Jen Atkin Reddit Q&A: How the OUAI founder grew her business

Oct 12 2021 | Jen Atkin

For any small business, it can be difficult to succeed. With ongoing challenges and obstacles to overcome, there are many factors that go into growing your business.
To help business owners succeed, Jen Atkin, founder of, and influential celebrity hairstylist, answered some questions on Reddit in partnership with PayPalRead on as she discusses her journey into starting her hair, body, and fragrance business, and the process that went into making OUAI what it is today.  
What is one thing that you wish you knew before starting your business?  
That work grind is not something to aspire to and it’s okay to take weekends and holidays off and do things outside of work that fulfill your soul. Taking that time will make you more focused, productive and HAPPY at work, as well as a more patient and empathetic leader, so it’s a win-win! 
What habits and mindsets helped you become successful?  
Trusting myself, asking for help when I needed to, and trying to find ways of creating products and platforms that help people, rather than approaching my business from a purely ‘How do I make more money?’ perspective. And always saying please and thank you! 
How did you gain a following/customer base for your business when you were first starting out?   
Sharing the process of building my business in an authentic manner on social media really helped - showing the good, bad, and the ugly. When people can really connect with the brand’s story and interact with it, they feel like they had a part in its success. Also, instead of telling my followers what they need, I ask them. 
What is the most important part about marketing? Social media, growing your brand, or interacting directly with customers?  
They are all equally important! Having a modern and relatable voice will help you build an active and engaged community, which in turn will earn trust and help grow your brand. You can’t make a product that people don’t want - so ask a lot of questions. 
Reaching out and connecting with consumers can be challenging for many business owners, especially through social platforms and online marketplaces. Watch our Business Bootcamp on the topic to hear fellow business owners share their expertise on how to help stand out online.  
How do you build a brand that will attract new customers and make them trust you enough to make a purchase?  
So many brands tell the customers what they think the customer wants. We flipped that – our community tells us what they want, they’re really at the center of everything we create. We lead by asking, not telling - this has helped build trust with our customers. We ask for feedback and encourage communication; a lot of trust comes from our customers knowing they can be honest with us and ask the questions they need answered in order to decide if/what they want to purchase. Of course, a secure checkout is important as well – which is why PayPal is so great. 
More than 360 million active users are using PayPal, making it one of the most recognized and trusted payment service providers worldwide. With PayPal, customers get the freedom to pay how they want from around the globe, allowing businesses to expand and help satisfy commerce needs with secure and efficient checkouts. 
How long did it take to go from concept to product for OUAI? What was your biggest hurdle? Did you have to make any sacrifices to concept to make it happen?  
I had the idea for OUAI for a long time but once I got seriously down to business, I’d say about two years. I think any entrepreneur must make sacrifices to start their brand - for me I lost a lot of weekends in the beginning because of traveling for meetings or appearances. You also have to let go of the idea that you can be involved in every decision. Even though it all feels so precious as your brand, that’s why you hire talented people that you can trust to make calls for you knowing that you can’t be everywhere all the time. And of course, I’m still making sacrifices to concepts because sometimes the rendering isn’t just possible to create in real life. 
PayPal offers solutions to modern-day entrepreneurs like Jen Atkin to help build a strong brand today and resilience for the future. Visit our business page for more information and guidance on PayPal available products to help address your business needs. 
The content of this article is provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent business, tax, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

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