Yasmeen Tadia, owner and CEO of the Make Your Life Sweeter Brands, is one of the featured speakers at Local Profile’s 20th annual Women in Business Virtual Summit on Friday, October 15. Click here for tickets.
Yasmeen Tadia’s life philosophy is to make life sweeter for other people, whether that’s through meaningful relationships, nonprofit work or by providing them high quality sweet treats.
She is the sole owner of candy company Make Your Life Sweeter, the parent of five companies — Fluffpop, Sugaire, HotPoppin, ModChocolate and ModSweets. Her products have been featured in Glamour Magazine and praised by A-list celebrities like Neil Patrick Harris, Paris Hilton and Steven Forbes.
Find out more about Yasmeen Tadia’s story here.
Yasmeen Tadia prides herself on taking care of her all-women staff. When COVID-19 hit, she promised her team that no one was going to get laid off or furloughed. She relied on savings to keep the business afloat until the owners of Galleria Dallas approached her with the opportunity to open a pop up shop during the 2020 holiday season.
“We created the world’s first 21 course dessert omakase tasting menu, which sold out almost every single week. And we just grew the business from there. Events are slowly coming back, but they’re not anywhere where they used to be,” Yasmeen says.
Read on for Yasmeen Tadia’s advice about being a woman in business.
What does a day at work look like for you?
My job balances operations, development, sales, marketing, all different areas. I wish I could say that I had a normal day at work.
This week, we have a client that wants 8000 servings of popcorn a week and 8000 servings of gummies a week. So yesterday, my day was spent shipping everything out — like taping up boxes, shipping it all out, dealing with customers that walked into the store.
I’m creating custom Pop Rocks for another client. I have a commercial that I’m working on with Aston Martin and Bentley that’s coming up soon. So every day is just completely different.
As a tenured manager, what advice do you have for women in management positions?
Treat everybody with respect and dignity. You never know, somebody who’s an assistant one day could going end up being the biggest client that you’ve ever had.
And the other thing is investing your time in great mentors. I think that’s a really important piece, because you can’t grow mentally and emotionally and professionally unless you have great mentors that challenge you in different areas.
I actually do mentorship a little different than most people. You may have somebody in your life that’s really great at business, but they may not be the best parent. Someone may be really, really good at parenting, but they may be terrible at taking care of their own personal health.
So for me, I actually focus my life into 10 categories that I need positive influence in, and I find mentors in every single category.
What has your experience been as a woman of color in business?
I think for me, it’s not only the color of my skin. I also look very young. When I walk into a room, people just don’t take me seriously, and it can be really challenging.
I had that happen to me recently. At a sweets and snacks expo, I walked up to the booth of a very large candy company, and they treated me like I was a little kid. It really rubbed me the wrong way. I actually was going to place an order of 350,000 units with them. But now I will never do business with them because of how rude they were to me and my team.
It makes you step back and realize that we’re not on a level playing field. I have to work 10 times harder to prove that I know what I’m doing.
Sometimes I go to events, and I notice that people talk to my employees nicer than they talk to me. They think my employees are the owners, and I’m just the worker bee. We even had somebody walk into the store and treat me like I didn’t speak English. And then one of my white employees came out and and they were chatting with her normally. And then my employee was like, “I want you to meet our owner.”
Those challenges can be frustrating for sure. But that’s up to us to educate people.
What is your advice for other women of color in business?
We have to have a little bit of an edge. You have to know more because you will be challenged a little bit more than everybody else.
So I think that it’s really important to make sure that you do the research and really, really work hard. I do believe that here in America, we can work hard and get really far. So sometimes it’s also having a little bit of a thicker skin and not taking things so personally.
As you move in your career, you get to choose who you want to work with. So when you’re young in your career, sometimes you just have to take on business. Now I’m at a point where I can choose which clients I do not want to work with because of how they treat me. You get to get make those decisions, but you always have to do it in a respectful and kind and gracious manner.
What advice do you have for women thinking of starting their own business?
You need to be prepared to be everything. When people ask me, “Are you the owner?” I’m like, “Well, I’m more of the janitor.”
We had a film a photoshoot for Aston Martin two weeks ago. And I had to literally go in with hair and makeup at 7am to mop the floors. Because, you know, sometimes your team doesn’t have the time to do it.
Unless you’re some small business owner that has a lot of money that can hire people to come in and clean, you’re going to be the one that’s going to do it.
I also think a big challenge is staffing — aligning yourself with individuals that see your vision and have the same work ethic.
What advice do you have for women just starting out their careers?
Ask for feedback.
I was always wanting to question, you know, how can I be better? What can I do better? Going through an interview process, even if you don’t get the job, call the recruiter and ask what you could have done differently.
This one time I almost got this job. I was the only one I think from all the candidates who actually wrote a handwritten thank you note. I was traveling at the time, and I think I put it in the mail at the airport. I didn’t even proof it, and there ended up being a spelling error. That taught me that a mistake like that can cost you your entire career.
But also understand that as you go along in life, things eventually fit together like a puzzle. Make sure though that you’re curating that puzzle. Work on a path that helps you get to where you want to go.
My first question in every interview is, what is your dream job? If a company you’re working for can’t get you to your dream job, why are you investing your time and energy in that company? That’s what you need to answer.
What advice do you have for working women with families?
I became a single mom when my son, Zain, was six months old and started my business when he was three. And I made a commitment that I would be a full time mom all the time.
I homeschool my son, so he can be more involved in my life, and I can be more involved in his life. But of course that’s not something that’s available to everybody.
However, I do feel that being present when your children need you is really important. And additionally, you know, being a working parent is really hard because your brain is in so many different places. But it is really important to me that Zain grows up to be a good citizen of the world. I raise my son like I’m raising a husband because he’s going to be married to somebody someday.
He comes first; my job comes second.
I always try my best to have a work hard, play harder mentality. So like, let’s work really hard this week, then we can go to Hawaii for 10 days and have a great time and not be working so hard. And just kind of teaching him that work ethic and mentality i think is important.
How do you achieve work-life balance?
I hate to say it, but I think work-life balance is not attainable unless you have a dual income. As a single mom, the mom guilt can be very challenging.
I don’t know anybody in my life that’s balanced, either as a working mom or a stay at home mom. You just have to know that your life is just going to be all over the place when you have kids, but it’s okay.
Want to hear more from Yasmeen Tadia and other incredible women like her? Register for our Women in Business Virtual Summit!
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