What makes a good leader? And how can one stay true to oneself when investing in a project? Mariolina Sangalli, co-founder @adesso.beauty, tells us her story and discusses business, the value of curiosity and learning from your failures.
Starting a business isn’t easy, but a new Generation of Gen Zers and Millennials are launching their businesses spurred by the need to do something for themselves. Mariolina Sangalli is one of them, a young entrepreneur who founded adesso with her sisters Enrica and Cecilia, and is taking care of the operations management of the company.
“Before adesso beauty I used to work in fashion – which isn’t that distant from beauty, but still not super related. However, as my sisters know quite well, my passion has always been that of wellness,” Mariolina explains when talking about her professional jumpstart in the working world. “I studied at Bocconi, and then left to experience different working environments abroad: a startup in London, a young but well-structured business in NYC and then finally, family-owned fashion-brand Etro in Milan.”
Soon it was time to launch adesso, and Mariolina finally felt ready to throw herself into this new adventure with her sisters. As she soon learned, startup life is like being on a roller coaster and her curious and flexible attitude was the factor that helped her the most in this adventure.
“So many times you have to learn to act fast and you have to be ready and on the ball at all times. Time is the most complex part to manage,” she says.
The truth is team effort is what makes a difference – and that’s one thing Mariolina certainly learned from her past experiences and is bringing on into this new adventure with her sisters.
However, having embarked on this adventure with her family, Mariolina soon realized that not only the most satisfying part of it were the small wins they’d be able to see every day, but also the ability to be able to work with the people she trusted the most and the satisfaction that despite the difficulties, the three of them as a team have managed to maintain a very good relationship. Working with her sisters is, of course, an added value.
Thus, what tips would Mariolina give to someone looking into starting their own startup?
“The first thing I would say is that you should allow yourself to believe you can make mistakes. This should not be a reason for discouragement but should help you grow. You have to act differently and try again,” Mariolina states. “It seems like an obvious thing to say, but it takes a lot of patience and sacrifice. You always say it but when you live it, it really does. The biggest advice I’d give? Keep confronting yourself with people, ask for constructive criticism and advice, and take from each person what can help you grow and improve as a human being and professional.”
But also – one must absolutely believe in the project and the philosophy behind it. That’s the most important thing. “I believe that in any case, a person who takes such a high risk as the one we took should truly believe in what they sell, for example, we did it to share a philosophy in which we believe. We created these products to tell women that sometimes to be healthy and beautiful, a little beauty effort is enough – the essential – so they can keep learning, enriching their live and living life the way they want to live it,” she concludes.
Last but not least, one should always be curious and most importantly, flexible. Because, as Mariolina stated in the beginning, curiosity and flexibility will always lead to growth and great things.