Not everyone is cut out for the entrepreneurial lifestyle, but Juliana Richards was thinking about running her own business while she was still a student in college. Born and raised in Nigeria, Juliana always had an eager attitude to want more for herself and an appetite for success. With the values that her family instilled in her, Juliana was able to turn her vision into a flourishing company that she built from the ground up.
Juliana is certainly an inspiration and a clear representation of hard work in motion. After leaving her hometown in Nigeria, Juliana sought on a journey to become a lawyer. She always had a burning desire to create something much larger than herself, which eventually led to the creation of Slim Girl Shapewear. After funding her first launch with her school loans, Richards’ business started booming into a nationally known company and the go-to location for waist shapers. A few years later, Richards celebrates the success of her two online boutiques: slimwearshapewear.com and 1800clinchers.com as well as her store in Atlanta―where she currently resides.
Coming from humble beginnings, Juliana made sure that her come-up was not a blip on the social media scene. She has been featured in renowned media outlets including Rolling Out, Examiner, Atlanta Black Star and even on the hit day-time TV show The Real.
Unlike her competitors, Juliana makes her clinchers from Columbia with a guarantee that all her products are high quality and long-lasting.
Juggling being a wife, mother and founder of her own international women’s wear line, Juliana makes owning a business look simple. However, her success was no easy feat. Recently, PYNK had the chance to get to know Juliana and learn about her business tactics. Continue reading to learn how Juliana turned an idea into a lucrative business, her struggles that she faced prior to her successful launch, and what she thinks is the most important aspect of being the owner of a business.
1. Tell me about yourself. Where were you before Slimgirl Shapewear/1800Cinchers?
I was born and raised in Nigeria. In my teenage years I move to America to pursue my dream in becoming a lawyer. While I was in college majoring in accounting, I decided to start my own business. I had a very comfortable job, but I wanted more out of life so I decided to take the jump by running my own business.
2. What inspired you to get into this business?
I would say my mother inspired me. I had always been into e-commerce and I had experience running other part-time online businesses, until I found I was passionate about shapewear. This time, unlike my other businesses, I did a lot of research and traveled overseas in order to get the right materials, the right fit, and the right details. When I found that I had the right team, I felt confident to embark on this bigger journey and so far it has paid off.
3. What do you think is the most important aspect of being a business owner?
Your business is as good as your people. What I mean is that it’s really important to get the right people who have the same vision with you while running your business.
4. It’s obvious that you are probably a popular role-model for a lot of young girls or anyone who is looking to start their own business. Who are some people that you are inspired by professionally?
Arianna Huffington, owner of The Huffington Post. She, just like me, came to the United States as an immigrant and is living her dream. Tyra Banks is also someone who inspires me. She has so much passion and is always willing to share her success story to help other women.
5. What is your vision for the growth of Slimgirl Shapewear/1800Cinchers?
The Slim Girl brand is expanding into other product lines. Over the years, we had a lot of customers who have enjoyed the quality of our products and have literally begged us to look into providing other everyday items for women. So look out for more diverse product lines from Slim Girl. We just introduced our products of lingerie which we’ve gotten good feedback from.
6. What is some advice that you would give to an industry novice trying to create their own business?
Do your research and start small.
7. What was the most useful tool or strategy that helped contribute to the success of your business?
Hard-work and dedication.
8. What was the most difficult struggle that you faced when you first established your brand?
Getting the right people on board.
9. With social media being over-saturated with boutique clothes, skinny teas and even waist trainers, how do you manage to keep your business afloat among the competition?
We speak to the everyday woman, we do a lot of research and work with a lot of data to help us provide relevant service to our customers…customer service is very important to me. We are always listening to what people are saying.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Expanding our product lines and services to a wider market.