Leila Kashani Manshoory, founder of Alleyoop, poses while sitting on boxes.
Leila Kashani Manshoory, founder of Alleyoop, encourages other entrepreneurs to conquer their fear of speaking up, sharing their ideas and asking for feedback. — Alleyoop

Anyone is capable of coming up with a great business idea. Sometimes, though, the fear of sharing that idea stops a potentially successful startup from ever coming to fruition.

That’s why Leila Kashani Manshoory, founder of Alleyoop, encourages other entrepreneurs to conquer that fear and talk openly about their business concept, even if it’s not fully fleshed out yet.

Don't be afraid to ‘leak’ your idea when asking questions or advice from others,” Kashani Manshoory said. “When you're so scared of people taking your idea or concerned about what others might think of your idea, [you hold] yourself back from growing.”

A brand born out of everyday frustrations

Multistep makeup and skincare routines have become fodder for countless social media posts and instructional YouTube videos. For Kashani Manshoory, this regimen simply wasn’t possible to maintain.

“[Those routines] might work for people who are beauty pros or fanatics,” Kashani Manshoory explained, “but for the everyday person. That just doesn't make sense.”

Kashani Manshoory describes Alleyoop as a “beauty brand on a mission to simplify your world — beginning with your makeup bag.” She says the idea for Alleyoop came to her when she was constantly traveling for work and essentially living out of a suitcase.

“I realized how inefficient my makeup, skincare and body products were — not just while traveling, but also for my everyday life,” she explained. “This is how our first product was created, which was a 4-in-1 razor. We've made many multifunctional and efficient products since then, and this is just the beginning!”

We love exploring new product ideas with [customers] and seeing how far we can push the envelope together on innovation.

Leila Kashani Manshoory, founder of Alleyoop

Alleyoop’s vegan, cruelty-free products are meant to save consumers time, money and storage space in their everyday beauty routine. As the company has grown, they’ve turned to their customers to share their input on products as “co-creators”of the brand.

Giving consumers a voice helps to grow their investment in the brand and helps Alleyoop make necessary changes to products based on feedback, said Kashani Manshoory.

“The key to this community's success lies in the motivations of the people who've joined it,” she told CO—. “Our co-creators are just super excited to be involved, and their enthusiasm for helping the brand grow is infectious. We love exploring new product ideas with [customers] and seeing how far we can push the envelope together on innovation.”

[Read More: 10 Small Business Ideas For Beauty Entrepreneurs]

Know when to step back and recharge

Despite her success, Kashani Manshoory faces many day-to-day challenges as an entrepreneur.

“When you're an entrepreneur leading a growing team, you get pulled in a lot of different directions and meetings,” Kashani Manshoory explained. “Jumping from topic to topic can be hard while also trying to stay focused on key initiatives.”

To make sure she stays on task and has enough time to recharge, Kashani Manshoory always makes time to check in with herself.

“You have a never-ending checklist of things that need to get done,” Kashani Manshoory said. “You have to remember to be protective of your time and have the self-awareness to regularly assess if you're spending your limited time on the most impactful initiatives for the business.”

[Read More: ‘Be Patient and Ask for Help’: Continual Growth Is Key in Business]

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CO— is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Published March 01, 2022