Bahar Etminan – Founder of RESCU & RESCUMeAcademy
Posted March 9, 2020, by Jenny Sakr
As the founder and editor of RESCU.com.au and RescuMeAcademy.com Bahar Etminan has built a formidable online publishing brand that has become a daily destination for over 30,000+ women and 28,000 social media followers Instagram and Youtube.
In 2005, Etminan launched Australia’s first distributor owned premium beauty e-tailer, rescu.com.au. Since this time, Rescu has evolved into a pure publishing network, putting expertise front and centre by pooling some of Australia’s best talents in lifestyle, fashion, finance, property, beauty, health and wellbeing – providing expert tips, commentary and advice. The launch of RESCU TV on Youtube enriched the content with in-depth and personal interviews and how to’s with luminaries, celebrities and thought leaders.
Talk us through your role and a ‘typical day in the office:
Digital publishing is the fastest moving role I’ve ever had in my life! No two days are the same. A typical week is a combination of editing content I’ve received from our experts, commissioning new content from partners and experts, attending launch events, attending client and brand briefings, editing video and posts and a lot of time researching, reading, watching videos and listening to podcasts for inspiration on new content for the site and my online education platform RESCU Me Academy.
Tell us about RESCU ME and what inspired it
RESCU was originally a site for my first business, Brandmakers. I started a cosmetic distribution business when I was 28. I imported, distributed and marketed 36 skincare, fragrance and makeup brands exclusively to this market. RESCU was the online store and the first pure-play eStore by a distributor. It evolved to digital publishing in 2008 after the Global Financial Crisis nearly wiped me out and I closed the distribution business. RESCU was no longer an eStore but morphed into an online destination for expert advice on health, wealth, beauty, fashion and lifestyle.
The live event, RESCU Me was launched three years later and my first book RESCU ME was published four years ago. I then launched RESCU Me Academy, a spin-off of our expert content platforms, into deep emersion video-based, online education. There are now two courses, Be Your Own Makeup Artist and Re-ignite Your Relationship.
What was your first job and what did it teach you?
My first job was at the Candy Bar of our local cinema. I was 14 years and 9 months old when I got the job. This was the legal age to start working and I loved my job so much. It taught me about time management (I was in year 10 at the time and had to juggle study, a teenage social life, family and work), keeping your commitments and navigating social politics. Believe it or not, there was a hierarchy, bullying and all sorts of politics behind the popcorn stand and making the perfect choc top was a major achievement. I also learned so much about customer service, sales goals and the role of personality in sales. I was consistently winning awards for selling the most candy and popcorn on my shifts because I loved the psychology of sales and people. You can always upsell a guy on his first date.
Talk us through your study and career journey
I loved school and I love learning. When I was in high school I would do vocational courses, correspondence courses and attend seminars at night and on the weekends. It was almost weird. I enrolled myself in a TAFE typing course when I was in year 9 because I wanted to be able to type. You take keyboard skills for granted now, but back then very few people had a PC and there were no mobile phones!
I came alive when I went to university at Bond in Queensland. It remains one of the best memories of my life. I completed a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and returned to complete my MBA. While I was studying I enrolled in a beauty course and drove up to Brisbane from the Gold Coast during the uni breaks to attend. I then got a job as the regional sales rep for Parfums Givenchy. I just love learning and working and for me, it’s always been a winning combo.
I moved to Paris when I was 27 and enrolled at the Sorbonne to study French (I was quite distracted and not a particularly good student that year!), and while I was there, I launched my first business Brandmakers.
It’s important to always be learning something new and even today, I am always enrolled in at least three online courses and I consider myself a student forever.
Name a career highlight
My book launch (RESCU Me! The Makeover Guide for a Life More Fabulous), attended by friends, colleagues, my parents and most importantly my daughter, was one of the happiest days of my life. The RESCU Me live event was also spectacular. 16 speakers, 480 attendants, a full-scale Alex Perry runway show, and MC’d by the amazing Kerri Anne Kennerly… It was magical.
Starting my job at Gucci when I was 24 was also an incredible life experience. I forged amazing friendships and I was thrown into the deep end as National Sales and Marketing Manager and later General Manager, at such a young age into a massive role. It was the combination of my wildest dreams and worst nightmares. I certainly felt alive!
Name a career low
Narrowly escaping going bankrupt when I was 35 and having to close my first business. It devastated me at the time but in hindsight, it also taught me that every day is a chance to start again and reinvent yourself.
What’s the number one thing you do to ensure you get the most out of your day?
Start the day right. How you start is how you finish. A morning ritual, no matter how tiny, can set you up to have a better day.
What advice would you give to someone starting up their own business
Ask for help and get the best lawyer, accountant and bookkeeper you can afford. These three advisors should not be skimped on. Set up the structures correctly and don’t waste your time doing things that you are not an expert at.
What are the best and worst parts of running your own business?
It can be lonely sometimes. I think working out of a shared office and networking with other entrepreneurs is really important for me to stay motivated and connected.
What advice do you wish someones had given you after you finished studying?
You can have it all, but not at the same time. In my 20’s I had an unrealistic expectation about what I could or should achieve with my life. I was terribly burnt out by my mid 30’s and had no idea why. I think we were a generation where women, in particular, had a complicated relationship with having it all, all the time.
What’s next for you?
RESCU.com.au is ready for an evolution and Academy has only just begun. I’m really enjoying speaking and consulting as part of the RESCU Universe. I’d like to do more of that.
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Jenny found her way with words while interning during uni, since, she's produced articles on it all – from hair and beauty to homewares, travel, career advice and study tips. On a weekend you're most likely to find her lining up for a table at the latest cafe or restaurant.