Be generous and try not to take life TOO seriously. If we live in the moment, we see that it isn’t about what has happened, or what could happen, it’s about being a part of what’s happening now.
As a part of our series about “Why We Need More Women Founders”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Monika Angelini. She is the Owner of WILD Organic Skincare and the creator of The Original Sunburn Soap. She has been making all-natural skincare products for over a decade. Some of her passions include enjoying authentic foods, hiking, and being at the beach.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I was the Lead Technical Nurse at a Veterinary Specialty Center in Colorado many years ago and was working overtime regularly. I decided to make a change and follow a more natural lifestyle. I quit the job I loved and focused my attention on making the very best natural soap possible.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
My mother-in-law called me one summer day after getting severely sunburned at the beach and asked me to make a soap that didn’t make her sunburn feel worse in the shower. It sounded like a great idea, and I went to work. After about a dozen tries I felt like giving up, the soap would just melt after one use, and even though it worked, it still wasn’t sellable. But, I didn’t quit, and after many years of research and experimentation, The Original Sunburn Soap launched in the late Spring of 2021.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The labels I used to make are hilarious to me now. I was packaging my soap in plastic wrap, and looking at it in the future makes it seem a bit ridiculous. Lesson to be learned, don’t settle for the first thing that works.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am extremely grateful to my brother Martin, he was always very enthusiastic about the business, making videos and offering advice. Now, he is the CMO of WILD Organic LLC and an integral part of the company’s mastermind.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. According to this EY report, only about 20 percent of funded companies have women founders. This reflects great historical progress, but it also shows that more work still has to be done to empower women to create companies. In your opinion and experience, what is currently holding back women from founding companies?
Support from their spouses. I was very blessed to have a husband who fully supported me in leaving my job and taking on a new path. I believe that the harmony in my marriage is what cultivated an atmosphere of creativity, adventure, and boldness for my business. Without the support from friends and loved ones, our ideas, our dreams, and society itself will not grow.
Can you help articulate a few things that can be done as individuals, as a society, or by the government, to help overcome those obstacles?
Make sure you love the work that you want to do. Be selective in the people you are with. Meditate. Pray. Be grateful. Be excellent to each other.
This might be intuitive to you as a woman founder but I think it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you share a few reasons why more women should become founders?
Women have different ways of looking at things than men, from our very nature we are designed to assist our opposites, and by having equal voices there is no limit to success.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a founder? Can you explain what you mean?
Perhaps it’s easy to think that a founder doesn’t do the “dirty work’’. But, the truth is, founders usually do most of the “dirty work”, and what’s left is this well-tailored machine that can be easily run by others.
Is everyone cut out to be a founder? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful founder and what type of person should perhaps seek a “regular job” as an employee? Can you explain what you mean?
No. Not everyone is cut out to be a founder. A founder has to be bold, relentless, and positive. You must truly desire to do whatever it takes to reach your goals. I believe that there’s no defeat in seeking a “regular job” because we absolutely need more people who can be amazing employees, they are the fuel of the machine. And, they should be compensated well for their loyalty and hard work. But, to be a founder, for most people, it means doing all the things you’re most afraid of.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Decide right away the specific products or services you want to provide. The less specific you are the longer it’s going to take to find the pathway to your realized dream.
- Breaking down failure is the map to success. Each time Monika made a Soap that failed to live up to her standards, she tried again. So, keep learning and trying to figure out what could be done better or in a different way.
- Balance is everything, work really hard and take ample time to relax. Yoga, meditation, and exercising are essential to wellness. You don’t want to burn yourself out on the work you love to do.
- Admit mistakes, fix them quickly, and don’t beat yourself up about making them. Once you realize you may be heading away from your goal, it’s easy to find excuses not to change direction or not to keep going, but you must keep going toward your goal for as long as it takes.
- Be generous and try not to take life TOO seriously. If we live in the moment, we see that it isn’t about what has happened, or what could happen, it’s about being a part of what’s happening now.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
WILD Organic Skincare proudly employs those with special abilities, through Gabi’s Grounds- A Non-Profit Organization that empowers those with disabilities through meaningful employment.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Stay away from fragrance oils! They are terrible for you and the people around you.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Oprah Winfrey. She is a real-life inspiration and has one of the most influential voices in the world. I would love to hear her stories about overcoming negativity and following her dreams.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.