Shereen Sands was born and raised in The Bahamas where she worked in the Financial Services industry. In 2015, Shereen relocated to Canada where she had plans to reenter the workforce. In preparation for this, she took an eight-month course to learn French while also doing volunteer work with seniors and persons with disabilities.
YES: When did you start your entrepreneurial journey and what were some of your goals when you started?
Shereen Sands: I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2017. It was after my second year of being in Canada and not being able to find a job in my field of expertise, that I decided on creating my own path. My goal was to create work for myself.
I had this product that I had made in my kitchen for my daughter who has curly hair and had been using it for a while. I thought I could build a business around it. This is when I got the idea to start my company Lyla Naturals, a brand of natural and organic hair and skincare products. Dedicated to my daughter’s curly hair, I named my very first product Beautiful Curls. It’s a cream to define curls and eliminate frizz.
YES: What stage are you at now? What have been your greatest achievements?
Shereen Sands: It has been an interesting journey getting to where I am today. My products are now sold across Quebec and other provinces in natural and organic stores, as well as pharmacies and specialty stores, and have won numerous global/international awards in 2021 and 2022.
Through planning, believing in my business and my commitment to building and improving, I continue to celebrate achievements beyond my imagination!
YES: What were/are your biggest struggles?
Shereen Sands: My biggest struggle was being a one-woman show and not having the answers to all my questions. All of the business’ responsibilities rested solely on me. Formulations, packaging designs, product registrations…. I had to oversee everything. At one point I was showing up to do the demos at stores that sold my products. I spoke in French to the customers I was presenting to and even though my French wasn’t perfect, I got out there and made the effort.
I learned very early on that my success depended on the work that I would put in. Tasks had to be completed and I was the only one there to do them. I had to be persistent and committed to learning and trusting the process.
YES: What was the problem you were experiencing before you came into YES?
Shereen Sands: When I came into YES, I was trying to get over the hurdle of not knowing how to strengthen my online presence. I needed help in learning how to build an online identity and have my website reflect the retail side of my business. I was inexperienced with website operations and didn’t know how to properly showcase my values and commitment to clean self-care products in the online space.
I wanted my bubbly personality to shine through on my website, but most importantly, I wanted to create an online environment that was engaging.
YES: What did you find as a result of using our services? What was the best thing about it?
Shereen Sands: YES has exceeded my expectations. YES has helped me assess my situation, pinpoint my strengths and weaknesses and create a workable plan that is healthy and attainable.
I now have the tools needed to portray a clear message and achieve consistent growth online and in other parts of my business. Through YES I’ve found that entrepreneurship is a process. It requires you to have the willingness to get out of your comfort zone and try things that are uncomfortable. With the openness to learning and doing it with passion, any goal can become an achievement. Thanks YES!