Meet the founder of DAFNI
Hi Sharon Rabi, thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity to sit down find out more about yourself and your amazing business. Please sum yourself up in one sentence.
I am Sharon, 30 year old mom of 3, electric engineer and physicist, founder of DAFNI, the original hair straightening brush.
Inspiration is always a great indication of why people launch businesses. Who or what inspired you to get started?
My need for a better hair tool came after a too short haircut I had when I was an engineering student, made me feel I have to tame my hair. I started using flat irons, and asked how is it possible that in 2010s we are using this small surface to transform 100,000 hair follicles, I found out the patent for a flat iron was originally filed in 1909 and recruited my father, a senior engineer, to help me find a better solution. Ultimately we came up with our patented 3D straightening brush DAFNI and named it after my younger sister, a big straight hair fan too.
How do you set yourself apart from other businesses in your industry?
When DAFNI was created there were no electric straightening brushes, when we launched a big retailer told us, “we love it but no one knows what it is, so how will they buy it”. It did however take about two seconds for the market to be get flooded with me too brushes.
Luckily we kept our quality and originality and were able to secure trusted retailers like John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and Sephora.
What’s the single most important decision that you made, that contributed to your business?
I chose to start a family business. Something that is less popular today, there are definitely big challenges there but also a greater passion to get the business to work, it becomes synonymous to the family itself and for me, a mom of three young kids I would have never been able to do it without my family’s support.
How did you fund the launch of your business and what creative strategies did you use to execute a minimal cash flow?
Well, as it turns out, female founded businesses, especially in the female industries have a harder time raising seed money, once the business is up and running it is different but it’s very challenging to raise money for “what could be” even though there are patents and true innovation involved. So we had to be very very careful and still, for a regular family, we risked a lot of money.
How did you conquer those moments of doubt that so often affect entrepreneurs or stop many with great ideas – what pushes you through?
I always get inspired by my social media mentors, like Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx and Joe Melone, fierce when who proof that however crazy, it has been done before and well!
Who is your target audience?
Anyone who loves getting her hair done.
What would be your number one tip for young entrepreneurs who are ready to launch their own business?
Just start. Find solutions as you go, true entrepreneurship doesn’t come with answers only questions and a passion to find answers.
What first in the mornings, phone, book, laptop or me time?
What would be your top marketing tip, to grow a business that is so niche, yet incredibly timeless?
Keep it authentic. When we launched DAFNI from my family basement, I made a simple demo video which reached a 120 million views, 2 million shares. While I wish I could redo that J, I can say the video got viral because it looks real, it was a homemade video and I look like everybody else, it is not a half a million dollar production with the prettiest supermodel around. I believe that is one of the most beautiful strengths of social media, when we can all have a voice and we’ve discovered that we actually want to see people like us that we can relate.
What are your thoughts on failure as an entrepreneur?
Failure is the only way to grow as an entrepreneur. So many of the greatest leaders of our time speak about the importance of failure and they are all right (of course J). Release the fear of getting judged, you know who will support you and who wont, stick to those that will. Keep a positive environment as it is the best ground to start new things and facing the bumpy ride.