Aicha Drame is grateful for what she has learned in the business management and entrepreneurship program. Photo credit: Mohit Kumar

Over the last two years, Aicha Drame has quit her full-time job at Aldo, started her own business and enrolled in the business management and entrepreneurship program at Algonquin College.

The prime motives behind Drame’s decision? She wanted to do work that fascinated her while being her own boss. While being an entrepreneur is not everyone’s cup of tea – it takes more than just investing capital – it called to her.

This spring, Drame, 21, will receive her diploma and put the skills she’s gained to full-time use growing her business.

Her company, the Beauty Kingdom, has been running successfully ever since it started.

“My first job was at the Aldo shoe store and I think that’s where my love for fashion grew,” said Drame. “While working at the store, I realized the possibilities of making a business out of fashion.”

Drame was born in Montréal and moved to Pittsburgh when she was five. After that, her family moved to Hamilton and also lived in Sudbury for a little bit. Now, she has been living in Ottawa for seven years.

“After coming from Sudbury to Ottawa, I felt a positive change in my life,” Drame said. “Ottawa is not only bigger but is also truly a multicultural city. I was able to grow my social circle here which also helped me in setting up my business. I really like this city and I guess the city likes me back.”

Drame always wanted her business to be different and to be in an area where she had some expertise. In the initial stages of her business, she faced numerous challenges, such as finding her strengths and reaching out to a vast audience of potential customers.

“In the beauty industry there are so many makeup lines — lip-liner brands and other stuff, so I had to figure out why and how my eyelash business would stand out,” said Drame. “I knew that this was what I wanted to do and always had faith in myself.”

Drame gave birth to a baby boy in July 2020 in the midst of lockdown. However, this huge change in her life did not affect her academics — she continued her school alongside managing her business.

“Having a kid and assignments due every week is very hard, but my husband always helps me out with taking care of our kid whenever needed,” said Drame. “I’m grateful to my husband for all the love and support that he has given me that helped me out with my school.”

Her husband, Idriss Diabagate, is proud that his wife is such a hard-working person.

“I always feel more than happy whenever I take care of our son so that my wife can work on her assignments and attend Zoom classes,” said Diabagate. “I see her attend classes during the day and after completing her assignments. She works on the business late at night when our son is asleep.”

Drame, who will graduate in June 2021, says the business management and entrepreneurship program has been helpful for her.

“I don’t really have a public relations person or someone for marketing, everything is done by myself for my business,” said Drame. “This program has taught me things which are important from an entrepreneur’s point of view. It taught me accounting, which is something that I never thought I would do.”

Even though Drame likes Ottawa, her vision is to take her business to new markets and acquire new customers. London, England, for instance, is on her list, since she believes that it is a huge city with new possibilities for the fashion industry.

“My never-give-up attitude is something that keeps me going and gives me the inspiration to work towards my goals,” said Drame. “In the coming future, I see myself working towards the betterment of the Beauty Kingdom and living a happy life with my son and husband.”