Almaz Andezion

“My mum showed me at a very young age what self-employment looked like"

Almaz recalls her mother busily operating her successful home-based beer brewery as a child. People loved the local, Eritrean beverage and the income helped her mother to better support her family during the difficult war days.

However, once the conflict escalated, the family had little choice but to flee so Almaz’s mother took her and her four siblings to Germany, leaving behind the brewery and everything else they’d known.

“My mum showed me at a very young age what self-employment looked like – being responsible but also experiencing self-fulfilment. Back then I already knew that someday I also wanted to start my own company.”

After arriving in Germany, the family settled in. “Today I consider myself as fully integrated. I finished school, went to university and worked in big companies in the product management – I always felt very thankful for the life in Germany and all the opportunities and privileges that came along with it”, says Almaz.

Still searching for her entrepreneurial calling, when she started to have strong allergic reactions to cosmetics she’d used for years she began to investigate. Her doctor told her that she was allergic to particular ingredients.

Teaming up with a chemist she experimented with different organic ingredients to create natural creams that are free from chemicals and help skin deal with the pressures of urban life, such as pollution and blue light from phone and computer screens.

After giving her new products to friends, they started to grow in popularity and Almaz soon obtained official certifications to start selling the products. Her business – Before and After (BNA) Cosmetics – was born.

The first steps of becoming self-employed were sometimes difficult and she needed to be flexible and adapt to new changes. “In the beginning it was hard to find local production sites that would produce in smaller quantities but still do it for a reasonable price. I talked to many companies and manufactures until I found the right partner”.

Almaz felt it was important that her new business should have a social impact, as well as commercial. The young founder decided to include people with disabilities in her production chain. Most of the BNA Cosmetics packaging are now manufactured by local disabled employment organisations (Behindertenwerkstätten).

One of the most rewarding things for Almaz about being an entrepreneur is to take her own decisions and to be so close to her customers. She values their opinion and is constantly improving her products.

“If you want to realise your idea you need a lot of perseverance and a positive mindset. Distance yourself from people who want to discourage you and ask people for help. Being self-employed means that you will learn something new every day and be in power to take decisions. Furthermore, it is a process that takes time, persistence and continued efforts to reach your goals.”

This website is part of the project Network for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Scale Up and Grow — EMEN-UP (no. 764398) which has received funding from the European Union’s COSME Programme (2014-2020)

The Network for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Scale Up and Grow

This website is part of the project Network for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Scale Up and Grow — EMEN-UP (no. 764398) which has received funding from the European Union’s COSME Programme (2014-2020)

The Network for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Scale Up and Grow

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