Here is a Q & A featuring two proudly South African sisters and moms, with backgrounds in physiotherapy and teaching.  In their own words: “When we discovered the sheer joy that Essential Oils bring, we knew we had to share.“

These sisters have left their day jobs to pursue their dream of owning their own business.  The best part is that they have found an opportunity through which they are able to pursue their passion.  There is something about pursuing your true passion. Anyone can find an opportunity and pursue it to success, without providing the end-user with a level of excellence or quality.  Their story is one of passion and excellence which gives their business that added touch of quality. Their passion for essential oils has brought them both success as well as joy and fulfilment.  

WHAT BUSINESS DO YOU RUN?

We are independent distributors for Young Living Essential Oils operating under the team name of vOILa Africa. Young Living is the world leader in essential oils and is a community of people including moms, dads, students and professionals who seek to live a life of wellness and who are committed to providing essential oils in their purest form. 

Sara Abel, Ady Cohen, vOILa Africa co-onwers
Sara Abel on Left and Ady Cohen on Right

WHY DID YOU START YOUR OWN BUSINESS TOGETHER?

The opportunity presented itself at the right time in our lives where we were both looking to start working again after being stay-at-home moms for many years. Being sisters, there is complete trust between us so the decision to work together was easy and a natural progression from our previous careers. Ady used to practise as a Physiotherapist and Sara was a High School and Junior Primary teacher. 

WHO CAME UP WITH THE IDEA TO START A BUSINESS TOGETHER?

Our younger sister, who is a dermatologist, was researching sources of Blue Tansy to use in her skin-care range. She was so impressed by the transparency of the Young Living distillation process and their “Seed to Seal” promise that she decided to buy the Premium Starter kit which comes with 11 oils and a diffuser. As a dedicated advocate for clean beauty, she found the subsequent support within the Young Living community and the empowerment for clean living inspiring. Her positive experience in driving her journey into clean living further piqued our interest and our own enrolment as members of the company.  The rest is history as they say. We fell in love with the oils, the unbelievable community of support and the lifestyle and wanted as many people as possible to benefit from them.

WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO START A BUSINESS WITH EACH OTHER (BOTH TO REPLY): 

Same answer as above and we are so glad we did despite the bad rap working with family gets.

HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHICH DUTIES EACH CARRIES OUT?

We do not have any defined roles between us, but regular meetings and at least 20 phone calls a day help to keep the business running smoothly!

HOW DO YOU HANDLE SIBLING RIVALRY IN BUSINESS?

Luckily there is no sibling rivalry between us because we are on the same team and we have the same goals and dreams.

DOES THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF EACH SISTER SOMEHOW COMPLIMENT THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES IN THE OTHER SISTER?

We absolutely complement each other. Ady seems to naturally take over the I.T. side of things, and Sara is better at handling the more administrative side of the business. 

WHAT ARE THE HOURS THAT YOU WORK?

We have chosen to do this business full-time, so for us this has involved many hours of hard work. It is definitely not your typical 9-5 job. The beauty of this business is that it is completely and entirely by personal choice. Some of our team builders choose to do this part-time as a side job, while others – such as us for example, treat it like a full- time career. What is so amazing is that we do have flexible hours, and can choose when to work and when to be present for our families. 

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE IN YOUR EMPLOY CURRENTLY?

We currently have over 400 members working for vOILa Africa, of which less than 5% are business builders.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE BUSINESS?

Our goal is to share our love of essential oils and clean living. At the same time, we would like to grow our business in order to reach the rank of Royal Crown Diamond which is the highest rank one can reach in the company. At the moment, we are at the rank of Silver. We are the first team to have reached Silver in South Africa which is a huge achievement!!

HOW DO YOU HANDLE PRESSURE?

Ady: I like to go to the gym or do yoga classes to de-stress. I also run myself a small bath with a mix of Stress-Away oil and Epsom salts to completely relax and unwind.

Sara:
I am part of a walking group and I find that as soon as I take my first steps towards the mountains and forests of Cape Town, I immediately start to feel distressed. 

The biggest way that we handle pressure is our ability to lean on each other and offer support to each other when the going gets tough! They both agree.

HOW WOULD A MAN RUN YOUR BUSINESS Differently?

Young Living was actually founded by a man with an entrepreneurial spirit, D. Gary Young. It is because of Gary, that people all over the world are enjoying emotional, spiritual and physical well-being through the use of essential oils. 

WOULD YOU EVER GO AND WORK FOR A BOSS AGAIN?

Both: Never!! It is the most amazing and empowering feeling to be in control of one’s own destiny. Between the two of us, we have seven kids and seven fur babies, so being able to work and still spend time with our families is very special. 

DO YOU EVER TAKE WORK HOME WITH YOU?

All of our work is done from home or from our favourite coffee shop and bakery in Sea Point.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX?

Ady: I love going for reflexology using my favourite essential oils, or lying in my bed and scrolling through Pinterest. At the moment, I am engrossed in the television series, Game of Thrones.

Sara: I am a Netflix addict! I also LOVE reading and am part of a book club, and love going to the movies!

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN ABOUT IN ORDER TO RUN YOUR BUSINESS BETTER?

We would both like to learn how to use social media to promote our business. We often have to rely on our more tech-savvy kids for help!!

IF YOU HAD TO START AGAIN WHAT WOULD YOU DO BETTER KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW NOW?

We would have structured our business better. Because this is a network marketing business, the structure is vitally important, and we have definitely made a few structural mistakes along the way.

DID YOU HAVE TO BORROW MONEY AND IF YES WHAT ROUTE DID YOU FOLLOW?

We did not need to borrow money, because the beauty of this business is that the only thing you need to get started is a starter kit. Once you have bought that, the sky is your limit!

WHAT SATISFACTION DO YOU GET FROM RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS?

Seeing our membership numbers growing each month brings about a huge sense of achievement and satisfaction. To know that we are helping so many people achieve health and financial freedom is so rewarding. Waking up every morning with a sense of purpose and excitement is also extremely empowering. 

WHAT MAKES YOUR BUSINESS SUCCESSFUL?

We absolutely love what we do! We love educating people through our workshops on how to live a toxin-free life. We truly care about each and every one of our members, and through our WhatsApp chat group and Facebook page and group, we offer support to our members on their journey to wellness and clean living.  

WHAT FORM OF MARKETING DO YOU USE?

We educate mainly through holding workshops, but we also love doing markets and pop-ups. We are also starting to use Facebook and Instagram to promote our product.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MANTRA WHEN THINGS GET TOUGH TO HELP YOU THROUGH DIFFICULT TIMES 

Ady: “Tough times never last but tough people do!”

Sara: “This too shall pass”. 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE BOOKS?

Ady: “Shantaram” by Gregory Roberts and “Shoe Dog” by Phil Knight.

Sara: That is really hard to choose!! I loved the trilogy “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” by Ransom Riggs. I have just finished reading the most charming book called “The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village” by Joanna Nell. Psychological thrillers and ” who-done-its” are my favourite genres.

WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNT WHILST BEING IN BUSINESS?

We have learned how to deal with and handle different personalities, we have learned patience as well as time management and also how to have a healthy balance between work and family time. 

Author Muzi Mohale

Welcome to StarterJourney.com where I showcase small beginnings to inspire the next entrepreneur in you. It's a journey worth tapping into, many life lessons get to be experienced, money made and money lost...You're welcome to share your entrepreneurship journey with my audience.

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