Can you introduce your start-up? What is it, and how did it come about?
MINT is an ondemand wellbeing/grooming app for men which enables them to book various treatments direct to their home, office or hotel within London. We started after realising there was a gap in the market for men’s wellbeing treatments, especially within the ondemand model. Where wellness is concerned, men are largely underserved.
Where are you in your startup journey?
We launched our iOS app in November 2018 and have since been tweaking the platform and growing our brand awareness through select partnerships and popup events.
To date, what has been the biggest triumph for your business?
MINT was one of only three brands shortlisted for GQ Magazine’s 2019 Grooming Awards Best Wellness Experience last October and we came out ‘highly commended/2nd’ in the category which was a very proud achievement given we are such a new startup. That recognition and validity has been a great driving force.
How have you found being a sole founder? And what advice you would give to other sole founders?
Yes – I found it quite challenging in the beginning as there is SO much to do and there is no one to share that workload with, as well as not having a sounding board for new ideas or to discuss and plan the bigger picture. Seeking out other founders through London’s startup scene and acquiring mentors along the way has definitely helped in that respect. When other people believe in you and your idea, you will attract the right network so don’t feel pressured into taking on co-founders just for the sake of building your team. Every individual should add value and compatibility is key.
How do you manage to balance growing a start-up with having a personal life?
It hasn’t been easy and when we were still building the various platforms, I was working 6/7 days a week. Since our launch, I have become more focused on what’s a priority and having a roadmap of our plans for the next 3 years has helped with that. Putting those plans down on paper has highlighted our priorities and harnessed our long-term goals which in turn, lowers the temptation to work all hours and make yourself believe that you have to do everything ‘now’ – after all, there is always something to work on and not making that separation eventually leads to burnout!
How do you cope with the pressures that come with building a business?
Using my downtime to workout or be social ensures I’ve done something outside of my business for myself which I believe is key to keeping my life balanced and grounded. You only really feel the pressure if you believe it’s there in the first place – connecting with other founders/startups and mentors is really important but ultimately, growing your startup using your own vision and not feeling pressured to execute something to a certain timeline or a trend based on someone else’s opinion (that you don’t align with) is fundamental.
If you could name one thing that you wish you knew when you started, what would it be?
It will take you longer and cost you more (both personally and financially) than you expect.
To date, what has been your most important lesson?
To take a step back every now and again. If you need to change course to benefit your business in the long-term, do it.
Do you have any tips or advice for anyone thinking about starting up their own business, or who have just started their journey?
As tempted as you might be to keep your brilliant idea all to yourself and not tell anyone about it until launch day, you’re doing yourself a massive disservice. Trademark or patent your idea/brand but get out there, meet people and talk to others – some of our best ideas have come through conversations we’ve had with other founders and some of the most useful connections we’ve made have been through our growing network.
An idea doesn’t grow or evolve by being kept isolated – share it.
What has been the most challenging part of your start-up journey so far?
For someone who doesn’t have either a finance or sales/marketing background, balancing our plans with funding has been an interesting task.
I was lucky enough to be one of 40 guests invited to Virgin’s StepUp for Female Founders Accelerator in November 2018 which really helped with both those challenges as the program focused on generating sales and funding.
There is so much support and assistance (often free) out there for startups and founders which I think is amazing – get out there, find it and use it to level up.
What’s next for your business?
There are a few discussions currently in the pipeline but our overall focus is men’s health and wellbeing, the scope of which is huge so watch this space!