Mulheres Que Mudam o Mundo: Zica Assis
Stop and listen to Nath! People ask me, if their business
idea has never been done before, it means it’s a bad idea, right? Wrong! You can never give up.
It’s a huge fight to take on. You asked for my help, and here I am. Every time you miss,
I’m going to ring this bell. I will grab you by your hair! If you don’t know it, just learn it! Is it harder for women
to start a business? Yes! Does that mean
we’re going to give up on this? Never! My name is Nathalia Arcuri,
founder of Me Poupe. I heard many times I was crazy
and my business wouldn’t prosper. Four years later, with an average
annual income of 20 million reais, I learned that what brought me here
won’t move me forward. I need inspiration. In order to get that,
I will search the world for women who have also been called crazy but who found success and fortune today. Crazy girls, I’m coming! Today, we are meeting Zica Assis,
paradigm breaker, creator, and co-founder of the
Instituto Beleza Natural, a company specialized
in the treatment of curly hair with over 40 stores all over Brazil and 130,000 monthly customers on average. It has an annual income
of 100 million reais. Women represent 90%
of their 1,000 employees. If that doesn’t mean having power,
I don’t know what does. RIO DE JANEIRO
BRAZIL Put your hands together
for this woman, people! I feel inspired already
just by coming in here. I feel richer just by being
at this institute. Tell me, how do you feel, coming in here, after how many years? -Twenty-seven years.
-Twenty-seven years! Wow! I can imagine people
coming in here and saying, “Wow! I bet there’s a man
investing big in this company.” If you have an idea,
do you think people will find it good? -Wrong!
-Wrong. Everybody said I was crazy for investing
in curly hair treatment. Curly hair should be
straightened out, and that’s it. There’s no other solution. How was your hair back then? I had a huge afro! You were very proud of your afro, but did you feel other people
felt the same way? Did you feel any racism towards you
because of your afro? I began experiencing racism
only when I started working as a nanny. I lived in a small wooden shack,
and I began working in mansions. -What would they say to you?
-That either I had to cut my hair, or I wouldn’t be allowed to work there. Then my mom said I should cut it
because my brothers needed the money. Crying wouldn’t change a thing. And you crybabies
like to say that it’s too hard! This is the real deal, Brazil! That’s when you see
what great businesswomen are made of. You were not only sad about it.
You were unsettled by it. When you are unsettled with a situation,
you want to change it. I really changed it all,
I changed my haircut and decided I would be myself.
Then I started a hairdressing course. How much have you spent
on beauty care in the last ten years? LET ME EXPLAIN Brazilians are very concerned
with their looks, and they only fall behind people
from the USA, Japan, and China when it comes to expenditures
in beauty care. Even considering the recession
Brazil has experienced recently, the beauty industry kept going
with perfect, shiny skin. In the last five years, this segment
has grown 567% in Brazil. Beauty industry employees went from 72,000 to a total of 480,000. I started to learn by myself
how to treat curly hair. Why was my hair so thick? Why was it so hard to fix it?
Why didn’t people respect it? Then I started a hairdressing course and learned what the market had to offer
but not what I really wanted. You mean standard haircutting,
hair straightening, the usual. And what about my problem? The sad part of me moved me forward,
and I wouldn’t stop. I would use my charisma
and a big smile, and ask, “Could you get me some of that powder?” So you went after
the components of the formula. Honestly, if I told you I knew
what it was, I would be lying. I would just ask for some powder,
and I knew I had to make a mixture. Then I got a bowl and a wooden spoon
and started mixing it all. There’s nothing a wooden spoon can’t do! Crazy things happened,
like my hair started falling off. When I saw it falling off,
I would run to the sink. It was not working, so I thought,
“You know what? I will get someone to be a test dummy,
and I know just who.” Rogério, my younger brother. I want to hear your part of the story. When did your hair started falling out? People thought Zica was crazy
for messing with it. She started making the mixtures
and testing them on her own hair. Then she told me, “If I use this on you,
and your hair falls out, it’s not a big deal,
as it will grow back.” And I said I was okay with it. When I used it,
it made my hair look funny, and it did fall out sometimes. That went on until, one day,
when it stopped falling out, and Zica’s hair started looking good, too. So she realized that it was working. After a while,
my crazy mixtures started working, until Rogério told me that
he could not be my test dummy anymore because he got a job at McDonald’s. Then I kept on going,
testing the mixtures on myself. Testing and working. Working a lot! I would never stop working,
and I was married with three children! -Wow, girl!
-Yeah, those were crazy days. -What about your husband?
-He retired and bought a taxi. He would drive people
up and down the slum we lived in. How long did it take from the beginning
of testing until the formula was ready? Ten years. When a cousin of mine came to me and said, “Zica, what are you using on your hair?
I want it too!” That sounded like a recognition
for all those years’ effort. That’s ten years
for one single compliment! And you want to quit after one month!
You’re weak! Stop and listen to Nath! RICH TIP FROM NATH People ask me, if their business idea
has never been done before, it means it’s a bad idea, right? Wrong! If you have an idea
that nobody is investing in, you have a greater chance of success. Let’s take Zica as an example. Her problem was that she wanted
to have beautiful curly hair. Was there anybody working
on that problem? No! Instead of thinking that meant
that her idea wouldn’t work, she realized she was the one
that would make it work. Many people told her to give up.
She just ignored them and got rich. THE BEAUTY OF HOME OWNERSHIP For Zica, the test was very simple. If the hair fell out, it didn’t work. If the hair looked good, it worked. It took her ten years to get
the ideal formula for her product. If you own a small business,
what is a good test for you? Now, I’m going to meet Estela. She’s owned a bakery shop
for about three years. She has no idea what a test is. Margarete and I are here
to show it to her. Come on. Hey! What are you rolling up there? Oh, my god, I can’t believe it! -You asked for my help. Here I am.
-I did. ESTELA NASCIMENTO
DONA SAM CONFECTIONARY ANNUAL REVENUE:
6,9871.75 REAIS I was concerned when I saw your income. Me too! There’s a big gap between
what you make and what you spend. Yes. -Can I help you with that?
-Yes, sure. I have an order of 60 brigadeiros. -How much do you charge?
-Eighty reais. What is the average cost
of each brigadeiro? -You don’t know it?
-No. This is something that
should be posted on your wall. Cost, 100, etcetera. How much do you charge for your labor? I don’t know, either. What about costs for electricity and gas? Let’s talk about product testing. Step one, is my product ready?
What is its differential? It is of good quality. -Is that a differential?
-I think so. Quality is just the basics. If you don’t have quality,
you have failed already. Being better is what makes
a product memorable. Three important questions. How will you turn your product
into the best alternative, the first alternative, and,
even better, the only alternative. I know a test that you could perform. Call a customer that you know well, take some brigadeiros
from your competitors, and make a blind test… If the customer can tell which is yours,
you have a good product. If not, you still have more testing to do. There’s a lot to do, and you must
set deadlines and stick to them. A business is like having a child. You may be a little distant,
but you must always look after it. Yes. I just saw it happen with Zica.
She was at the institute arranging the products correctly
by herself. We can’t hang our heads down
while facing daily difficulties. You need to see all that I’m saying
as a motivator for you. Now that you know about this,
you can work on each of these points. The sooner you can do this,
the sooner your dream will come true. -Right?
-Right. It is really good. This brigadeiro consulting
was for free, okay? How did you go from being the only person
who had mastered this process to this complete chain
that we see here today? How did you manage this scaling problem? I was still working as a hairdresser
and a housekeeper, and I had no money. Our only property was my husband’s car. JAIR AND HIS BEETLE The taxi was our source of income. So I said I needed his help,
and he sold the taxi. What did you need the money for? I wanted to open my salon,
but the car was sold for 3,000 reais only. It was not enough,
and I didn’t know what to do. Then who did I go to? Rogério, my brother. One day, she told me
she was ready to open a business, and I told her I was also ready
to invest and work on it. She knew all about hair and I had acquired
some managing experience, so I thought it would be
an amazing partnership. He also brought his friend, Leila,
and they chipped in 1,200 reais. Adding it to the money I had,
we had a total of 4,200 reais now, which was enough to open the salon. When you opened the salon,
did it take off right from the start? Not at all.
We had a very slow first month. It was empty for most of the time. Then Leila came to us and said,
“Take a look, guys. There’s a bus stop
right in front of the salon.” She said we should print
some signs saying, “Tired of hair straightening treatments?
Come to Beleza Natural” Each of us would get on a bus
and discretely put up a sign on the window right behind the bus driver! Then everybody on the bus would see it. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen.
It was so fast! In three months,
there was a huge line outside! Pay attention to Nat’s rich tip number 2! RICH TIP FROM NATH People think they need tons of money
to advertise their business. These people haven’t watched
this wonderful show. When Zica started, she had an intuition, which was later proved by studies. Among the more popular and middle classes, word-of-mouth advertising
is what makes the business move forward. The rich don’t like to share what is good. So, if you have a business or a product, stop blaming the lack of budget
for an advertising campaign because all you need is a good product. Back when Zica started,
WhatsApp didn’t even exist. Now, what is your excuse
for not making your business known? How did you come up with the idea
of transforming what you did on your own into an assembly line
with defined steps for every process and specialists for every area
of the business? When we started it,
Rogério came up with an idea. The fast-food business
is divided into smaller parts, and people are specialized
in what they do. He suggested we did the same. So we began assigning specialists
for each area. One employee dedicated to combing,
another dedicated to haircutting, just like an assembly line. -And is it the same model you have today?
-Yes, the same thing. Calm down.
My mind is blown for talking with Zica! Look how clever this is,
and you say you don’t know where to start. There’s no problem in taking inspiration
from businesses different from yours. You took the assembly-line model
used by McDonald’s and applied it to Beleza Natural
to achieve great success. Today, you’re in a situation
where everything is manageable. Back then, was there a time you thought
it wouldn’t work and you wanted to quit? Not for a moment. We had so much work to do
that we couldn’t think about this. There’s an important subject
that I’d like to address, which is people who are in this business
only for the money. When I say people should endeavor
to change somebody’s life, they think it’s small talk. Was there a moment when you thought
money was more important? We are partners and every penny we get
is invested back in the business. We invest the money to have
a good infrastructure and so that every person can feel
like they can go to a fancy salon, have a fair treatment, and even be
inspired by the growth of our business. That’s what we want to show. We know that if we work hard
and put love into it, money will come. Two things that you need
to start a successful business. A “why” and a “what” that are very strong. RICH TIP FROM NATH For Zica, the “why” was not making money. She wanted to change the life of women and restore women’s self-esteem. Her “what” was the product
that she created. So what will be your “why,”
and what will be your “what”? Zica would stay here forever if she could. Goodbye people, and let’s go! I am feeling richer already
just by coming out of this place. Let’s talk about your mistakes because that can help a lot of people
who are thinking of starting a business. People think that it is always wonderful
and working properly and don’t see the struggle
going on in the background. I remember one episode
that left a great mark on us, where we had to take two steps back
before moving forward. We had opened another salon
on the same street we were already on to be able to make reservations. It didn’t work out, as one salon
was being a competitor to the other. That’s the difference in being persistent
but not stubborn. Not stubborn. You saw that one salon was competing
with the other, and you closed it. It is important for every business person
to look back regularly and understand what is working or not. Some people are ashamed of doing this. I remember
when we were closing that store. People said that it was a sign
the business was dying. And I told them
we were taking two steps back, but we would take three
or four steps forward. That’s when you start seeing
your mistakes as opportunities. According to SEBRAE, the average
earning of a black woman in Brazil is 1,400 per month. That’s half
of white women’s, which is around 2,700, and only 42% of that of white males, who earn 3,300 reais on average. According to this study,
entrepreneurial women have lower financial default rates
than men, but, nevertheless, they get smaller loans and,
believe it or not, with higher interest rates. Does this mean it’s harder
for women to start a business? Yes. And it’s even harder for black women. Does that mean that
we are going to give up on this? Are you going to run to Mommy? Never! You can never give up.
It’s a huge fight to take on. People will say you are not capable,
that you can’t do it. When I was still working as a maid,
I was looking for a chemist who could write the formulas for me
so that I could register the product. I went after my bosses, and they said
that I was not going anywhere, that I was crazy
and should stick to what I knew, which was cooking, washing, and ironing. You hear that,
and you start to question yourself. If you don’t have the will power
to transform this situation, you give in and finally quit. It’s very hard to not have money
or understanding from people to fight all of this. I cry a lot with the stories I hear
from many people, many girls, many old ladies,
people who didn’t have opportunities. And today, they think,
“If she did it, I can do it, too!” When I met Zica, and I saw all the support
she provided to the employees, I knew I could see her as an example,
and it was love at first sight. She did for me what I see her doing
for every customer today. I had a newborn baby, waiting in line, and she would come in and give a kiss
to every customer, real contact, until somebody said she owned the salon,
and I just could not believe it. I started working here in 2005
as a general assistant. I was very shy when I first got here.
I didn’t talk much. Everything I learned here,
I would take it home with me. My son used to tell me that I was prettier and that I was a different person
every day I came home. Still, I was struggling with chauvinist
attitudes from my husband at the time, as he was seeing my transformation
in a company that empowered women, that was making us beautiful
and independent. Then he said I should choose between
Beleza Natural and him. And the answer is right here. To me, this is life. Learning is important
for everyone starting a business, not only for specialized employees
but also for early business managers. Yet many people underestimate that. You must look for knowledge in your area. If it’s not possible, go study something
that is similar to what you want. -Curiosity.
-Yes, curiosity! If you don’t know how to do it,
you have to freaking learn it! You have to fight
and go after the knowledge, talk to people, make your eyes shine
when you talk about your business. Somebody will stop and listen. Will it be hard? It will be very hard.
But you must go ahead and say it. Let’s go talk to these plants
because I want to know how to control myself, as I am very tense. They are always smiling to us.
They are life. We have a moment in our show
when we bring girls inspired by you, and they ask some harrowing questions
that can really stick in our minds. MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL I brought a girl named Antônia
to ask you a question. She is a great fan of yours,
and she has a lot of questions. Did your kids miss you
when you were at work? Antônia, she’s so beautiful! My kids used to miss me a lot,
as I didn’t have time to be with them, and my husband would take care of them. I was fully dedicated to my job, even to fulfill their needs. So I really missed my children back then. Was it hard to overcome all that you did,
being a woman? I don’t think so. Opening a salon
was easy for me, as a woman. The thing is you have to bring in people
who believe in what you’re doing. Have you ever heard anything
from a bank manager, that you would not have credit
for some reason? Some time ago, people from C and D classes
didn’t have access to bank credit. So we went to the bank, literally,
with a bag of money to open an account. It was an event for us. We hopped on a bus,
and as soon as we stepped into the bank, the bank manager, from his table,
asked us to wait. After four hours, we were still waiting. We looked at each other and left,
as we knew that wasn’t going to work. Showing these people that Beleza Natural
had true value was very hard. -Antônia knows her questions.
-She does! Way to go, Antônia! The logic behind a business is simple,
especially for small businesses. If you have no money,
you have to be creative. Here I am, in a sex shop. They sell lingerie, adult toys, etcetera. There’s no use in being
a modern kind of business if you have ancient ideas. I am here with Margarete
to spice up the relationship between Bárbara and the money
that has been missing for so long. Hi. I am looking for a discount on this piece. Come here. You called me because
it looks like you have a situation… ANNUAL REVENUE
46,449.05 REAIS …where you need a little push
to move forward. My business grew at first. ESTABLISHED SINCE 2015 And then my revenue stagnated. I don’t understand. Your income is growing,
but you feel stagnated. Are your customers mostly women? Yes, totally. The concept of the shop is for women
to know themselves and be free. They feel embraced in this environment. Do you think that your communication
reflects that? -Yes, completely.
-What if I don’t agree with it? Really? Oh, no. I haven’t seen any of it. Before we continue,
could you hand me that bell? Every time you get something wrong,
I will ring this bell. I love this. It’s better than sex! -How do these women reach you?
-Mostly through social media. We also use Web influencers
and word-of-mouth advertising. What does your product make people feel? Wanting to know yourself,
passion and randiness. Why is your product perceived
as a solution for this customer base? It is a product that automatically
leads the woman to know herself. Is the adult toy itself
responsible for it? When you understand
the purpose of your brand, you see that it goes beyond toys,
and it helps you focus, which you have not had so far. Moving on to practice.
Showing off the product is a solution? No. Think of how you can reach
several potential customers at once. Events like bachelorette parties,
for example. I don’t advertise it so much because
I would have to work on weekends. -Wait!
-I’m going to grab you by your hair! -Do you really want this to work?
-Yes. If I know the best way to deliver
the true value of my brand, there can be no barriers to it. Saying that it is hard
to work on weekends… If it was easy,
everybody would be doing it already. Yes, it’s true. If this is important to you,
you should live by it and get a deeper sense of what you do
and who your customers are, so you can communicate properly. Now you need a sensual massage. I am going to massage you with Margarete. You have to feel the wealth
going through your pores! Let’s go back in time
to the backyard salon. Now look at the size of this office! When you see all this,
all these people working, what kind of feeling do you have? Sometimes, the emotion is too big,
and I ask myself if it’s real. I am very proud of it. I think that what I learned most
from your story is that your conduct was not guided
by results and success, but rather by taking joy and pride and transforming the lives of women
like you have transformed your life, with passion, discipline, and character. I came here confident that
I would discover some of your knowledge, and now I am leaving wholehearted. Have you taken note of everything
you learned from Zica? Ready? Here it is. Lesson one. If nobody has done it,
it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Zica knew the product had strength
because it was important for her, and it would be important for women
in her neighborhood also. Will your idea also be important
to somebody else? You will only know if you ask. Lesson two. Surround yourself
with rocket people. These are the ones who will encourage you
but also give you a real feedback. You should also eliminate
anchor people from your life. They will tell you it won’t work. You should cut out these people
from your Christmas list. Lesson three. If you have no money,
you have to be creative. Creativity only comes for those
who get off their seats, read the context,
and act on what needs to be done with no fear of the consequences. Lesson four. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake
and learn from it. Just like Zica did.
If the VIP salon is not working, move on to the next option. Be persistent, not stubborn. Make mistakes,
learn, and adjust your trajectory. Be persistent, not stubborn. Do I sound redundant? With
stubborn people, this is the only way. Lesson five. Understand how to
make money in your sector. Zica looked for inspiration
in industry assembly lines and fast-food chains
to replicate them in her business. In your case, is there a business model
better suited to your “why”? So are you ready to be called crazy? Get ready! From now on, this will be it. I came to transform the lives of people, to bring them joy
so that they can be respected because many of them had to take care
of their hair to be respected. Thank you very much. You are wonderful. Thank you.