Kassandra Kashian has always considered herself to be very entrepreneurial. She got her first job at the age of 14 and managed to save enough money to afford a deposit for an investment property at the age of 18. At the age of 17, she began working in the beauty industry part time whilst she studied at university. She worked at Mecca Cosmetica and then eventually moved onto Chanel. She worked as a makeup artist and skincare specialist and that’s when she realized her passion for beauty. She dreamt back then of having her own products that could empower others and make them look and feel beautiful. She wanted a product that she could love and that would be amazing for her skin, and thus, Bowtaniq was born.
We recently caught up with Kassandra to talk about her business and her entrepreneurial journey and here’s what went down:
1. Could you please tell our readers a brief background about yourself and how you started your business?
My name is Kassandra Kashian and I am a 23-year-old Australian Armenian living in Sydney. I have a Bachelor of Business from the University of Technology and I specialize in Marketing, PR and Events. In 2017 I was crowned Miss Grand Australia and I represented my country in Vietnam at the International competition. In 2018 I launched Bowtaniq – a natural, vegan, cruelty-free, Australian made skincare business.
2. Can you describe your entrepreneurial journey? When did you start?
I have always considered myself to be very enterprising. I got my first job at 14 and saved my money so I was able to afford a deposit for an investment property at age 18. At the age of 17, I began working in the beauty industry part time whilst I studied at university. I worked at Mecca Cosmetica and then moved onto Chanel. I worked as a makeup artist and skincare specialist and realized my passion for beauty. I then dreamt of having my own products that could empower others and make them look and feel beautiful. Having sensitive skin myself, I wanted a product that I could love and that would be amazing for my skin, so Bowtaniq was started.
3. What is your main source of income?
I currently work full-time as the National Events & PR Executive for an Australian education institution.
4. What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
My products have taken off in China, so in 2019 I am focusing my efforts toward this market and will be attending expos, doing television appearances and increasing brand awareness.
5. What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Definitely a mix of social media and traditional media. Our social media campaigns are supported by online television advertisements and bus advertisements. I believe this builds brand trust and awareness.
6. How did your brand stand out from the rest of the other brands out there that is similar to your niche?
I believe being the co-founder and face of the business means I am able to interact with the market and share my love for my products in an authentic way. I also believe that making the products natural, vegan, cruelty-free and Australian was so important to ensure the brand stood out and catered to the market’s needs.
7. What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
It would have to be time management and deciding how to juggle my time between my full-time job and my own business. It can be daunting when you have so many projects happening at once but it can also be very rewarding and exciting and that is why I have continued to push through.
8. What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
I think I could definitely be better at budgeting and looking at the bigger picture to ensure each campaign and business activity is well considered on every level.
9. What new business would you love to start?
I’ve always wanted my own cosmetics range!
10. If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
I am still in the introduction phase of my business so I am still learning – it’s hard to know at this stage but I think that I would have worked on my professional development to ensure I was better equipped to run my own business. There’s always room to grow!
11. What is the best advice you have ever been given?
It’s cliché – but it would have to be “everything happens for a reason”. Even in a business sense… I know I need to trust my gut and understand that you can’t control everything. You need to embrace challenges and welcome new experiences to be able to grow and learn.
12. What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Go for it! One of the most fulfilling and exciting things you can do is launch your own business based on your passions and ideas. Remember what makes your brand different and remind the market of that!