Ferzan Jaeger created a passion-driven business that connects to her culture in Turkey. Listen to this inspiring woman!
Ferzan Jaeger was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. After moving to the United States for graduate school, she quickly realized she wanted to start her own business that kept her connected to her roots in Turkey as well as her passion in home decor. She founded Olive and Loom, a home textile company importing natural home textiles from Turkey, and Kin & Care, which is a company that sells soy candles made by refugees from the Middle East.
In this episode of the Woman of Value Podcast:
– How Ferzan pivoted from working at NASA to starting her own business
– What motivated her to follow her passion
– How Ferzan gives back to women who are refugees from the Middle East
– The best advice for a woman who wants to start a passion-driven business
Show notes: Building a Passion Driven-Business
WHAT DOES WOMAN OF VALUE MEAN TO YOU?
She’s a woman who implements the beliefs and core values they believe in, whether it’s faith, work, or family.
YOUR ‘AHA’ WOMAN OF VALUE MOMENT
I was always interested in science. I even had a job at NASA! Although I was good at my job and enjoyed it, I knew there was a greater purpose, which was entrepreneurship. I combined my home culture and passion for home decor. For many years, I worked full time at my job and my side gig at Olive and Loom. Right before I gave birth to my second child, a daughter, I thought to myself, how do I want my daughter to see me? I wanted her to see me pursue my passions and dreams.
Within a few months, I quit my job and worked on Olive and Loom full time. I also wanted to do something to support refugees. That’s why I started Kin & Care. Candles were something the refugees could create.
THE STRUGGLES IN BUILDING A PASSION-DRIVEN BUSINESS
There’s always a struggle. The beginning is painful, because financially, it’s hard to support a business without getting a return for a long time. I was the accountant, buyer, marketer, and more. The challenge was growing the business by delegating to the right people. It requires a lot of patience. Every day, do a little bit more.
When I was in grad school, my professor said ‘strength is interest times talent.’ Identify your strengths, and delegate out your weaknesses. When vetting people, ask them if they’re great at this type of work.
The pandemic made us very uncomfortable. We’ve grown in some areas like home textile retails sales, and suffered in online sales. We had to have quicker implementations of ideas during the pandemic.
For Kin & Care, the dream is to expand to studios and workplaces in different cities where refugees can work. For Olive and Loom, we want to grow our catalogue. We want to continue to remember our roots, but there are unique and significant elements in other countries and cultures.
THE LIGHTNING ROUND
I used to think I wasn’t brave enough.
What was the #1 thing holding you back from becoming a woman of value? Expectations put on me by others. Growing up in Turkey and working in NASA in a male dominated environment, there were expectations of what women should and should not do.
What’s the best advice you can give to a woman who wants to become more empowered? When I was at NASA and I wanted to start my own business, I always asked my best friend, “Why can’t I just be happy with this good job?” She asked why I can’t allow myself to be who I am. Listen to your inner voice and follow your passion.
What advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t set yourself enormous goals or try to plan a life for yourself. Things will change, and it’s not healthy to be fixed.
What’s something people get wrong about you? They often think I’m too cold and snobbish. I’m the opposite. I’m warm and friendly and open. When I first meet someone, my lack of confidence leads me to be quiet.
How would you like to be remembered? As a woman who wanted happiness for herself and her family, and she went to great lengths to pursue her passion and enable others to succeed.
Connect with Ferzan!
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