Not only has she helped create a jewelry brand that aims to make women feel unique, empowered and beautiful, while also giving a percentage of profits back to the community, but Jameela Ghann also runs a business to help promote and empower female entrepreneurs. Hell yes, girl.
Ace: What are you up to? ( Your current hustle )
Jameela: I am currently the Vice President and Designer of Alora Boutique. Alora adds beauty and meaning to your life while enabling you to positively contribute to the community. We create jewelry that has meaning and stories from ethical and sustainable materials, and donate a percentage of profits to female-focused charities in Calgary.
My newest side hustle is she[EMPOWERS] where we help promote and empower female entrepreneurs to achieve economic prosperity. she[EMPOWERS] helps product-based female entrepreneurs properly promote themselves, get in front of the right audience, and gain business skills that will help them thrive economically. So far we have helped female entrepreneurs in this city make over $22,000 dollars in sales and have raised hundreds of dollars for charity.
ACE: Why is this important to you? ( Where did this passion come from? )
Jameela: I think that it is important to give where you live. My mother has always been very involved in the community and has repeatedly told me that “you are never too poor to give”. I think because of my upbringing, I have always wanted to give back to the community. It is always so satisfying to see other people do well because of the help that you have given them. I find that when you are kind and help other people, they are much more likely to be kind to others. That creates a domino effect making the world a happier and brighter place.
Ace: What was your dream job growing up? How do you think this has influenced who you are today?
Jameela: I think I wanted to be a marine biologist in the 5th grade. I don’t think I ever had a dream job, but honestly, after kids my memory has gotten so bad that I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast…did I even eat breakfast? So many unanswered questions!
All joking aside, I really didn’t have a plan for my life growing up. I was just enjoying the moment. I think that having children really influenced who I am today. These days I care about people much more than I ever have. Why? Because I realize that everyone has a mother that loves them and sees them as a special human being. That makes me believe that 99% of people are deserving of love.
Ace: If you could describe yourself in only three words, what would they be?
Jameela: Organized. Vivacious. Driven.
Ace: Who’s your biggest inspiration and why?
Jameela: After my mom and all the other hardcore women in my family, I would say that Oprah is a big inspiration for me, and likely most women of colour. She has built an empire on her skills, passion, and kindness. That is a business model that I think is very useful in today’s society.
Ace: What does the term “Boss Babe” mean to you?
Jameela: To me “Boss Babe” means a woman who is taking charge of her life. She runs her own show and is absolutely fabulous while doing it. She doesn’t let anyone kill her vibe, and she is graceful and kind.
Ace: How do you empower other women?
Jameela: At Alora, we use what I like to call conscious capitalism to empower other women. We buy our components such as recycled glass beads from fair trade female artisans in Ghana, we encourage our customers to live their best lives through intention by wearing our jewelry, and we donate a percentage of our profits to female-focused charities in Calgary.
Through she[EMPOWERS] I really want to help other product-based businesses succeed. I’ve learned so much by building Alora into what it is today - I want to share my knowledge with other women so they can learn from my experiences, create something they are passionate about, and build a profitable business.
Any time anyone asks me for advice I always give it to them, even if they are in the same industry as me. I think that there is enough in the world for us all, and honestly, if we don’t help each other in Calgary and Canada no one else will.
ace: What is the best advice you’ve ever received from another woman?
Jameela: That it is better to make sacrifices when your kids are small so that you can be there for them when they really need you. Pre-teens and teens anyone?! Kids are so much more flexible when they are young. I remember we dragged our youngest across Canada for business meetings, and our oldest across the world to meet with women suppliers in Ghana. It is so easy to make things happen when you don’t have a rigid school schedule to deal with. Also, kids under two fly for free!
I feel so much better that we hustled so hard in the first three years of our oldest daughter’s life. Now that she is in school, we have built a business that doesn’t require us to be there every day and we can spend time doing activities that she will actually remember.
Ace: Can you share the biggest lesson you’ve learned from a failure?
Jameela: So many failures, so little time to write about them all. Our biggest failure was probably going to a trade show super early in our business. The lesson that we learned was that we needed to focus on our ideal target market and build personal relationships. There were many other things that we learned along the way about our product mix, line sheets, display, merchandising, and all the other fun retail/wholesale stuff, but explaining that would require an essay.
I always look at failures like this: If I made the best decision I could with the information that I had, then it wasn’t a failure, it was a painful learning experience. You can’t win them all, but as long as you know that you did all your research and made a calculated risk, you will be okay.
Ace: When you are feeling overwhelmed, what do you do to find peace?
Jameela: That is a good question. I don’t actually have a place to go and find peace. I usually work and work and work and then run away to the beach or some other vacation place twice a year. I need to work on this for sure.
I recently started going to a Buddhist Temple and I find that the teachings are super helpful when I am feeling overwhelmed. I also go to the gym once a week which I find peaceful. Ask me again in a year and hopefully my answer is much better!
ace: What legacy do you hope to be remembered for?
Jameela: I want to be remembered for being an amazing mother and helping many, many people along the way. I also want to be remembered for always living the life that I thought was good for me and never conforming to what people thought I should be. I still have to work on this, but I will make it happen.
ace: Where can we find out more about you so we can continue to support you?
Jameela: You can find out more about me and Alora by visiting our website. There are tons of great gifts online and some amazing everyday jewelry pieces too. Remember, when you support a small business you are basically saving the world! If you care about what I do personally, I have a blog called Jam and Tea that I post on whenever I have the time (heads up: I post a lot of cute photos of my kids). If you are a product-based business and need support or advice, please visit she[EMPOWERS] and fill out the contact form. I am happy to answer any questions (for free) that you may have about growing your business and learning from my mistakes!
PS: Use code ACE20 and receive 20% off your next order at Alora.