Interview with Daniella Shapiro

I was super excited to do this collaboration with Daniella Shapiro – probably one of the hardest working people on this planet! She’s a quadruple threat, quite literally. Venturing in content creation, marketing strategies, e-commerce, beauty and lifestyle and fitness. You’ll certainly be blown away by this lady’s commitment and passion! You’ll want to grab a pen and paper for this one because there will be some valuable information for you all!

Your website is such an incredible page filled with valuable information and services. How did this entire online establishment begin and what made you pursue it in the first place?

Thank you so much! The journey has not been an easy one and every day brings a new challenge but it’s worth it!

I always had an entrepreneurial mind-set from a very young age. I was always driven to succeed, and achieve. During my Honours year in Brand Leadership I had to complete an internship at a company. Since I always had a passion for different brands falling under the umbrella of a successful company, I decided that L’Oreal was where I could gain value and experience. It was a 3 week internship and from the moment I arrived I was excited, enthusiastic and ready to get my hands dirty.

However, what I did learn and know now for sure was that I am definitely not a corporate girl. I was not cut out for an environment of sucking up to the boss, taking instructions and reporting to countless divisions in an 8-5 environment. Worst of all, I would have to slog away to climb the company ladder which could take 10 years to get to the next rank and make my boss a billionaire. No, this was definitely not me.

I like to make my own rules, think outside of the box and make big things happen no matter what it takes. My three weeks at L’Oreal ended with the board of directors offering me an immediate position without even having to go through the regular interview process, but I knew immediately that this was not my calling.

It was at this moment that I had a huge revelation; I needed to build my own empire and disrupt the market space.

As the landscape evolves, so too does consumer expectations. The way people engage with brands is changing and there is an increasing demand for personal experiences so what should be the big focus points for marketing going forward is what I needed to figure out.

Rapid times require rapid change, and as we go careening into the future, there’s only one certainty – we’re in for a lot more change. That’s why it’s a great time to adopt some resolutions that will get you out of a complacency-funk and into an innovation mind-set – one word DISRUPTION.

I knew to be successful I had to make decisions and fast. I knew I didn’t want to be someone who asks “what happened?” — I had to make things happen. Far too many people have forgotten how to analyse information and move forward based on what they see. Worse yet, the idea of making a gut-feeling decision and taking a risk seems to have disappeared with the culture of compliance that surrounds us. I knew the world wouldn’t wait for me to make a decision – it would simply move on. So I had to do something — I knew it would make me feel good, and help me to get ahead of those who were still wallowing in their attitude of aggressive indecision. I was never one of those people.

At the end of the day I wanted to be a world class innovator and I knew that disruption was the only way to change expectations of customers.

For entrepreneurs, the hardest part isn’t necessarily creating the idea. In fact, the hardest part is getting your idea noticed in a cluttered market. No matter the category, the competition is fierce, and it’s getting harder and harder to rise above the noise with traditional branding and marketing tactics.

My business journey started while I was thinking about my passion for sport and running in particular.

One morning in January 2011, I was sitting at my laptop doing research and I was looking for the next half marathon I wanted to run. I immediately had an Idea, I wanted to create a sporting event and own it. But this event was going to be different, unique and never done before.

In January 2009 I bought over, rebranded, metamorphosized  and re-created the City2City ultra marathon (Pretoria to Johannesburg) Heritage Race. This is an annual event. We had over 10, 000 race entries in 2012.

Due to getting involved with the wrong partners, I decided to do a share buy back and use the money I made from the business to bootstrap my own marketing company. After testing and trying out lots of different ideas of what worked and what didn’t and making sure we were providing a platform which keeps up with the latest digital and content marketing – we finally launched breakthrough blurbIT™ platform content creator.  This platform is constantly innovating new ways of pioneering brand communications and creatively formed connections.  The blurbIT™ platform creates original, unique, highly researched content, direct to your inbox.

In addition, we recently launched The Oolala Collection Club, an E-commerce platform, which fuses high-end luxury beauty and lifestyle brands with affordability and accessibility.

It’s all about having beauty and brains.

The Oolala Collection Club #TOCC, ships high quality sexy fragrances, beauty products and essential lifestyle brands direct to your doorstep – for a fraction of the price.

Our products are created for our members, both men and women, who care as much about their wallet as their image.

Your track record is amazing. How did you gain initial exposure and create an online presence?

I previously owned and organised the Bonita’s City2City Marathon for 3 years. Previously, a Co- Host on CliffCentral & contributor to PowerFM, I have been featured on CNBC Africa, in Destiny Magazine’s top 40 successful business women of the year 2015, in Entrepreneur Magazine and, am currently a regular expert contributor to the Entrepreneur Magazine Online platform. My marketing  experience, credibility  and great PR helped add value to building my online brand presence.

What were you doing before all this digital excitement entered your life – in regards to study/previous work?

I studied a BA in Marketing communications followed by an honors degree in brand leadership.

What tips do you have for entrepreneurs who are struggling to make themselves known?

Wake up at 4 AM every morning

This gives me extra hours in the day and allows me to get my early morning run and training session in and start my first meeting by 7 AM which makes my day way more productive.

Eat healthily and live a healthy lifestyle

Anyone who knows me knows I cannot be without my exercise or green tea. I put a huge emphasis on only eating healthy food that is as raw and organic as possible. I stay away from sugar and carbs. I always make sure I am setting a new training goal to keep me motivated. Most importantly the healthier your mind and body are, the more productive you will be in the workplace and the more confident you will be in everyday life.

Learn to delegate!

I am a very hands on person but I find it extremely more efficient to delegate when necessary – this helps take a huge amount of pressure off.

Don’t be a S.H.E.E.P

When Disruptors have a different opinion, they share it.
But they aren’t argumentative–because that would just make them jerks. I am constantly learning and growing from others and challenging the status quo! You don’t have to conform. Live by your own set of rules and you will stand out from the masses.

Ignore the Haters

Haters hate because they are jealous of you and your success. No one likes to be disparaged and put down, but if you are, you know that you’re doing something right. Thoughtfully thank your haters, because if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t know how successful you are. Be a true business Disruptor. Don’t listen.

Actively share your brilliant skills

Never shy away from teaching others.
Inject energy and innovation into your teaching method, and people will flock to learn from you. High Skill + High Confidence + Sharing With Others = True Business Disruptor.

Live by your own code

Respect authority- but not too much.
Whether your code is to be a creative force in the world, to disrupt technologies, or to challenge others to examine their lives, be unwilling to compromise your principles and beliefs for the comfort or approval of others.
If you’re a true Disruptor, you answer to a power deep within you.

Say yes first–then figure out how to deliver

Disruptors are incredibly confident, with good reason. They will find a way to get it done or die trying.
Why? You need to trust your own abilities and trust the people around you just as much.
If you’re a true Disruptor, you think there’s a way to solve every problem. All you have to do is find it.

Do what others only wish they could do

One of my favourite quotes is, “The Wright brothers never had a pilot’s license.” Rather than look around for permission or approval. Be courageous. Be an initiator. If you have an idea – act on it and make it happen!


Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that it takes 10,000 hours to master a complex skill.
But the real key to mastering a complex skill is grit – the ability to stick with something long enough to log those 10,000 hours.

Have GRIT! People with grit don’t jump from thing to thing, gritty people pick something and stick with it. They’re tenacious, persevering, and they absolutely refuse to give up.
The grittiest people don’t just work longer and harder, although that is part of the equation. They keep a laser focus on their goal and say, “No, thanks,” to anything that gets in their way.

You are such a super woman in my eyes! Tell me what the day in the life of Daniella Shapiro is like on a weekday!

Thank you! That’s so kind of you! I am a perfectionist so I make it a point to be highly efficient with my time management and organization. Everyone has the same 24 hours, so I try to maximise my time and be productive as possible.

Typical day:
4:00am — Wake up
4:30am — Hit the gym or road for a great workout/10km run or kickboxing session
6:00am — Steam room to  gather my thoughts and clear my head for the day
7:00am — Breakfast meeting with client & strategy session
7:45am — Head to office
8:30am — Marketing strategy for my new business ventures
9:45am — Check email
10:00am — Skype call with new client

11:00am — Upload all new blogs, articles and press releases. 

1:00pm – Lunch meeting with one of my business partners to discuss the Oolala Collection club launch
3:00pm – Call 5 new clients to update them with feedback and info
3:40pm — Reply to mails
4:20pm — Review New website we are launching and make final changes
7:30pm—Dinner Date
10:00pm — Update my to do list for the next day
10:30pm —Get into bed

Wake up at 4:00am next morning refreshed with a passion and enthusiasm for life.

For me every day is different but I know that every day and every second is accounted for focusing on what I am great at and delegating the rest.

Remember it’s not the amount of hours you work; it’s how productive every minute is.

The day in the life on a weekend?

Workouts, yoga, take my dogs for a walk, family, friends and I usually have work to get done or an event to attend.  I always manage to squeeze in some Oolala pamper time 

With the crazy busy days you must be having, how you prioritise and juggle your life? Are there any secrets to keeping the balance?

‘To Do’ Lists and organisation. Work smart, not hard. Not everything always goes according to plan 24/7. You need to realise that sometimes you need to tweak your strategy and thought process and do something differently to make it work!  Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Not only are you an amazing entrepreneur, you’ve got a firm grasp on fitness as well (climbing Mt Kilimanjaro!), what other fitness goals do you have for yourself long term?

To run the NY marathon and keep trying out new fitness routines and maximising my workouts. I’m always up for a new challenge

What are your long-term goals looking like for your business?

There is so much exiting stuff happening. The expansion of the blurbIT™ platform as well as exciting new products for the Oolala Collection E-commerce platform. We are going to be taking affordable luxury to consumers in ways everyone can feel and smell glamorous at a fraction of the price using the highest quality beauty and lifestyle products.

Finally, what’s the best part about your job?

My passion for business, building and innovating new trendsetting platforms, networking and brainstorming with other brilliant minds.

Be sure to check out Daniella’s website and social media accounts below!


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