By Hannah Connolly
I have learnt so much that books can't teach me and knowing the path is already paved gives me confidence to believe it's possible." These are the words of Gabrielle Dao, the founder of CAMMBIER and one of the eleven mentees to have taken part in the Squarespace x Stack World Ready To Launch Mentorship Program.
Led by Squarespace's Danielle Chadha and Sharmadean Reid, a line up of trailblazing leaders were paired alongside burgeoning entrepreneurial talent from within The Stack World community.
Over 60 members submitted applications before a shortlist of 23 was drawn up and presented to the mentors. Leading to the final 11 early-stage founders being selected to take part in the process. What followed was a month of 1:1 insight, advice and strategy sessions.
The result was a group of founders ready to take on the next steps in their business journeys armed with the wisdom to achieve their goals and powered by Squarespace to take their digital presence to the next level.
Here, The Stack World connects with the 11 founders as they share their learnings, and celebrate the power of mentorship…
Chloe Dorlikar, Founder of Energy Energy Club - Mentored by Sharmadean Reid
ENERGY ENERGY CLUB was founded by Chloe Dorlikar in the midst of the pandemic and is a weekly series of classes that brings together high impact training alongside yoga, and has reached people from all across Europe though the power of Zoom.
"The most valuable advice from Sharmadean was her past experience talking through Beauty Stack and the power of starting with something more streamlined to maximize effect and to be more relevant in a crowded market."
"The plan on how to actually get my product out there based on real content and testimonials, being the best prep to go to market was a great breakthrough," Dorlikar cites as her ultimate take-away.
On news of being one of the lucky 11 to be taken part, Chloe told us: “I’d had a baby and he was eight weeks old. I felt like I needed this for myself. It was such a challenge to even think straight, I’d forgotten I had applied because I didn’t think I’d win – I cried so much when I found out.”
On what she has learnt that she would pass on to other founders she says: "Just go for it basically. Ensure strong content is made for marketing. It gave me lots of confidence that I can actually do this."
Louise Macnab, Founder of JERMS - Mentored Olivia Ferdi
When Louise Macnab suffered from extreme burnout, she began to experience chronic stress induced gut issues, from extensive research into finding treatments, she discovered the vital role gut health plays in overall wellbeing.
Inspired by this journey, JERMS was founded, with Macnab's mission set one changing the perception of gut bacteria and to share the importance of prioritising its health — the all-in-one website to find probiotics, prebiotics and powerful digestive enzymes was born.
"This program is so valuable, it is game changing." say's Macnab on her experience. "I can't underestimate the transformative impact that Olivia's approach of encouragement and accountability has had on me."
Coming at just the right time in her entrepreneurial journey Macnab added, “The program has allowed me to see that I can do it, it has made me more comfortable, more confident and helped me to realise I was the one stopping myself. I feel more free in the knowledge I have received and I am ready now.”
Jemma Sawyer, Founder of ILOH - Mentored by Venetia Archer
ILOH is the London based independent company providing sexual health and wellbeing products designed by women, for women, founded by Jemma Sawyer. At the heart of ILOH's mission is empowerment and taking control of sexual wellness by directly addressing the taboo bias on women's health and pleasure by tackling the idea of shame and promoting confidence instead.
"I’ve had such bad luck with mentors in the past'' says Sawyer, but her time with Olvia Archer came as a breath of fresh air adding: "She’s the first one to say ‘well done' for everything you’ve achieved so far, let’s do more together….’
It wasn't all business for Sawyer and Archer, recognising the importance of the person behind the business: "We discussed personal things that can hinder running a business on your own." But business insights were also in abundance: "We looked into fundings and also the real reality of money and loss and the pros and cons of getting your product Into stores. We also looked at what the skills I have like being a facialist and how I can incorporate those skills into my brand… my key and unique selling points, my vision and brand story."
Theresa Olloh, Founder of Hamalie - Mentored by Serena Macleod
Hamalie is an e-commerce destination to discover contemporary and artisanal items by African brands and independent makers. Founded by Theresa Olloh and born out of nostalgia, Hamalie appeals to the discerning global customer.
Offering a curation of homewares, accessories, apparel and beauty all available to purchase online and thriving under the motto that “no matter where you are in the world, you should have access to African-made products.”
“I was excited to meet and speak to someone with more experience in this journey,” Olloh said on the start of her journey, and the Ready To Launch program couldn’t have come at a better time, adding: “I also needed a lot of guidance too for a new direction I had in mind and I needed someone to bounce it off.”
Dotun Abeshinbioke, Founder of AbikeStudio Mentored by Danielle Chadha
Founded by Dotun Abeshinbioke, AbikeStudio, is the 360, full-service creative agency specialising in branding, web design, and art direction. With clients on the roster including, Apple Music, Audiomack, OffWhite and Sony, which is now celebrating two years since launching.
Gabrielle Dao, Founder of CAMMBIER mentored by Victoria Prew
CAMMBIER was founded by Gabrielle Dao to provide consumers with the option to shop sustainable and ethical fashion pieces without having to compromise on style.
“I have learnt so much that books can't teach me and knowing the path is already paved gives me the confidence to believe it is possible. The programme has taught me to back myself,” Doa said on her journey.
"The best piece of advice I got is that you really have to back yourself and your idea/business as you'll get a lot of no's. It's better to decide the route now instead of having to unpick things later down the line."
Jasveer Matharu, Founder of Elara Care - Mentored by Hannah Fisayo
Elara Care envisions a world where everyone feels confidently in touch with their health and hormones, from their first period to the last. Founder Jasveer Matharu wants to transform self-care from being a chore to an intuitive habit, all whilst promoting the importance of wellbeing.
Elara employs a blend of evidence based science, tech and empathy to build the tools needed to take charge of hormonal health. With an app in development at Beta stage, the future of the Alara app is in gathering information about users' hormones, health and lifestyle to create tailored holistic guidance to make healthier choices.
As a Ready To Launch mentee, Matharu cites the program as being a vital source to keeping her accountable on her entrepreneurial goals and as an invaluable source to get feedback on her work.
Sante Koranteng, Founder of Hands Bags - Mentored by Sarah Drinkwater
In 2018, Sante Koranteng visited her grandmother in Ghana for the first time since she was a child and found herself inspired by the vibrancy of the art, music, fashion and culture she discovered.
Gaining inspiration from the stories told by her grandmother about a bead shop she once owned, she decided to share her own bead work with the world.
For each generation of her family, the bead business has grown and flourished now into Hands Bags. On the process Koranteng said: "Sarah has helped me in so many ways. She helped me change the name of my brand and to overcome a lot of fear I had in myself."
Carine Moko, Founder of Elenge - Mentored by Aasiya Abdulsalam
When creating her skincare brand Elenge, Carine Moko set out to create a product she would be happy to use both on herself and her children. Something toxic free, safe enough for a baby's skin and beneficial.
Going on to create sustainable, hand made, vegan products that target dry, chapped or eczema prone skin, inspired by her work as a facialist and as mother to three children, her products center on the properties and benefits of Shea butter.
Moko felt an instant connection with her mentor Aasiya Abdulsala: "She understood me straight away, the mind blocks,the fear, the ups and downs I go through daily, she just GOT IT! She was able to mentor me in a way that would work with me and the life I live"
Teri Ann Bobb-Baxter, Founder of Speak Up - Mentored Kim Darragon
Founded by Teri Ann Bobb-Baxter, Speak Up is a drama-based workshop organisation, that delivers sessions for children and adults helping them to build on their confidence. Recognising the inherent boost the Arts provide to wellbeing and creativity in all age groups, Speak Up produces bespoke workshops all across the UK.
The mission at the heart of Bobb-Baxter's work is in the support of confidence across communication skills, to unlock the imagination and develop individuals creativity. Working with various charities and institutions like Mind, the National Theatre and Stratford East.
Bobb-Baxter's shared with The Stack her number one takeaway from taking part in the Ready To Launch Mentorship Program: "The most valuable advice from my mentor was their knowledge and understanding of scaling small businesses and how you can focus on short-term plans, which will then in turn give you great long-term achievements."
Victorine Pot, Founder of Pricc - Mentored by Eve Lee
After experiencing the benefits of acupuncture and eastern medicine during a period of illness, Victorine Pot founded her company Pricc. Opening its first location in Notting Hill in 2021, Pricc aims to give busy professionals the ability to access acupuncture with ease.
Pot's shared her number one takeaway here: "A really useful piece of advice my mentor gave me was to break down your community into small segments of people who have things in common with each other, and start from there."
The biggest learnings from the Squarespace x The Stack World Ready To Launch Mentorship Program.
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