Why Help Others Make A Million When I have Ability To Do It Myself?
Saira Khan on how Alan Sugar inspired her range of baby skincare products
She was the original feisty Apprentice that took Sir Alan Sugar by surprise. After turning down a job offer from the multimillionaire business man, Saira Khan decided to take a risk and go it alone, “being a child of immigrant parents, it’s in my blood to take a risk. Why help others to make a million when I have the skills and ability to do it myself?”
The local Chiswick resident who lives in Strand on The Green has come along way since she appeared on the BBC’s hit show The Apprentice 5 years ago, “there’s no doubt it changed my life, but experience has shown me that you have to create your own opportunities to make your dreams come true. I realised that Sir Alan, whilst, offering me a fantastic salary wouldn’t be able to give me what I really wanted - to be my own boss!”
At 38 Khan has carved a successful media career; she has her own BBC1 children’s business show “Beat the Boss” now in its 4th series, is a regular reporter for The Money Programme and has filmed various documentaries for BBC2. She’ll be appearing on Celebrity Masterchef this year and is currently in discussions with the BBC about hosting her own primetime business show.
Alongside her TV presenting roles she also manages to run her own business, a range of chemical free baby skincare products called miamoo that she launched in 2006. “I always wanted to have my own business and create my own brand. I have learnt more about business in the last 4 years than I ever did working for someone else. I created miamoo, sourced my manufacturer and packaging designers and got my products listed in some of Britain’s top retail outlets like John Lewis, Waitrose and Boots.com. It really annoys me when I see people on The Apprentice who have never run their own company and think they’re an expert on business just because they carried out a few tasks on a TV programme!”
Khan explains the reasons why she set up miamoo . “I suffered with dry skin as a child and over the years have done a lot of research into the ingredients that I believe dry out and irritate delicate skin. It was a natural next step for me to then develop my own range of skincare products that don’t contain any of the nasty chemicals commonly found in high street skincare brands. Children have delicate skin and it should be protected by using gentle, natural, caring products – I am passionate about protecting children from getting dry skin because I know what it’s like to have itchy, inflamed and bleeding skin – it used to get me really down and I couldn’t always wear the clothes I wanted which knocked my confidence. I just don’t want others to go through what I did.
"That’s why I want parents to really think about the products they’re putting on their children. The majority of parents are unaware of harsh ingredients and many brands mislead parents into thinking that their products are natural and gentle when in fact they’re not. Miamoo doesn’t contain any Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Paraben preservatives, Petrochemicals, synthetic colours or fragrance. I want children to feel confident in their own skin!”
Khan is delighted to get her brand on the shelves of her local supermarket. “My proudest moment has to be getting the product listed in my local Waitrose store in Chiswick – it’s so rewarding to see your brand on the shelf and people picking it up and saying, “oh that’s nice” and then putting it in their basket to buy! In the last five years I have been working 16 hour days to get my business up and running - it’s the hardest thing I have ever done, but I love it and I wouldn’t ever go back and work for someone else – the satisfaction I get from waking up and genuinely looking forward to working is indescribable. I never felt like that when I worked for corporations”.
If that was not all, Khan gave birth to her first baby Zachariah who was born on 18th April 2008. “He is certainly my proudest achievement, but he’s a lot less hard work than running my business”
When asked about the difficult economic climate, Khan states, “I know that the next few years will be difficult for anyone in business, but I am not pessimistic, I believe in hard work, honesty and always putting my customers first – that’s what will see me through! I like to roll my sleeves up and get the job done, that’s what helped me to get to the final of The Apprentice. I am a confident and positive person, as most self employed people have to be!!
Saira’s baby skincare products will be available in Waitrose Chiswick later this month and can also be purchased online.