Like A Boss : Randa Salloum

We sat down with Randa Salloum, founder of Archive and CIEL Creative Marketing. She’s the Randa behind RandaSalloum.com and uses her platform to educate and inspire people on the benefits and effects of sustainable lifestyles in fashion and design. She’s a #Boss after our own heart - down to earth, tenacious, and purpose driven. A founder twice over, she’s lived the lessons our readers want to hear. Read on, Beaconites, read on.

So, Randa tell us a little bit about yourself?

I was born and raised in Vancouver. My parents are immigrants from the Middle East. They themselves were business owners which is where I got the tenacity to do what I do. I’ve been self-employed for 11 years where I’ve done a lot of different jobs from full-time artist to blogger to personal shopper to production manager to visual merchandising -- it’s been great. I had my chance to work for a large company but I always had such valuable experiences in smaller companies. I found I was happiest when I could help a business grow.

I like what you said about recognizing when you’re happiest, tell us more about that.

“I am happiest when I am empowering, connecting other people. Probably my biggest strength connecting people with not only things they need but with other people.”

You are now the owner of CIEL Creative, what inspired you along the way?

I was watching the docu-series on Netflix called Abstract the Art of Design, it’s basically Chef’s Table but for people. One episode there was a woman named Paula Scher who ran a graphic design studio and I saw what she did and I was so inspired by her. The message that resonated with me was that they were not alone, they were leading with a team behind them.

A year later, I envisioned myself doing pop-up shops, workshops, but I needed an umbrella company to drive things. I decide things really fast;  I am a problem - solution - action person. I move quickly.

Next thing I spent three hours working on the name. I kept coming back to ‘ciel’ which meant heaven or sky; my interpretation is sky’s the limit. Once I had that I made an Instagram account, made a website, and that’s how it started.

I’m assuming being the owner of a creative agency wasn’t what you were thinking of being as a child. So, what was your dream job as a child?

Being my own boss meant having authority (which I wanted) so I wanted to be a psychologist or  lawyer. After that that passed and once I was out of high school I realized I wanted to be in fashion. The idea at that time was to be a fashion show producer or an editor for a fashion magazine. I wanted to be an editor for Elle.

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Rapid Fire Q’s

What is your spirit animal? A cat.

What gets you up in the morning? My cats, the fact that I get to do what I want to do and I get to live my life the way I want to.

What are you most grateful for in this moment? Being able to do what I do.

What is the best way women can support one another? Just share everything that everyone is doing. If there is someone you look up to, women who have businesses, friends that are celebrating is just to share. We don’t share enough.

What 3 things do you always pack when you travel? My camera, snacks, a book that I write notes in so I don’t miss a good idea.

How do you practice self-care? Taking time for me; I don’t wake up in the morning and just start working. I take the time to do the things that I need to do whether it’s cleaning the kitchen or going to yoga, or having a cup of tea.

What’s the last new thing you learned? How to start a corporation. It was easier than anticipated.

What does success mean to you? Being happy with what you do.

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What is one key leadership lesson you have learned over the years?

“That not every leader is a manager and not every manager is a leader.

I hold leadership qualities but I do not hold the skill strengths of a leader. I thought they went hand-in-hand but they are actually two completely separate people. You can learn to lead but innately you are one or the other.”

What is one piece of advice you would give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?

To not be afraid to ask for help. Just ask for help because someone will have the answer and if someone doesn’t have the answer right away there are five other people that have the same question.

The other thing is to do things with purpose and at the same time pushing the envelope, doing things a little differently. When you do something with purpose and intent and strive to stand out of the crowd you’ll get noticed.

After all of the success so far in your life, what is the one thing you still find yourself struggling with?

Getting people to understand what I stand for. I can tell people what I do until the cows come home but to have people understand and appreciate it enough to want it, that is the struggle. I’m constantly refining the way I articulate my value but what I am learning is that a lot of what I do needs to be felt first. Talking about it doesn’t get me as far as letting people experience it.

How do you achieve work/life balance in your life?

I didn’t always prioritize balance. Now I make sure that I have time for myself and I restrict my working hours between nine to five or six. I set my boundaries and I don’t respond to messages if it can wait -- usually it can. I hate the quote, “I work 80 hours for myself so I don’t have to work 40 hours for someone else.” I have learned to be organized, to plan effectively, and to delegate.

Any final thoughts you would like to share with our readers?

“If you want go fast go alone, if you want to go far go together.”

Nicole Davidson