Where are you from and tell us more about you?
My name is Vladimir Novosselov, I’m from Vancouver, Canada. I work on building businesses on the internet, with my latest project being Giving Palette — a cosmetics company for charity. I’ve been involved in a number of different businesses over the years, from clothing to real estate.
Having worked on consumer products before, Giving Palette felt like a natural extension. We’re putting together a great team and I’m excited to roll out the product.
How was growing up in Canada?
I love Canada. My parents immigrated from Russia in the late 90s, so I got to grow up in the suburbs outside of Toronto, Ontario. Canada has a lot going for it, the people are diverse and creative, and there is less of a gap between rich and poor — people are generally happier.
I was raised by entrepreneurs; my mom and dad ran a business together so I got to see bits and pieces of what it takes to run that as a kid. I’ve always been intrigued by entrepreneurship, so I decided to start an online business in high school.
How did you come up with the idea for Giving Palette??
I’ve been involved in different non-profits over the years, and I wanted to do something more permanent. We decided that a product line would be an excellent way to get people involved — you have people who are passionate about cosmetics, and are very vocal about their passions online. That same energy comes out when people get together to help others. So we built Giving Palette with both worlds in mind. It’s comprised of three beautiful products that all support different nonprofits.
What is unique about Giving Palette?
The goal is to give away proceeds from every product sale. The challenge is getting everything organized so we can actually fulfill orders without having inventory sit on shelves or pile up in warehouses. This is where we differentiate from other similar projects: we’re putting together a highly automated system that will let us deliver at low cost, and this is what accounted for all the work that’s gone into Giving Palette so far.What’s unique about Giving Palette is how much automation there is between order picking, warehousing and fulfillment. It really raises the ceiling on what can be done with non-profits online.
What are your future goals?
To raise six figures for charity. Beyond that I’d like to launch a couple of other products in the next year. One’s a completely new type of charity project — helping entrepreneurs — and another based on taking Giving Palette to market in Western Europe, UK and Australia.
In your opinion, is it important to go to college?
I think it’s important to find an area you love — but a college degree is not the only way to do this. It’s very expensive and can take years, which may be longer than people really need for their financial goals.
I’ve met a lot of people who are entrepreneurial and smart, but don’t necessarily have the credentials to get a high-paying job, so they end up stuck at an unfulfilling 9-5. They’re smart people who deserve better than that, and I’m working hard on changing that by passing down some of my own entrepreneurial wisdom.
Not everyone needs college to be successful — I known plenty of folks who’ve built great businesses with only a high school education.
How do you define success?
Freedom. The ability to do what you want, when you want.
Having an excellent work-life balance. Living a life of passion. Not worrying too much about the little things and instead focusing on what’s really important — growth, family, health, community engagement and helping others who need it.
What is your favorite book?
How To Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of my Life. It’s a book that should be on everyone’s bookshelf. It’s by the guy who made Dilbert, the comic strips. His philosophy on life is to setup systems in your life so you don’t burn out since it could take a long time until you get a lucky break.
Tell us about Giving Palette’s brand
Giving Palette is a great way to describe both the product line and the organization. Giving is how we’re built; giving customers beautiful cosmetics, giving back to our charities — so it was a name that just fit perfectly for us. As for the palette, we’re able to spread the stories of the organizations we work with through beauty. Our palettes are a vehicle for that!
What is the message of Giving Palette
Giving Palette is built to spread the stories of great charity work. By buying a product, you are able to help someone in need. We don’t just give lip service — we mean it!
Which organizations have you partnered with?
So far we have three eyeshadow palettes coming out that are partnered with Make-A-Wish, JED, Trans Lifeline, It Gets Better Project and Rise Above the Disorder.
How did you choose them?
Our team looked at a number of different non-profit organizations that had the same goals as us, which is to use social media and digital technologies for good. We decided to work with people whose missions are authentic and we saw people engaging with online.
What does the future hold for Giving Palette?
Giving Palette will continue to grow over time. We’ll keep adding new products and organizations, and be a great place for people to get information on charity work.
We are very excited about Giving Palette’s future! It’s going to be an amazing journey…
Are you bilingual?
I speak English, Russian and a little bit of French. I grew up in a bilungual household where we only spoke Russian at home. It ended up being a blessing since I can still speak and read the language as an adult.
Where can we find you?