Local entrepreneur Petar Savic talks to some of the start-ups and small businesses running from Primrose Hill. This month he meets Jasmin Thomas Ohana.
How did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
I always knew I wanted to have a job that was truly aligned with my most authentic self, and that is hard to find when working for someone else, so after years of trying to work for other people, it was the only option for me. After I was diagnosed with MS I felt that it’s now or never, so I took the leap. I was more consumed with excitement than nerves.
Do you notice a lack of women in your industry, and how do you respond?
My industry is to do with health, so it’s surprising that there is a lack of women, especially as the industry grows. Sometimes I’ll be at an event and notice it’s maybe 5% women. This motived Jessica Steinberg and I to start entOURage Network, a platform to engage and empower women within the legal cannabis industry. Being such a nascent industry, it’s very important for women to be at the forefront in the early stages to exploit the opportunity for entrepreneurship that’s available.
What have you sacrificed at each stage of your career?
The biggest sacrifice was my stable salary ? which I miss less and less each month as I’m rewarded in so many other ways: through learning, job satisfaction and happiness. It feels as if it’s more of a lifestyle than a job now, as it certainly isn’t 9?5.
What does it take mentally and emotionally to start your own business?
It takes a lot of mental and emotional strength. I don’t think entrepreneurship comes with a big enough warning sign of just how hard it will be. You need to adapt your lifestyle, your time dedicated to friends and family, and accept the failures and learning from it with unquestionable dedication. But it’s been amazing, because I’ve learned more than I could ever have elsewhere and really broadened my skill set into areas I didn’t even know I would be passionate about.
What has helped you get to where you are?
My experience in my previous sales role has helped me immensely: I was familiar with pitch decks, financial models, networking, business development, KPIs, heavy targets and the sense of taking ownership for your business. All that has definitely helped me, but I also think my personality has played a big part: I’m persistent, I’ve always loved turning a no into a yes, and I also see nothing as impossible.
What fears did you have about entering the grey market area of CBD (Cannabidiol) and its links to cannabis?
There were not many fears for me; cannabis has been an open topic of conversation in my family thanks to my Grandad’s faith and his roots in Rastafari. So we have always been aware of its medical benefits and anecdotal claims. The CBD market is grey, but with more lawyers now entering the space, the regulations are becoming clearer, putting fears at bay.
How can we make it more known that cannabis is an industry option for women?
We try to do that through the entOURage Network that I mentioned earlier. This is a passion project and our main focus is to spread the word that this is a growing industry that provides great entrepreneur options for female founders. Globally it is one of the only billion-dollar industries where 10% of women in the industry sit at C-suite levels or above. You can find out more on Instagram at @entouragenetworkldn
What practical advice you would give to someone starting out?
Networking is key: go to every event you can and study every element of what your business needs. You need to know your subject matter and industry, but also marketing, PR, digital, e-commerce and standard profit margins. Having an understanding of what makes a business successful helps with your business plan, rather than trusting estimates, which are especially hard in a new industry like CBD.
What are you working on at the moment?
It’s more a case of what aren’t we working on at the moment! We’re doing a rebrand, creating lots of educational content through blogs, podcasts and videos. We are also working with a really great formulation scientist for our launch in January of some great functional CBD skincare products.
What is your relationship with Primrose Hill?
It’s home, my first home; it’s some of my best memories; it’s where I met my oldest and dearest friend in primary school; it’s my favourite place in London.
What do you like most about Primrose Hill?
Of course the view: the calm it creates for me is magic. When I want to escape the feeling of living and working in central London, I’ll go to the top of Primrose Hill for a moment of calm. Everything is forgotten with such a beautiful view. “I have conversed with the spiritual sun; I saw him on Primrose Hill” is one of my favourite quotes.