Information & Advice
Read this guide for setting up a business and find out how you could become a "mumpreneur" (or "dadpreneur") like Apprentice finalist Saira Khan.Mum and Parenting Club member Saira Khan turned a passion for skin care into a business.
"There's no way to learn how to be an entrepreneur," says Saira Khan. "You just have to get out there and do it."
Saira is a famous TV face, thanks to her star role on The Apprentice where her motor-mouthed feats of business brilliance propelled her into the final of the first series – and a six month job placement with Alan Sugar.
"It was The Apprentice that gave me the confidence to believe in my own abilities," reveals Saira. "I'd never set up a business before but I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Why help somebody else make millions when I can do it myself?"
After hearing her friends' concerns about finding skin care products to use on their children's sensitive skin, Saira realised she had spotted a gap in the market.
"I chose to set up a baby skin care business because skin is something I know a lot about," she says. "I was born with really sensitive skin. From the age of five I had to use ointments and I couldn't use the same products as my brothers and sisters. When you have sensitive skin, you start learning about formulations and ingredients. By the time I was 18 I was an expert in what petroleum is and what parabens are! I was very passionate about it."
She set up her skin care brand, Miamoo in 2006. It was named after her niece Miya who, when she was a toddler, was nicknamed "Miamoo" in the family. "She's a lovely little girl who encapsulated everything I wanted the brand to be," Saira says. "I started at the kitchen table at home, choosing designs, bottles and lids."
Saira found a chemist to devise the formulations and manufacturers to make up samples which she then pitched to retailers including Boots. "You have to be 100 percent committed to making every single decision," she says. "And you'll make plenty of mistakes along the way. Although I knew a lot about skin care, I knew nothing about the industry. I didn't know any manufacturers. I'd never made a formulation. The internet is a great place to start to find contacts."
The Miamoo range now contains seven products and a travel kit. It launched in Boots this summer.
"I was lucky that I was able to keep earning while I was setting up my business," she says. "I'd definitely suggest that's a good thing to do, if you can." She puts her products to good use at home, using them on her son Zacariah, three. "I was paranoid he would inherit my sensitive skin but he seems to be fine," she says.
She asked Lord Sugar what he thought of the brand and he said he was really proud of her.
Saira loves the freedom running your own business brings. "If you're a mum, it's perfect," she says. "You're much more in control over your own life. If I want to pick Zac up from nursery at 3pm, I can just go and do that!"
Saira's guide to setting up your own business:
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How Parenting Club dad Jim invented a product
How Parenting Club mum Cara started a business at home
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