talked about some of the difficulties and easy things. What keeps you up at night? As a small business owner, what is one thing that's like, ma'am, I'm thinking about that?
Reeba Daneil 18:25
Yes, um, one thing that really keeps me up all night, at nights is, this isn't my only business. And so the other businesses that I have kind of to kind of fold into all of them. So there are a lot of things that I have to keep straight in my head. I also feel that the vision and the path that I'm on is divine inspired, and also a calling from my ancestors. And so making sure that they're proud, making sure that I am continuing to keep my North Star, which is also very important when you're starting out, you know, people say a lot about missions and visions. And sometimes that can be hard to be able to, to articulate in just a sentence or a couple of sentences. But knowing ultimately, when you look down the line, 10 years from now, 15 years and now, what was the happiness that you you got? What were the parts that was happy? What, what filled you what fueled you during that time, and keeping that in check with opportunities that pop in and out whether or not they actually align?
Gabriel Flores 19:40
Now, how do you how are you able to kind of continue to succeed in this realm where you do have the limitations set in front of you, right? You have the limitations from the industry that you're in, right? You have the limitation from a funding piece, you have all these things, how do you continue to brand and continue To Market Yourself to build build your product up?
Reeba Daneil 20:03
Yes, so social media is key. I have a hard time with social media because I'm still going through the how do I create, you know, be my authentic, my authentic self? How do I relate without having it be through trauma, which a lot of times has to be on display, especially for black women in their businesses. And I'm still trying to figure out exactly why you need that in order to buy skin cream. But it does help a lot. The collaboration helps because one post can be delivered to 10 different audiences. The learning as well, from seeing other people's social media, learning about trends, I just went through the TIC tock workshop that was very helpful to help me to be able to brand myself there. The marketplaces as well, like just getting more aware of it, you know, they say, post twice a day there, there is a reason why they're saying that. But it doesn't have to be in times that don't work for you. So getting to know, you know, when you go into Instagram, and it tells you the insights. And you know, when you post this at this time, how many views that you get, as opposed to this time, there, they even play the game with the amount of seconds that your reels are real has made it super easy for me for his social media, because that could be as simple as walking around and showing products or talking to you about this really cool workshop that I have coming up and building that organic traffic there.
Gabriel Flores 21:44
I like it, I like it. And that's, you know, let's, let's talk a little bit more about the because I must admit, I'm just getting on the tape deck and keep talking about on the show. I still have not posted anything and I'm sorry, I'm no I'd probably I'm not following anybody. I think it'll say like twice. But it's important to remember like get on the trend. Why is it so important in your perspective for you to kind of follow the trends.
Reeba Daneil 22:07
The key is FYP. So it puts you on the for you pages. When you are doing the the challenges or you're using the hashtags that Tiktok has decided that is popular. And so once you get a business account, I don't know this is on the regular one. But once you get a business account, then you start to get Tik Tok insights. And then when you're looking on there, and you can be able to see what's most popular, Tik Tok is already telling you right there, you put that hashtag on there and you're going to get more views, they're going to push your items more. Also, knowing that Facebook doesn't like to have tick tock stuff. So Facebook and Instagram is together. So having reels that that originate on Instagram, helps you in the algorithm on that tick tock is, in my opinion, easier to make reels and to make content. So but I noticed that when I made the I made it organically and Instagram that I got more viewership and Facebook essentially promoting Tik Tok.
Gabriel Flores 23:17
And all the games, it goes back to that algorithm folks like Mark Zuckerberg knows what he's doing. He's not going to promote a rival on his platform, right. And there's various ways with coding and all sorts of things that I don't know about. My paygrade but there's, there's a lot of you know, there's a lot of tactics that goes into it. In fact, we just had a digital marketer come on the show recently, as well. And, you know, just, there's just a lot of these little things that people just do not think about, what is something that you wish you would have known coming into the business before you kind of got into it?
Reeba Daneil 23:54
That Although in my heart, I want to help everyone that I can't, and that I had to learn how to be able to protect my energy and to really make hard choices as to who really deserves that energy. Also getting really okay with asking people, you know, what is it what is it that you want for me, and then hearing what that is and whether or not you can be able, you know, that fits in what you want, if it aligns, and if you really want to do that, but i i And I'm also continuing to still work on boundaries. That is also really huge because there will be plenty of opportunities that will come about and what is true to continuing on the path of your Northstar.
Gabriel Flores 24:47
Nice, I like it. I like it. So for the listeners at home, what what advice would you give an inspiring entrepreneur, you know, either coming into this industry or just any industry You've already dropped some great ones. But what advice would you have for an inspiring entrepreneur?
Reeba Daneil 25:04
It's okay to make mistakes. It's even Okay. Sometimes when you make costly mistakes, you don't have to know everything. But definitely there is someone who has that answer. One thing I learned is not everything has to be paid for in cash. So if there is a work tree that you can be able to do to get to get the information that you need, I am always looking at grants and resources that are free to me rather than having to spend my hard earned money to advance my business. Staying nimble, so yes, maybe you might qualify for $100,000 loan, but do you have the action, the plan and the action behind it to really need that? So, you know, bootstrapping is not always comfortable, but it allowed me to grow organically.
Gabriel Flores 25:58
What advice would you have for yourself? Before looking back on where you've been now to, would you, you know, any advice you'd give yourself,
Reeba Daneil 26:07
I would, I would practice what I preach a lot of times, I will I focus on other folks and their self care and leave myself when done. And so I even am struggling with, you know, there's always the imposter syndrome that happens in the very beginning. And just knowing that we're really all winging it, you know, not really, you know, people are gonna have a great social media presence, and you think, like, wow, you know, that person is making this or that, and they may just be scraping by just like you. And so keeping that mindset, I also keep the mindset that, and I need to keep this, that I am my biggest competitor. And so I don't see other people, I see them as potential collaborators, but I am the person who can stand the most in my way.
Gabriel Flores 26:57
That is a great point. And we talked about impostor syndrome at some point on this show. And it's a you brought up a great, great point. Everybody that starts something new starts at the exact same spot that is at the line that says I'm starting something new. There's everybody starts there. And so it's okay to have those fillings. Now. So for the listeners at home, how do they find you? How do they find your business? Where are you at in the social work and they look at your pop up location, and then where it might possibly future be the brick and mortar. Yes.
Reeba Daneil 27:32
So you can always reach out to me on my instagram, most of my handles are the same. It's our n A R i e, s h o p, and that is our n ra shop with the n instead of the N sign. I'm on Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok. All the things, my website is r dash A r i e.com. I also do custom products as well. So if you're not finding something in the market, I'm happy to see how I can be able to help facilitate that need. And we are also always looking for collaborators as well wellness professionals. And my brick and mortar space will be at 122 Northwest coach and that most likely will be happening mid May.
Gabriel Flores 28:27
Nice exciting. I'll be sure to go stop by and you know, make sure to take some photos on the good old Instagram maybe we'll make a tic tac video while I'm there you know they've made the first one we'll see that it didn't you're not gonna get me dancing. A nap for you. But thank you so much for your time. For those folks at home. Please subscribe on either Apple Music Spotify or wherever you listen to the podcast. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn or Twitter. And now tick tock. For those folks. Thank you again and have a great night.