Yanika Cordina is a 31-year-old entrepreneur who lives in the UK, where she founded haircare brand Cordina Hair.
A new life in a different country always appealed to me. I left Malta in 2009 at the age of 18. At that age, I found myself struggling to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t feel like I fitted in and I craved new opportunities and challenges. Starting over again with nothing but a suitcase packed with clothes somehow appealed to me.
Settling into the UK was very hard at first. I didn’t know anyone in the UK, I was young and naïve, but I was enthusiastic and up for the challenge. I’ll never forget the tiny, yet expensive rooms I rented in the beginning and the long walks and train journeys I had to endure just to get to and from work – and for minimum wage!
I started from the bottom. At first I was leaning towards modelling jobs, but reality soon kicked in and I quickly found a job as a check-out girl at a grocery store. I eventually moved on to working as a personal assistant to various company directors, eventually became a company CEO and now own my own firm.
I love the creative work behind my business. Prototyping, product development and product launches can take months or years to complete. It took me three long years to launch my first invention. We launched the Flower Curl in November 2018 and since then, it’s reached women all over the world and helped them look and feel beautiful.
Let go of negative people. I got trapped in a toxic relationship when I had just moved to the UK. It left me feeling helpless, lonely and very demotivated. When I got out of it, I realised how important it is to choose who you spend time with. You make much wiser decisions when you are surrounded with people of similar values, who love and support you and allow you to grow as a person.
I no longer worry about what people think. Since moving to the UK, I feel I have been able to immerse myself into new challenges, without letting other people’s opinions affect me. Taking calculated risks and facing new challenges became part of my persona and that’s what helped me grow as a person and in business.
Act on your dreams. So many people come up with amazing ideas but never follow through or give up too quickly. I came up with my first invention while working full-time and running a part-time pet sitting business. I created prototypes in my garden shed in the evenings and read up about intellectual property to help protect my invention.
I miss the winter sun. I tend to visit Malta one or two times a year, but I’d like to increase that as I want my son to spend more time with my family. I miss my family, all the get-togethers and my mum’s cooking. I don’t particularly miss the hot weather, but I do miss the winter sun. Winters in the UK are a lot colder and it gets dark really early.
The UK is a better fit for me. In my ideal world, I’d have a small holiday home in Malta to use whenever we wanted to visit. But I don’t plan on moving back - I feel my personality fits in better here in the UK.
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