Entrepreneur Spotlight

Published on November 6th, 2012 | by thevyne


Entrepreneur Spotlight: Zuhairah Scott Washington

Name:  Zuhairah Scott Washington
Twitter Handle: @zuhairah
Hometown: Born in Newark, NJ, raised in Los Angeles, CA
Roles you play in life: Entrepreneur,Wife, Mother,Daughter, Sister, Friend
Education: UCLA, BA in Political Science, Harvard JD/MBA
Business ventures: www.kahnoodle.com and www.thebdgclub.com (non-profit)
Tell us about your journey as an entrepreneur. What led you to strike out on your own?
I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I think however, when you get lots of education it is assumed that you will go and work for someone rather than start your own company. I worked in private equity for a few years and would consistently interact with entrepreneurs.  I soon realized that I wanted to be on the other side of the table, creating something I was passionate about versus just funding businesses that I thought were sound investments. I remember seeing Luther live a few years earlier and seeing how effortless it was for him to get up and perform and how much he genuinely loved every moment of it.  I wanted my work to feel like that.   It was not an easy transition to make. When you work for someone else, what you have to do on a daily basis is really clear.  When you work for yourself you have to set your own agenda, define your own goals and metrics. Having a community is key.

Tell us about your business: Kahnoodle is focused on helping busy couples win at love.  In our work obsessed culture, we thought it was important to create tools that made it easier for couples to prioritize their love lives.  Our first product is a mobile app that allows couples to create a private relationship journal and receive tips and reminders on little things they can do to shake up their relationship routine and show their partner love in the way that matters most to them.

Our second product, Kahnoodle Concierge is currently in private beta. It is a date night concierge service we’ll be launching publicly in the next few months. Research shows that partners who spend couple time at least once a week are 3.5x more likely to be “very happy” in their relationships than couples who don’t.  We know that busy couples want to go out on more dates but often don’t have the time or energy to plan meaningful experiences.  Kahnoodle Concierge helps remedy this problem by working with couples to create bespoke date night experiences.  Couples can choose from monthly subscription packages that allow them to create surprise dates for their partner or something for them both.  You tell us what you like and we handle all the administrative details.  All you have to do is show up and enjoy.

Note: Vyne readers can get early access to Kahnoodle Concierge service here!

What is one of the biggest lessons you have learned from being an entrepreneur? I learn something big every day.  One recent lesson is that entrepreneurship is an apprenticeship business. It’s not about being the smartest in the room, it is about learning from others, being hungry yet humble and leveraging all the resources around you. I think as women of color this can be a hard lesson to learn as many of us are taught to be “independent women” — there is a huge value placed on being able to stand on your own. But being an entrepreneur requires a village, a community.  The more you can tap into a broader network, the more successful you will be.  You will be able to learn lessons without experiencing them first hand for yourself.

What advice would you give someone thinking about starting her own business? Do it now! But also, do it smart. Try cheap, low risk experiments first to test if your business has legs.  Don’t think you need to spend a lot of money to get started. There are so many low cost tools out there. Take advantage of them and get going.  One practical tool is www.launchrock.com. It allows you to create a landing page for your business in minutes to test out your concept.  Also, I would advise that you have at least one year of savings to cover your expenses (if possible) OR start developing a side gig that you can do to earn money while you are launching your business.

What is the most gratifying thing about being a business owner? Being in control of my own destiny.

What is the most challenging thing about being a business owner? Being in control of my own destiny.  🙂

3 words that describe you: Living On Purpose.

Favorite travel destination: Barcelona, Spain. I want to retire here I love it so much. The people, the food, the culture, the beaches, the festivals.  My husband and I were fortunate enough to live here for a few months a few years back and it remains one of my favorite places in the world.

Favorite beauty product: I keep it simple. I would say my Mac blush in Format. Gives me just the pop I need to look fresh.

“To feel more centered I…”: Spend time with my son.  He is seeing everything for the first time in life and it is so beautiful to watch.

One item you cannot live without: My phone.

Who have been some of your style inspirations?: Solange as of late. Really love her style.

Words you live by: “When people show you who they are, believe them.” – Maya Angelou

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