Jasmine Naziri hails from a mixed ethnic background which always allowed her to stay open-minded and instilled a constant curiosity and appreciation to learn as much as possible about different cultures, which is where the love and passion for travel came about.
Naziri has been fortunate to travel throughout her life, a lot of this started from professional modeling. She was scouted in Los Angeles to model at the age of 14 and had the excitement and adrenaline rush of working in the modeling industry for 8 years which had its ups and downs but was an incredible learning experience and was a good percentage of what has molded her as a person today. She learned at a young age in the industry all about business and what it took to be a good businesswoman. Her father and family are brilliant at starting their own businesses and becoming successful entrepreneurs, and that was her foundation.
Being immersed in the modeling industry at a young age teaches the importance and the power of self-branding and marketing overall. It was at a young age that her greater passion was not posing in front of the camera but operating business and promotion along with all evolving elements of marketing. she went from interning in Marketing at Paramount Pictures to marketing for PBS Television then deciding she had the tools to start her own modeling agency. From there she went on to graduate school to sharpen her skills more so and came back working for a dream job in the beauty industry as head of business development and marketing.
Jasmine will always have an entrepreneurial streak in her, so it has been a lot of work but an absolute joy to start her new business venture with her business partner and focus on empowering women all around the world with quality workout pieces that not only look good but are crafted for comfort. FlexUp USA is a brand that stands for women’s strength in every aspect.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Jasmine to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:
When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?
Instantly once I started modeling at age 14, I had to learn how to promote myself and build a portfolio, negotiate with businesses and brands on a daily basis, network constantly, etc. I was eager to finesse these skills on a larger scale and learn from my family members that had been excelling in the field. I love creating, I love owning my creation and I love all the hard work that goes into it, the rewards afterward are the most fulfilling part.
What did your life look like before being an entrepreneur?
Working for someone else definitely provides the right tools for you to set yourself up for success prior to starting your business. Yes, working 9 to 5 jobs plus overtime can be mundane but the experience of hands-on learning (outside of schooling teachings), rolling up your sleeves, making mistakes, learning from them, and growing is the most essential part. I had to work several corporate jobs which I still enjoyed the experience, but nothing beats working for yourself and creating the guidelines, product, or service as you see fit, then onboarding talent you feel strongly about – you’re nothing without an incredible team to help elevate what you’ve already started.
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
Innovating, Creating, Learning, Building, and of course, making revenue off of the many months or possibly years of planning, preparing, researching, and implementing.
In one word, describe your journey in the industry and explain why.
I am committed to always studying my craft. To me, it’s lifelong learning that separates those who will continue to rise in their fields from those who are content to just float along.
Successful CEOs know they have to keep learning to stay fresh, whether it’s a new management technique or an industry pivot. No matter what stage of your career, having that thirst to keep learning – looking for more inspiration, more knowledge, more mastery – will be pivotal in your success. Almost all industries adapt in some way, meaning you need to as well. Constantly researching and staying up to date with the trends and doing my best to keep up with the everlasting changes is something I live for! Most importantly, no matter how successful you may become, always stay humble.
Can you tell us more about your new startup FlexupUSA?
FlexupUSA is an online fitness apparel and accessories brand based in Los Angeles, California. It was established in July 2021 by two female entrepreneurs with a fashion background. At the forefront of fitness design, FlexupUSA designs are all pieces with quality materials made for comfort, which cater to women of all shapes and sizes. FlexupUSA has gained popularity because of its performance-enhancing clothing and its innovative approach to product design. Its goal is to not just provide fashionable, comfortable fitness apparel, but a community of women who support one another. FlexupUSA’s online channels provide bi-weekly tips on healthy living through exercise and meditation guides. At last count, FlexupUSA has had over 200,000 social followers since launching and has consistently gained in popularity, particularly within the Southern California region.
What were your top three motivations for starting this business?
– Pursue your passion.
– Control your own schedule and lifestyle.
– Create and innovate from scratch.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
Be Passionate and Particular
If you think starting a small business would merely be “a nice thing to do,” or something that you simply want to try, you probably aren’t dedicated enough to ensure your success at it. Being fully committed and devoted while believing in your product, service, and business model is a must!
You should carefully consider a broad range of factors before committing to starting a particular business. Factors such as the state of the market, market segments, the competition, your strengths and weaknesses, and available opportunities are all elements that need careful planning. These are all factors that venture capitalists demand are solidly researched and carefully evaluated before they consider investing even a nickel in a startup.
I view having a great business plan as one of the most critical factors when determining your likelihood of business success. Much of the work that goes into a solid business plan you should already have conducted even before deciding on your area of business. This is vital for every
business no matter what industry you are in.
Knowing your target market and how to target them is equally as important to what you are selling, they go hand in hand. Knowing what makes you stand out from the competition and capitalizing on that is extremely important.
Marketing, Marketing, Marketing!
Your mindset and approach to marketing will also greatly impact your chances of business success. You don’t need a Madison Avenue background to create a powerful marketing program, but you’ve got to give it some deep thought and probably try a lot of different
approaches. It’s hard, but you can do it.
You want to strike a balance between carefully developing well-thought-out marketing plans and also being flexible enough to quickly change them. Basically, it means to succeed at marketing you need to give a lot of thought and effort to carefully trying many different approaches.
What are the three biggest challenges you have faced in the modelling industry and how did you overcome them?
Inconsistency, inferiority complex, and overworked!
I say inconsistency because at times there is no real financial stability. Like any avenue within the field of entertainment, you get paid when you’re casted for a gig. Who knows when to say one will be hired for a project at a constant frequency that one can make a living off of. Don’t solely focus on modeling, keep your options open and make sure you are physically, emotionally, and most important, mentally healthy when working and going on castings.
Inferiority complex: Agencies have specific standards and if you don’t fit “their mold” you instantly know it. You’ll feel and be pressured to lose weight and fit sample pieces. Times have definitely changed for the better promoting positivity compared to 10 to 12 years ago when I used to model professionally. However, when I was immersed in the industry I would practice gaining a thick skin and not taking ANYTHING personally. I also learned to find my uniqueness and appreciate and love myself the way I was and am.
Overworked: Times when you do get that “dream” gig, some projects can run over 12 hours and in hindsight, you’re really underpaid. I learned this one through experience simultaneously while building my modeling resume. I overcame this by learning my value and worth and making sure I’d never put myself in an abusive, overworked situation again.
What would you still like to attempt in your career?
The sky’s the limit, I always want to do more and try more! I’d love to use my marketing skills towards major fashion publications such as Harper’s Bazaar or Vogue. This would be taking my two loves of fashion and marketing and morphing them together.
What advice would you give to those hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Believe in what you create and put your whole heart into it. Never be afraid of failure because risk is always involved when being vulnerable and pushing a project you believe in while working your hardest to get others to understand your vision. Failures are natural and what you learn from, don’t ever let a small failure clip your confidence. The secret is letting go of the past disappointment, focusing on the next big thing to spur your business, and staying hungry!
Networking is key! There is a common saying “your network is your net worth’, this statement is 100% accurate. You will quickly learn good contacts that believe in your product or service and want to be on your team will take you a long day, and doors will continue to open for you. This doesn’t just increase your confidence level but allows you to conquer new ideas and take advantage of new opportunities by referrals, etc. If you do not naturally have a “friend of a friend” that can easily get you to where you’d like to be, some great ways to expand your network is by attending online webinars and live seminars to meet like-minded individuals.
Photographed by: Arash Tebbi
Hairstylist: Stephanie Vallejo