We are launching a series of regular interviews with our mentees.
The first interview is with a French lady with a beautiful name Ilhame Bououden, or simply Ema. Ema is running a beauty business in Shanghai. Her daily motivation is customer´s satisfaction and happiness.
第一次访谈对象是一位有着动听名字的法国女性Ilhame Bououden，简称Ema. Ema在上海经营着她的美容事业，她每天最大的动力就是让客户满意和开心。
Ema tells us: “When I see a woman smiling after her treatment I feel like I am flying. I take care of woman´s eyes. Woman´s eyes are a very serious business. Actually the most powerful part of our image. Together with my customers we are creating the most beautiful eyes in Shanghai.”
Hi Ema, when we first met at HerCentury, you have already had a mature business idea. How did you start?
I started without much planning. I arrived to China 10 months ago and I thought that no one would hire me as I don't speak Chinese. I was a total stranger in Shanghai, without any connections. Finally, I just created my own dream job instead of working for another guy's dream.
Have you ever considered doing anything different? Like working for a company again?
Sometimes I still have a moment of doubt, yes of course! Sometimes I am still looking at job offers and thinking that I should send over my CV. But then I think about all experiences I went through, all tough moments I had, and am I even more motivated to get back to my business and to keep going. Can't give up now! I simply cannot and this is not an option so far.
Tell us about your most complicated customer?
There are no such customers. I have customers with high standards, looking for someone able to listen to their needs and to truly understand them and provide a personalised service. Many customers are very used to have the best, 5 stars services.
Fortunately I am French from Paris, and Parisian customers are very demanding. I have learned a lot from them :) I always joke:”If you can make a french customer happy, then you can make any customer happy”.
What are the main barriers you have encountered and how are you planning to overcome them?
Of course the language! Language barriers reduce our independence. I am not able to do everything on my own and I need to rely on other people for help.
To improve this situation, I am learning Chinese and plan to hire a Chinese assistant.
We met at HerCentury, a mentoring community for women. What were you looking for in a mentor?
I was looking for a guidance. For someone willing to share with me entrepreneurial experiences and give me feedback on my strategy. I work alone, and this is quite challenging. I needed someone I could share my thoughts with and to learn from. I am always willing to learn. I want to keep learning all my life!
Tell us about inspiring women in your life?
My mother, she inspired me. She worked hard all her life and took many challenges in order to raise our family. She worked very hard to provide us with food, clean outfit and comfort. She left her country to settle in France and to give us a better future. Now I work for her. I want to be able to take care of her when she is old.
You come from a family of strong women :) You will definitely succeed. If we do this interview again, several years later. What will you tell us?
I will tell you how proud I am of my loyal and happy employees doing their best to satisfy every single customer. My future employees will believe in Esthete core values of professionalism, trust and expertise.
I will tell you how proud I am and grateful to thousands of inspirational customers. Customers always willing to become a better self and to take their image very seriously.
I will tell you how proud I am to have experienced this great journey in China. China gave me a chance to challenge myself, to do a good job and be proud of it. China is the place where I could achieve my goals and dreams.