Making Something From Nothing: Suzie Mirzaians Of Miss Careful On How To Go From Idea To Launch
An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
Get comfortable with being overlooked when you first start out. Many people/influencers want to see that you’re successful before they agree to try out your product.
As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Suzie Mirzaians.
Suzie Mirzaians is the mindful spirit behind Miss Careful and she’s endlessly inspired by her personal self-care rituals. Over the years, hair care has become her go-to daily routine because it adds the perfect touch of glamour to her life.
Her passionate pursuit of comfort and protection during her pampering sessions has led to that must-have, can’t live without, why didn’t I think of that product!
Miss Careful Ear Covers are the first, but not last, of a series of self-care game-changers that cheer: “Style away, you got this!”
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I was born in Yerevan, Armenia. My family moved to the states in the early 90’s to give me, my older brother and younger sister a better life. Now that I’m older, a few years older than my parents when they uprooted their family across the world, I realize what a huge endeavor that was for them. My parents worked two to three jobs at a time, to put food on the table and provide a safe and balanced lifestyle for us. The only obligation we had as kids was to be good students and not forget our native tongue. Even though we didn’t have a lot, I have the fondest childhood memories. We have a very tight family bond and remain close until today. Watching my parents achieve everything they had set out to do, is beyond inspiring. My motivation comes from knowing that I can accomplish anything, especially with all the resources that are available to me. My parents were able to do what they did 30 plus years ago with countless obstacles. I am fortunate and forever grateful for all the wonderful opportunities I have today. Their hard work and sacrifices would be in vain if I didn’t take risks and make something of myself.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a lesson of some kind. The goal is to find it.” If you’ve ever owned your own business, you know how hard it is. Now, you throw in an invention and a new concept altogether, the difficulty is next level. I am always dealing with ups and downs. Sometimes it feels like more downs than ups. Through those challenging times, I have learned great lessons. Lessons that have guided me in a different direction, that will stick with me forever and won’t allow me to make the same mistake twice. There is no roadmap for when you first start a business. You have to figure it out as you go. The one thing I always say to myself is, “this is happening FOR me, not TO me.” Learn the lesson and move forward. You can’t grow if you’re constantly looking back.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Recently, I read a book called Educated, By Tara Westover. It is a memoir that describes her growing up in a devout mormon family in rural Idaho. As a young girl, Tara worked in her fathers scrap yard and had no formal education. Her life was completely controlled by her father and their religion. She longed for a normal life and a chance to be educated. She did everything in her power to make that happen for herself. Today she has a PhD from Cambridge University, and is a best selling author. Her story really resonates with me because she’s the epitome of what we try to instill in our girls, “ You can do anything you put your mind to.” Tara had many obstacles, but she overcame them all because she knew there was more out there for her. She believed it, worked hard for it and stayed focused on the big picture no matter how difficult it was. It’s a riveting memoir and definitely a must read.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?
DO THE RESEARCH. I can’t stress this enough. You may have a great idea, but when you don’t have the right tools, you will burn yourself out by trying over and over again to get others to see how great your idea is. Know who your demographic is, “when you speak to everyone, you speak to no one.” Narrow down who your interested audience is, and engage with them. Also, make sure you have a great attorney. Get a patent, and protect yourself and the business that you work so hard for.
Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?
Make sure you hire a professional to do this part. Hire a patent attorney to do extensive research. Sometimes, a similar product may already exist, but due to a unique feature your product might provide, you will still be eligible for a patent.
For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.
Hire a patent attorney to do the research first. If you have the green light, start with a provisional patent while you’re looking for a manufacturer. There are a lot of great manufacturers in the US that help people bring their ideas to life. There are also many overseas, it’s up to you what you’re more comfortable with. Once you have found a manufacturer you’re happy with, make sure you have your business plan and your pitch deck in place, your pricing/profit margin, whether you’re going to be direct-to- consumer or strictly amazon, for example. After figuring all those details out, you will have a better understanding of what your next steps will be. No matter what, you want to make sure you know your target audience.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?
-I wish I knew how hard and time consuming it is to create content and manage social media platforms.
-I wish someone told me that a lot of people you meet along the way are going to disappoint you.
-Starting a brand is more than a fulltime job. You have to get familiar with things you’ve never done before because in the beginning, you don’t have the budget to hire professionals.
-Get comfortable with being overlooked when you first start out. Many people/influencers want to see that you’re successful before they agree to try out your product.
-With time, and a lot of trial and error, you get more savvy. You begin to grow thick skin and become shrewd. You need to go through everything I mentioned above to have the skills to become successful. It’s bittersweet, but the significance of success is greater when you have gone through the hardships.
Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?
Definitely do the research and see if something like it already exists. Also, see if there is a need for your idea. Need for whom?
There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?
This all depends on the budget. If you have the budget, sure. However, keep in mind that branding/marketing is going to be very expensive. Don’t burn all your money before you get to the marketing phase.
What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?
I think this is a personal preference and a financial decision. It was important for my business partner and I to fund our own business because we wanted to be the sole owners of our business. I understand that things can get very expensive and for some, this is not an option. That is why there are so many options to take advantage of. I would imagine with an investor, you can get your business to grow a lot faster than if you were to personally fund it, but then you have to give away a stake in your company. It’s a tradeoff, but it’s nice to know that the options are there. My advice would be to do whatever makes sense for each individual. You have to be comfortable with whatever decision you make.
Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I am not waiting to become crazy rich to make the world a better place. I am a true believer in always living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, teaching our kids to care for our planet, making sure we are not being wasteful and gluttonous. We are always looking for ways to improve as a company and as a family. At Miss Careful, we recently changed our packaging from a small cardboard box to reusable bags. There’s always room for growth and we are always looking for ways to do better.
You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
I would create a sustainable food source that is free of major corporations involvement, pesticide/roundup, and make it available around the world. I would teach all the countries the methods to be able to feed their people.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest 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, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
There are so many, but the first that comes to mind is Bethenny Frankel. She started off as a broke reality star, and is now a very successful business woman, an entrepreneur and philanthropist. She is a real success story. She created a prepackaged margarita line named Skinnygirl, and was able to sell it for $120 million. She understands business very well, and uses her platform, money and power to do good for the word. I have the utmost amount of respect for women who make it big using their own efforts. She is an inspiration to everyone who came from nothing and made something of themselves. She dominated the alcohol industry the way no other woman had before. In recent years, she used her resources and founded an organization that helps people around the world who have been impacted by natural disasters. She is a great role model for all.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.