I recently wrote about ‘Finding the Oolala in skincare’ and now you’ll get to meet the owner of this South African skincare range.

Who is…?

Daniella Shapiro is the founder of the Oolala Collection Club; She is also a speaker and marketing expert with her own consultancy; And made the watch list of top 50 SA business women to watch earlier this year.

Once upon a time she also chased success in the corporate world until she realised that burning out shouldn’t be the price to pay for accomplishment and success. She freed herself from this oh so familiar mindset that most of us get trapped in and strategically thought about how she can create a future where she can make a difference in her own unique way.

“…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.”

What does it take to start your own skincare collection?

To start your own skincare collection takes buckets of determination. It’s a process where you have to invest in research and development, branding and marketing of your product. Coming up with the concept that would establish your brand as a serious player in a market that is overcrowded – and this is where Daniella’s expertise came in handy.

As with any business idea she had to do her homework before jumping in, but once she knew that her vision was possible she made no excuses and rolled with it. Not only did Daniella find a niche market, but she also found a way to make her products unique.

With the Oolala Collection Daniella chose to think outside of the gender box and created a unisex skincare range that is ethical. The Oolala Collection is also backed by Beauty Without Cruelty and VeganSA – with the added bonus of no excess packaging to add to landfills.

On Daniella’s journey she has learnt that there is no set path to success and that sometimes you just have to go out on a limb; take calculated risks and learn from mistakes. There will also not be a pat on the back when you get it right, but you do have to celebrate the victories with the team that is with you in the trenches.

“New ideas and trends crop up every day, allow your creativity and your mind to think big and be open and never allow yourself to be boxed into that “perfect plan”.

At Oolala there is never a moment where the user experience (on their online shop) isn’t in a cycle of improvement and there is never a moment where there isn’t an idea that needs to be tested. You can also read about the new OolalaSWEAT range below…

Asking people what they do when they aren’t working is one of my favourite questions and Daniella as a typical type A personality did not disappoint! She is into fitness and adventures with her sidekicks Gavi and Mischa; but also enjoys a good pampering and bingeing on series.

PS. When you get to the end of this article I have a surprise 🙂

And then as per usual I like to leave in part of an interview in their own words to capture their real thoughts without my own opinion weaved in.

“A person who sees a problem is a human being; a person who finds a solution is visionary; and the person who goes out and does something about it is an entrepreneur.” – Naveen Jain

What is the most valuable lessons you learnt along the way?

Starting your own business is exciting, exhausting, frustrating, challenging, eye opening and rewarding.  But above all else t has been the learning experience of a lifetime to build, formulate and create a cutting edge skincare brand and see results n real time. As an entrepreneur, l continue to learn some powerful and challenging lessons along the way.

There is no set path to follow

Get comfortable with the uncertainty of the road ahead and get familiar with the feeling of going out on a limb.  The best companies are built on calculated trial and error – a series of smart mistakes that lead to breakthroughs and realizations.  This takes time and a lot of hard work, but it is worth it in the long run to find the playbook that is unique to your business and drives the results that you want.

Nothing is constant everything is cyclical

The only constant in life is change.  Every success feels so exhilarating and every blow you feel so incredibly deeply.  The key is to remember that even during the roughest most challenging times when you feel you want to give up and start questioning yourself is the exact moment you need to dig deeper than ever before because something big is just around the corner and this is the true test of separating a true entrepreneur from the wannabees.  As many successes as you have so you will have an equal amount of challenges and failures. That is the formula for success.  During my roughest times l have had my biggest revelations that have created opportunities l would never have created otherwise.

Entrepreneurship is lonely

Entrepreneurship is lonely. Nobody will know how hard you work at what you do. Nobody will give you the acknowledgment or the “pat on the back” you feel you deserve. Nobody will sit there, cheering you on, day in and day out. Nobody will take the fall when you mess up. Nobody will be able to tell you which direction is right or wrong. Entrepreneurship is lonely because, by definition, it means choosing to go your own way.

This took me a while to accept and emotionally address within myself. Not only will your efforts go unacknowledged by the majority of people in your life, but those who you thought would be your biggest supporters and have your back, sometimes disappointment you the most. This is one of the hardest, most brutal truths about entrepreneurship and you know what?  That is what you signed up for.  So, ignore the background noise and keep laser focused.

It’s all about people

I am very lucky to have a great team of people working with me. None of our success would be possible without them.  l am a great believer ln working with the right energies that inspire great ideas, aren’t afraid of hard work, long hours and having the end goal ln sight.

Perfection doesn’t exist

l always say, there is no such thing as perfection, but rather to aim for being the very best ln the world at what you do.  Always be prepared for that twist ln the road, be prepared for that deviation, there ls no such thing as the “perfect plan”.  Be flexible and focused on forward progress. When you are flexible you will be amazed at how much you learn. New ideas and trends crop up every day, allow your creativity and your mind to think big and be open and never allow yourself to be boxed into that “perfect plan.”

“Being an entrepreneur is my dream job, as it tests ones tenacity.” – Gautam Adani

If you could give advice to someone that wants to start their own business, what would it be?

lf you have a great idea and you have created a brand and product that provide a unique solution to a pain point you must have active and aggressive patience, everything takes time. Make sure you are the very best at what you do.  There is no magic, it will not happen overnight, there’s no instant gratification.  You have to have grit and stick. Allow time to do its work. Remain consistent always. Put in the time and eventually things will start happening. When you are making a change you have to expect it to be VERY difficult.  There’s also nothing more important than building your own personal brand because you are unique and can never be cloned.  It is the one competitive advantage you will always have. Yes, you will have to make giant sacrifices in all areas of your life. Yes it will be challenging.  Yes you will have sleepless nights with anxiety and sometimes even feel that you have hit rock bottom. But in spite of all of this NEVER EVER, EVER give up and NEVER EVER EVER doubt yourself.  Malcolm Gladwell popularised the idea that it takes 10 000 hours to master a complex skill. The real key to mastering a complex skill is grit – the ability to stick with something long enough to log those 10 000 hours. Gritty people pick something and stick with it.  They are tenacious, persevering and they absolutely refuse to give up.  They keep a laser focus on their goal and say, “no thanks” to anything that gets in their way.

What is the next step for the Oolala Collection?

We are currently working on maximising and improving the personalization and online shopping experience for our users based on data mining and making sure the entire experience is as seamless as possible.  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 J).  All in all we are excited for what the future holds.

I believe that the quotes that stick by people are the quotes that tell us more about them. It’s like a little behind the scenes peek at their souls. Daniella chose a beautiful quote from Maya Angelou as her favourite, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.

When you aren’t working what do you love to do?

I love to be outdoors, running half marathons, boxing or anything fitness related that gives me endorphins.  I am a huge animal lover and love taking Gavi my rescue Western Highland Terrier and Mischa my 12-year-old Labbie out on long beautiful walks and adventures.  Listening to a great podcast, binge watching an awesome series, and of course I’m a pure pamper girl. I could be pampered from head to toe all day, every day.

Who has inspired you and how?

After losing my dad at the age of 12 which was hugely traumatic for my family, my Mom has always taught me the importance of self-independence as she always had that herself.  Always having something to wake up and look forward to each and every day.  My Mom has taught me to believe in myself to never give up, never lose faith and to keep pushing forward tenaciously no matter how tough life can get.

I have a surprise…

Do you want to find out more about which product would be best for your skin or how Daniella made a success of the Oolala Collection? You can now send in your questions to editor@goddess.co.za and Daniella will answer it all on a Facebook Live Chat on my page!


Susann is a travel, parenting, beauty and lifestyle blogger in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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