Setareh Bateni immigrated to Canada when she was 3 years old. Ever since she was 8 years old, she had wanted to pursue a life that promoted unity. After trying to figure out the best path to achieve that, she chose to study Philosophy and later obtained a Masters of Philosophy in Law. Her dream was to work as a Policy Analyst one day so she could promote a more united world through policy. She soon realized however, that policy could not bring about a more peaceful and united world as quickly as she wanted to. So, after she watched a very inspiring documentary, she focused her energy on a new business that would hopefully, one day, make it trendy and inspirational to love one another. Her thought process was this: Trends catch on much faster than policies do. Read our interview with the lovely Setareh below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
In January 2016, I watched a documentary by Living On One that inspired me to act:
Living On One Dollar is an eloquent portrayal of the struggles and triumphs of the Peña Blancan (Guatemalan) people as they strive to live under one dollar per day. While Chris, Zach, and the Living On One team raised awareness about extreme poverty and illness in Peña Blanca, I was moved by their connection to people who had been isolated for decades. On the extreme end, human disconnect can impoverish a region, but it can also shut people out of our own communities whose inclusion would actually benefit us.
Tell us about your business.
To fight isolation and encourage connection, I ask people one thing they bring to the world and put their answers inside One Thing lockets for you to see their value. After you receive their message, you can write your own empowering message or gift one thing you love about someone inside the locket. I donate 10% of sales to programs that help fight isolation in some way. At the moment, I donate to programs that help prevent postpartum depression and suicide. Each locket is handmade with brass and Swarovski. They are housed in glass test tubes like a message in a bottle. They also come with three locket inserts so you can write your message on.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Yes! You can use the code LADYBOSS20 for 20% off! Shipping is always free.
Where is your business based?
I am currently based in Vancouver, Canada.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I took some courses on web analytics because I knew that, despite going through the motions of setting up an online business, I would need hard data to make decisions that help me grow. Without actually acting on the data, every shot you take is in the dark.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Because my brand is about asking people for their One Thing, my best strategy has been to find people on social media and ask them their One Thing. This has engaged the people in the brand. In addition, I have found that a lot of people have times when they feel isolated. I engage people with posts about varying aspects of isolation in our lives and ask for input.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
I think it’s always hard to drive more traffic to your site when you don’t have or want to spend a lot of money on marketing. Organic growth can sometimes seem impossible if your product is online and not in the real world for people to touch/feel.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I partnered with both the charity I support and the film makers who inspired me. This has brought more traffic to my site and it’s fulfilled my dream to do something bigger than just sell product.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I view each difficulty as a puzzle and I’m a natural problem solver. This means that I am often interested in solving a puzzle. If I’m interested, I’m never bogged down by the difficulty.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I don’t want to create a product that feeds off of people’s insecurities. I don’t want to create a need for the product because people feel insufficient unless they have it. I want people to start feeling like they have value. I hope that my product will reinforce that fact to them by empowering them to love themselves, their One Thing, and other people who share in their One Thing.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
I have heard that no matter what you do, keep it consistent and stay patient. People need time to learn about you and if you keep changing the time and location and message of your product, people will not get used to finding you.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t compare yourself. Don’t look to others to be better than them. Every time I did this, I ended up taking the brand in a direction that wasn’t meant for it. Your ideas are unique to you and your strategy should be too. If another brand is more successful, just say “good for them” and evaluate what you need to do to build your own success.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Since most of my business engagement comes from Instagram, I like using the Facebook group called Instagram Posse. You meet many likeminded people who help with engagement on Instagram.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“The Lean Start Up” by Eric Ries.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I would like more help with affiliate marketing. I would like to drive more traffic to my site and I believe having more brand reps or affiliate marketing is what I need now.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goal is to increase my online sales specifically. I have store sales but online has better pay-off for me and it allows me to do more for the charities as well. I have analyzed what my problem points are and I am taking steps to resolve them. In the online world, it’s a matter of testing everything out so I am hoping that each test will give me more data to know what to do next until I achieve more online sales.