Episode 172: Anisa Telwar Kaicker, Founder and CEO of Anisa International Inc.

Anisa shares insights that every leader should hear — from the attitude that keeps her calm, to how she delivers authenticity through compassion. Tune in for an episode that’s as honest as it is informative.

Dan Hodgdon
AnnouncerWelcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty®, hosted by Jodi Katz, Founder and Creative Director of Base Beauty Creative Agency.
Jodi KatzHey everybody. It's Jodi Katz, your host of Where Brains Meet Beauty® Podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in. This week's episode features Anisa Telwar Kaicker. She is the Founder and CEO of Anisa International. If you missed last week's episode, it featured Yve-Car Momperousse. She is the Founder and CEO of Kreyòl Essence. Thanks for listening.

Hey everyone. Before we get started into Anisa's episode, I want to let you know that her brand has offered all of our listeners a 20% off discount on their website, anisabeauty.com. Anisa, they're the experts in makeup brushes and skincare brushes, so you'll definitely want to check them out. This offer is available for the whole year of 2021, so you'll have time to restock. The code to redeem is ‘Anisa Beauty 20’, that's A-N-I-S-A B-E-A-U-T-Y 20. And during launch week, we're doing a giveaway of Anisa Beauty products and also some Where Brains Meet Beauty® swag, so check out our Instagram to enter.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the show. I am so excited to be here with Anisa Telwar Kaicker, Founder and CEO of Anisa International. Welcome to Where Brains Meet Beauty®.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Thank you. I'm so happy to be here, Jodi. It's fun. It's really great to be doing this.
Jodi KatzIt's so cool to meet you. We had such a really fun conversation for our intake call, so I was so excited to come back together and see your face over Zoom and record for our listeners. Anisa, today we'll start with my favorite question. It's become my favorite COVID question because before COVID when we were actually in the studio face-to-face with our guest, I would always ask about, how are you going to spend your day today? But I feel like I know how everybody's spending their day today, which is in front of Zoom meetings and calls. I've switched my favorite question to, think back to the time that you were a kid and when you think about what career meant to you, what did you want to be when you grow up? Tell us what was your fantasy job?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker I thought it would be amazing to be a pediatrician, that I would want to go into the medical field. I thought, I loved my pediatrician. He was the best. He was so helpful and sweet and kind and smart. I thought that's what I would want to do.
Jodi KatzHow long did that dream to be a doctor stay alive for?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker I think until I was about 12 until I realized what would be involved to get to having a fun office with toys and giving lollipops, that there was a lot of work and a lot of blood involved and all kinds of other things. I just knew that wasn't going to be my thing. I just knew, even though I wanted the end result, I could not take the steps to get there.
Jodi KatzThat's so cool. Yeah, there's blood, but there's also lots of boogers.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Exactly.
Jodi KatzKids are germy. I have two of them, so I can say that.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker That ear thing, I wasn't into the ear thing.
Jodi KatzFrom the dreams of being in pediatrician to running your own international business, there's a lot that went in between. Tell us about what your family's goals were for you when you were a kid. Do you remember what they were pushing you to be?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Well, my dad was a professor and my mother was a homemaker until I was six. She wanted to go back to school. She was very young when she married my dad and had four kids. I think the path for me was going to be academic of some sort. That's why I think doctor was a path, right? It was always also about independence. I thought that was really interesting because I'm a first-generation of my family born in the United States. My dad was born in Afghanistan. My mother was born in Germany with Russian descent. They were really, I think, very modern to think that I was not going to have to marry to have to take care of myself. They felt I could create my own destiny. They always encouraged me. When I think about that now, I'm pretty amazed by it. Even though my dad was pretty traditional when it came to my mother that he allowed her to go back to school, he allowed her to work, even though there was four kids. He was a pretty cool guy to do that.
Jodi KatzYou mentioned to me that it seemed like their relationship started under duress, I think is how you phrase it. I'm curious to know what that meant being in a household. What did duress mean to you at that time? You already defined that they were modern, but what are the challenges that they faced? How did that show up for you?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Yeah, it's a very good question. These two people that came from very different parts of the world. My dad was a lot older. We ended up in the South, we ended up being raised in Bellevue, Tennessee, outside of Nashville. I don't look like I could be from Nashville ever. My mother was blonde and very light skin. My dad was super dark. We were this mix. All of us looked like we could be different nationalities. We're raised in Nashville. They were very passionate people, these two people that came together. Their passions were, there was a lot of energy going on and they were very powerful each in their own right. If you could imagine, right, what's happening in this dynamic. My dad is a really strong guy. He really loves his family and his wife. My mother is a really strong woman and she just wants her independence. They met when she was super young, 17.

My dad was in his 30s. They got married by the time she was 19. She had four kids by the time she was 24. She was a very charismatic woman. She just had a drive. She's being driven in one direction. He's trying to hold her. He's being driven in one direction. It was a combustible, you know, a lot going on that was really tough as children. Because what he was raised, you know, Afghanistan, how you dominate a bit in the home. Then my mother was not very easy to be with. It was hard for us kids. I mean, we loved our family. There was some semblance of routine and all that, but when they went at each other, it's really hard for children. Then when they divorced, when I was 15, as much as it may be needed to happen, it was very devastating for us.
Jodi KatzWhen you think about your own styles in adults of meeting conflicts, I guess, what has your journey been? In business, there's always conflict, right? In our lives, there's conflict. We can't avoid it. It's part of life. Watching your parents' conflict, how did that show up for you as you evolved your leadership style?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker It's a really, again, very deep, it's a very deep question and there's been a real path about it. The one thing about my parents is they didn't avoid conflict. They were not great at timing though. I think with conflict, what I have learned over time, I'm very direct. I will tell you. But I have learned over time, over time, there is a way to be direct. I'm not a passive person, but I have learned when to have these conflict type situations, which in the beginning, I was like, I'm independent. I need to exert my myself. I need to not let anybody dominate me. That hasn't always worked. I have made some really bad mistakes being too direct. Maybe the conversation should have definitely happened, but who should have been in the room? What should my tone of voice been?

Being able to watch myself. Because my dad, when he got angry, his eyes would bug out. When I get intense, my eyes bug. I could have nothing going on like I'm not really that upset, but I probably look like I'm going to take somebody's head off. The self-awareness was not there in the beginning. Now realizing of course, challenges, conflict, directness is what people will welcome if we have some self-awareness in how we approach them. It has been trial and error and I'm not saying it's perfect, but I also do my best not to get as wound up or manic about it where we kind of brew like, I need to have this conversation. What are they thinking? I don't know if you understand all that.
Jodi KatzI do. The reason I'm asking is because I live my life now as a pretty measured person intentionally. While in my earlier days, I think of myself as just bratty in the workplace and in my personal life. There's this like, I want it now. Just sort of more selfish in the way that I communicated. I've learned a lot in a lot of therapy and coaching. I measured with intention because it's the most serene and peaceful way to get to what my goals are. I measured with my team. I measured with my clients. I measured my kids. I measured my husband. It doesn't mean that I don't of course, have a temper tantrum every once in a while. But I think about the timing of these things. Like you mentioned, the timing is everything.

Being able to watch myself. Because my dad, when he got angry, his eyes would bug out. When I get intense, my eyes bug. I could have nothing going on like I'm not really that upset, but I probably look like I'm going to take somebody's head off. The self-awareness was not there in the beginning. Now realizing of course, challenges, conflict, directness is what people will welcome if we have some self-awareness in how we approach them. It has been trial and error and I'm not saying it's perfect, but I also do my best not to get as wound up or manic about it where we kind of brew like, I need to have this conversation. What are they thinking? I don't know if you understand all that.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker The thing that I used to tell myself and how I feel through it now through COVID too is that when I know something, I want to tell somebody. I don't like to keep secrets. I don't want it in my body. It was a very selfish thing. I mean, I don't know if you meant like that, but I felt like it was selfish. It was about what I needed in that moment to get it out of me because I couldn't contain it anymore. I felt like I had this secret and I just needed to get it out. However, also there is, my therapist has said to me, when people have said something to me and I've just been like, are you kidding me? She says, let me just think about that.

She really wants me to be less reactive and more about like, let me just get back to you about that, which is the hardest thing because I just want to make a decision. I want to move on. I want to keep going. That has been tough to learn even in a positive, even when I know I want to do something great for someone or I want to move forward. She still wants me to take a minute.
Jodi KatzI think it's a really valuable practice though. Especially during COVID. I mean, I feel like my life is like 10 hours a day in front of a zoom like this, you know? The room gets hot and I don't have enough breaks in between. To take a few seconds or minutes or sometimes hours or days to just pause is really healthy, as opposed to being like... It's a lot. I think it takes so much psychic energy to keep that pace going. I love this idea of like actually pressing pause on decision-making. Even if you know the answer, like why can't you just let it be out there for a little while before you make it definitive?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker I mean, I think it's what I got working for my mother. Everything was so urgent because it was urgent at the time, it was life or death at the time in some ways. She was taking care of four kids. She had a company. She was on her own. I got all that frenetic energy to create, but sometimes the energy of creation doesn't have to be chaos, right. It doesn't have to be this manic energy to develop in whatever it is. Now, creation can be calm. That has been something I am learning. Actually, people respond better. Right? They can create better in calm. That is my hope to continue.
Jodi KatzGreat. My daily goal is serenity. I don't always get there, but if I can-
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Especially with two kids.
Jodi KatzWell, I mean, they're 13 and nine and pretty easy to be around now, thankfully. I do feel for parents with little, little kids at home during this time.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker You look too young to have a 13 and a 9-year-old.
Jodi KatzThank you. I love skincare. I do think that it's so valuable to create a goal for myself of serenity, which I can't always achieve, but I do think it opens the door to more joy in my work. Right? I started a business because it seemed more fun than working for someone else. Right? Fun is really always at the root of this for me. I guess if I wanted to be a bazillionaire, I would have picked a different industry. The goal is really fun. The goal is being creative. For sure I can do that more. My team can do that more if serenity is our guiding force.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker So smart. I wish somebody would have told me that. It's so smart.
Jodi KatzIt's taken a lot of roadblocks to get here and it's not every day. I get stuck in my own head. These ideas say, what do they say? These angry ideas live in my head rent-free. I need to get them out. It's good to have a goal.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Yeah. I had another mentor recently say to me, if I'm having a thought I don't like, just say next. That's what I've been doing is just saying next. Anytime I think something I'm going down that road, and it's been working when I remember to say it. I mean, it's pretty powerful, the thought of serenity. Because the thing is, it has a ripple effect. There's people that depend on us that need our energy to be grounded so that we can then grow our business, because we can't just grow it on our own. If they're calm, if they're serene, they're going to make better decisions. We don't have to get in the weeds with them all the time. They can be more comfortable to make mistakes. They can come to us easier. They know we're going to be calm. I don't know why nobody talks about it. We should as leaders, right, not a fake calm, it has to be real. It's not like I have this façade and I'm going to leave you. Then I'm going to flip out, with my executive team, which sometimes does happen. Can it be authentic calm? Can we really lead with that? I think is a good goal.
Jodi KatzYeah. I think that that idea of authenticity and being real about it is crucial. Faking calm, I mean, I think that's what we probably grew up with. Well, you grew up in your own business. What I would have grown up with, in industries where I wasn't the boss and I didn't make the final decision, there would have been this façade of calm or this facade of, I got it, or this facade of I'm cool. But that wasn't actually real. The idea of truly seeking this out and knowing that every day you're a human and it's not going to be easy every day, I think that's the fix. Right? Like being honest.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Yeah, and being vulnerable, which is no fun. Being vulnerable in front of people, making mistakes, showing them that we're nervous or scared or we don't have all the answers. That's been the best part to tell you the truth about COVID where I got to be vulnerable and not act like I knew everything. They were okay with it because they didn't know everything either. That's been the one Guinea here about compassion for each other and ourselves. I don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, but I'm going to do the best I can today. It's the first time I ever really have said that.
Jodi KatzThat's so interesting that you bring that up because I remember pre COVID, it was our holiday party. I guess sometime early December last year. I was like, what do I want to say to my team right now? Our company quadrupled in size last year and it was really my dreams literally came true. I said to them, I've never done this before. I've never had this many employees. I've never had an office like this. I've never had these types of clients. Everything we're doing every single day is brand new to me. I said it because I wanted to be vulnerable. I wanted them to know that we're all just figuring it out together. The craft we do every day, that's easy, being creative is easy. But putting the pieces together in this bigger way is more challenging.

It felt so good to say that out loud, it felt so good to be honest about like... They probably look at me and think I've done this before, the people who haven't been with me as long. When have I ever led a business this big? Never. This is what I've been waiting for and working for. It felt so exciting to say that. I remind my team of that often, I've never done this before.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker I love it. They're still with you.
Jodi KatzYeah, I'm so grateful for them. I mean, my team works so hard and harder even now because everything is just so complicated and compromised. Our time is compromised. Our psychic energy is compromised. Clients are nervous about a thousand things. It's certainly complicated. I want to talk about your career journey because you told me it started at the age of 17 in your garage. This almost sounds like a tech story, right?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Well, it was my mother's business. I started working with her really when I was 12. We started making little marketing kits in the garage, cutting out brochures and putting her then logo on top and making photocopies. Then I started using a telex machine, which I don't know if you know what that even is. Then I started faxing. Then from 17 onward, I was working with her. I did my first international trip with her. We went to Turkey together. We walked through large warehouses where she was going to import things to the United States, which were going to be rugs at first. Then I started full-time when I was 21 really supporting her in the financial aspect. I went through IRS audits. I did learn payroll things. I worked with her accountant. I was doing business development. I was understanding about letters of credit. I was understanding about banking. I mean, my world in a very short period learned international trade from a woman who was also learning it, who was super intense and dynamic and expected a lot. My age, she didn't care.

I don't think she remembered how old I was half the time. I had to do what she needed because we were supporting the family. For some reason, she acted fearless. She didn't show a lot of fear. When I did see that it would be very scary. When my parents divorced, there was a year that she was very depressed, but then she just picked herself up. She just ran into this opportunity and never looked back until it got really bad or the company dissolved and then she didn't know what to do. But then she started figuring it out and figuring it out and figuring it out. But then I had to go start my own business.
Jodi KatzHow did learning international trades turn into brush expertise?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker While I was working with her, a gentleman walked into my mother's business on West end in Nashville, Tennessee. This guy comes in. He's from Korea and his family manufactures cosmetic brushes. I said, tell me more. It was interesting because it aligned to me with fashion. When you're talking about makeup and I was like, wow, well, I'm about to take a trip to New York. I was 21 at the time. I said, let me see if I can call on Revlon for you. I just picked up the phone and said, can I come see you? I have something very unique. Little did I know I didn't have anything unique. This guy was kind of pulling my leg a little. He could make brushes. He did have a family that could make brushes, but he was only 25 and I'm only 21. If you could imagine what that situation was. Then however, I don't know, something pulled me. Something said to me, there's a conversation I can have here that's very different because I called on someone that was a man. I was like, how does this guy know anything about brushes?

I'm a woman. I don't wear makeup that much, but I know brushes a lot more than he does. I have a gentleman who can make anything I want and he says he'll help me. I naturally started to getting product development and marketing. It just resonated. Right? Because it's like a puzzle. You have to figure out the pieces. You have to figure out what engages people. Is it a color? Is it a conversation? It just got me excited. I started reading about business, Think and Grow Rich, Zig Ziglar, The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. I realized that the sales part of it, I was going to have to break through a lot of fear because I was really scared. I was super insecure. I was able to start teaching myself. I was able to bring in tools and trust the process and just create, create this business, create myself, create all of it.

I had good people who, I always got signs along the way I'm going in the right direction, where people would just walk in and be like, you're doing the right thing but just pivot this way a little bit. I fell on my face a lot, but I really do like financial independence. I feel like I got that from starting my own company.
Jodi KatzAnisa, I mean, it's an existential question. Maybe it's a little bit much for the podcast, but I look back and see my headspace in my 20s, I want to be in an image-driven industry and blah, blah, blah. That's where I always had it. I didn't know why. It's just what appealed to me, pop culture appealed to me. I did that. I'm like, well, I want that better job, and I want that better job. Then I want this better job, whatever this meant to me at the time, which I think was just like how other people perceive the job, right? I didn't want to work in industry that wasn't cool by other people's standards. Now I'm here and I've been running my own business for almost 14 years and it's hard. Sometimes it sucks and sometimes it's great. I look at my friends in my age group and they're becoming the CEOs and the CMOs of brands big and small.

Then I'm like, so this is what we were always aiming for, what we're doing right now. It seems really, I don't know, like this big idea. Okay, now what? Right? Have there ever been these feelings? I don't even know how to catalog these feelings, but like, so we've done it, we're doing it. Now what? My now what sometimes isn't even about beauty. It's about other industries or other things. Am I doing this when I'm actually supposed to be doing this at age 60 but I'm doing it at age 44? What's happening in my brain right now? Can you help guide me?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker It's normal, your brain is active, right? Probably, you have to work to calm your brain down, not to become more engaged. You're always thinking about possibilities, and that's okay. I was the same. I have done several little things as side gigs. I go do them. I'm like, eh, you know what I mean? If you need to do a side hustle, you want to do a side gig, there's nothing wrong with that. It's more about expansion of who you already are. Now, I don't know how you label yourself. Right? I'm a CEO, this, this, this. This is what my skillset is. This, this, and this. I know for me the philanthropic part of why I do that, it gave me that layering because I was able to then focus on things that also expanded and give a skillset and give joy in a different way, because I'm just not one of those people that needs another car or another house. Yes, I'd like a plane. I don't know if that'll ever happen.

I've just never been one of those people that, I did it, let me show you what I have. It's always been about, what am I growing? What am I building? That's what I think my mother taught me. Like, I'm building something. Based on what you're building, what are the other little building blocks that you need, right? What is your empire going to be? When somebody first said, you know, I had an empire. I thought it was really funny, but then I start to look, because I still am that little kid in that garage sometimes. We got a factory. We got two factories in China. We got two satellite offices. I have this many employees. I've done this much philanthropic work. I'm still like, I'm just doing this. Right. I'm just that person. You can't see yourself right now. We usually don't see how much we've done.

What I would do is because you're doing a lot of work on yourself is just trust the process. Write down what you're thinking. It doesn't mean you have to do it. What is it about that little thing you're thinking that maybe you feel like you're missing? Maybe there's just a small nugget. Maybe you want to travel more for inspiration. Maybe it's something you want to teach. Maybe it's like, look at what you're doing with... You know what I mean? You're just trying to layer who you are and that's what's amazing about you.
Jodi KatzI guess there's so much more potential when you're an ambitious person. Maybe like, okay, doing what I've always dreamed of doing and literally having my dreams come true is amazing, but I guess it's not as hard as it used to be. Right? I have more room. I have room for more. Right?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Yes.
Jodi KatzI think you're totally tapping into something that had been like, during COVID I had to put aside these other pursuits because it was just chaos. Right? You need to keep the business functioning. I really love leadership, training leadership and guidance. Maybe that's what I'm missing. I don't get to do that right now because it's just not a priority. There's just not enough time in the day. The wanderlust is like full on right now. Maybe I'm just like, I need to fill up some buckets, whatever way I can. Some of my buckets are empty right now.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker I think it's okay. I think, you need to be emptied so that when you make the choices to start to fill again, it's a conscious, because I think all of us were running, running, running. When I think about how much I was doing and going and seeing and being, and when life kicks off again, it's more open. I'm really curious, what am I going to accept back in? Right? It doesn't just have to be full to be full. That's what I want to make sure I focus on. Whatever I allow back in, it's really going to fill me up. Right?
Jodi KatzOh, I love that. Right, because this is a pause from having to say yes to things. You have, I guess, more opportunity to curate selectively because you've had to curate extremely.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker It's okay to be empty. I think it's good that we empty for a minute because what's filling me up right now is very interesting. It's really like, I sit in my meditation room. I'm really enjoying looking at the things around me that have been around me and looking at them differently. This has been silver linings. Hopefully, we all come out of this. People get to go back to work. I mean, everything that we're dealing with right now. I think we can all look back and say, wow, my whole life shifted at that moment.
Jodi KatzYou're running your business, you have two international factories. Then you have the business office based in the U.S. Are you 100% family and privately-owned at this point?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Yes.
Jodi KatzThere's so few of you out there, Anisa, right? So many businesses sell or get huge infusions of capital from private equity. Why are you still owner operated and owned?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker That's a good question. I think that I didn't need anybody else's money to do what I needed to do. I also, when I started had some small partners and I saw the control they could have even if you have 30%. If something goes awry, it's very difficult to navigate. I feel like I have enough people telling me what to do. My customers, my employees, myself. I didn't need more voices in my head. I wish I would have had maybe more support in sense of advisory or like a board, a more formal board. I've never had that. I think that's where I missed out a little bit and still, but it's hard to find the right people. Advisors, mentors who really know my business more than I do now is tough. But now the scale is the big questions. With us starting the brand, this D-to-C brand, do I want to risk everything that's in the organization? But now again, what do I want to do? Do I want to be in control? Do I want to take some chips off the table? What do I want? COVID stopped everything. That's been good. I don't have to think about that right now, which I really appreciate.
Jodi KatzRight. If you want expertise that's outside your organization, you can just hire it. Right? Why do you need someone to take control of the company? Right.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Correct.
Jodi KatzYou don't.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Unless I'm ready to exit, unless I'm ready to be done.
Jodi KatzRight. There's really just so few brands, companies that have scaled that are still privately-owned. I think I've talked to you and maybe one or two other people at this point, which is really fascinating. It used to be the opposite. Everybody, they had bank loans. They just made it work until they grew. Is there a pressure on you to sell the business? Do you feel these peer pressure or internal pressures to play that game?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Yes. Yes. Before COVID, 100%. I think talking to you when we first spoke and met, and you gave me a really good perspective on some businesses that they start out. They're churning and burning all this private equity money. They're not really making money. That's never been my nature. That's not who I am. I'm not going to want to take somebody else's money and waste it or take somebody else's money and not make money. My worth as a business person, entrepreneur, CEO is to make money. At the end of the day, at the end of the year, we will have a positive cashflow. If we don't, it's a problem to me. I think I just can't change that mentality and I don't want to. The thing is, yeah, I want to keep up with the Joneses. I want to be cool.

I want to be like, oh yeah, you know, my multiple is this or whatever. Like yeah, sure. That's in the paper and like, oh, so-and-so bought whatever. I'm just not ready to be done. I just, I'm sorry. I don't want to have to report to someone else right now. That's what happens. The day that happens, it means I'm done. I just don't want to report to anybody. I don't need to.
Jodi KatzRight.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker That's arrogant or whatever.
Jodi KatzAnisa, at this point, I feel like, I mean, you've been an entrepreneur for a lot longer than I have, but after 14 years I feel like I'm unemployable. How could I have a boss?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Exactly.
Jodi KatzIt would be impossible. I could never. I think I'll get hives and itchy and my eyes would swell shut. There's just nothing about that, I would rather just start over and grow something else than do that at this point. When we were on the phone last week, we were talking about industries where the conversation is all about growth, like revenue, revenue, revenue. They're industries that really value not having a profit, they see that as a value. It's like what the media likes to cover. It's the brands who are obviously spending a lot of money on advertising because they're burning through money. They're visible and you hear about them, but never in my heart was like, I want to run a business and not make any money. It doesn't make any sense to me. I get it. It's a strategy. It's something that people do. It's just not inside of me. Right. I do sometimes look at these other businesses and like, oh my God, look at how much they're growing. But what did it take? What soul did they need to sell to get there?
Anisa Telwar Kaicker I also saw my mother go through it where she was highly leveraged. The stress it would be day-to-day on all of us when I was managing the finances, when all the bills were coming in, all the money's coming. That was not a fun way to live. Then I also had a really good mentor who taught me about, he used the word that we are slaves to money if we don't control it, if we have debts, if we have things we owe. I've never wanted that feeling. It's not fun. It's so much stress. I don't want to live like that.
Jodi KatzRight. I think there's two different types of personalities in that situation. There's people like you who are like that, that's awful. Then there's people who say, I don't care about that now because I'm looking at the goal in five years. They don't take on the emotion of that. What you think is torture, they just think as process. Right? I'm built like you.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Yeah. I feel like they're not really invested though. To me, there's something very ethereal. They don't see money the way, maybe that's the problem. A whole another conversation, but they don't see it as something real.
Jodi KatzThat's right.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Also, their valuation and actual how much cash they have is a different situation. If they walked away from it, I mean, I don't know, what would they... I don't know. I have no idea. I just don't want this to fail.
Jodi KatzAnisa, that's a world where people are playing with other people's money, so it isn't real, right? It is monopoly money. For you, it's personal. For me, it's personal. My personal, like the shadow person that follows behind me when I'm having a bad day is the fear of financial insecurity. I've had years that are so hard where I literally didn't have a penny to spend on something indulgent. The indulgence could have been an iced tea at the coffee shop, like that. Then I've had much better years. Last year was literally a dream comes true. The best clients, the best team, actual money, money coming into the business, more money coming in than going out. That's the shadow that follows me around when I'm having low days is that fear because I see it as real. It's my livelihood. It's my kids' vacations.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker You have employees now. To me, I have people who work for me. I just actually care about what would happen to them if I was like, hey, I can't do this anymore. Some days I would be like, I really don't want to do this anymore. I have a lot of obligation. I don't know how I'd be able to sleep at night. That's, again, this consciousness or whatever it is for me that I've come into this world with. That is what I feel my responsibility is to live like, and I've accepted it instead of starting to resist it, that I'm not one of the cool kids. This is just who I am. It's okay with me.
Jodi KatzI love that you mentioned the cool kids, because this is going so full circle for me, Anisa. Because in the advertising world, think about the '90s and early 2000s, it's about having that expensive furniture in the lobby. It was about being in all these fancy places. That was never me. I just didn't care. I'm not into fashion. It just wasn't a world that I was a part of. I thought that was a huge detriment to my potential to grow the business. Eventually, I got my head screwed on a little bit in therapy, started working with coaches. I'm like, cool. I'm not cool, that's fine. But we're like the new cool. COVID proved to us, everything I've been working for is like, well, we're really good at this. This is what makes us cool. It's not the fancy furniture. I had to give that up, that I'm not like the other people.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Yes.
Jodi KatzIt was hard. It took a long time.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker I think I'm there. I think I'm really there. Like you said, during COVID, that I'm still... I get a lot of stuff from just employees, ex-employees, the things they'll say. Now I'm like, why have I ever listened to them ever? They're not running a business. They're not responsible for anybody. I was paying their paycheck. I mean, where the insecurity came from, again, that's another thing and the confidence. That's just been my journey that I've had to work through as a person. I work really hard every day to just understand that, hey, take a look around, wake up to what is happening, which is really good. Even on the worst day, it's a good day.
Jodi KatzAnisa, I love this conversation. The whole point of starting this podcast is to show the human side of our business and not the robot side. This is a great start to my week, so I'm super grateful.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for what you're doing. I'm like, I want to know your story too. I got to learn a little more. The 14 years, I want to understand what you do. I just learned so much from people like what you've been through, I'd love to hear. I hope that's somewhere that I can watch too.
Jodi KatzYeah, well, maybe we can also just have a chit chat on the side. I'm so grateful for you sharing your wisdom with our listeners today. This has been so fun to get to know you.
Anisa Telwar Kaicker Thank you.
Jodi KatzFor our listeners. I hope you enjoyed this interview with Anisa. Please subscribe to our series on iTunes, and for updates about the show, follow us on Instagram @wherebrainsmeetbeautypodcast.
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