This week we caught up with sisters Erica and Aretha, who recently joined the Hatch Female Founders Launchpad to get support with their brand Axtionery, an exciting range of stationery designed with the explicit purpose of celebrating black joy and supporting wellness.
When they aren’t working on their brand, Aretha works as the Head of Coaching and Development at a charity that supports neurodiverse people back into work, and Erica is a Digital Marketing Consultant and new mum, just coming to the end of her maternity leave.
Combining creativity and business
As creative individuals they have both lost count of the number of business ideas they have had over the years and are constantly inspired by their surroundings and by the needs that they encounter and see around them, and get excited by how they can solve these problems.
Axtionary came at a time when they were both going through major life changes. They had so many questions to answer and decisions to be made. It was overwhelming. Aretha came up with the idea to fuse a solution to this with our love of stationery and design. A range of paper goods to help you plan, perform and play.
Turning an idea into a reality
Although they had the idea, bringing it to a tangible reality has been a major challenge for them. They had so many questions – Where to get samples made? How to manufacture sustainably? Where to get funding and what are the best funding options for them? Erica added, “we have a great idea but we don’t have all the answers and those answers can be difficult to come by if you don’t have the right network or sources of support available to you”
Also as black women starting a business they have struggled with their confidence which is something they are currently working on. They decided to join the Hatch Female Founders Launchpad to provide them with clearly defined steps and the confidence needed to get started.
Although they are still in the midst of the programme they said “it’s helped us in so many ways already. Our businesses we ran before were lean and entirely self-funded, whereas this time around we’re likely to need more support and were unclear of how and at what stage to look into that. Hatch has definitely made the process of starting a business more achievable and given us the guidance and tools to really get things going.”
Their goal is to support women making major transition in their careers and personal ambitions through their stationery and gifts that support productivity, planning and play. Their next steps for the business is to ensure that they have the right business structure and launch product (they have a lot of ideas in the pipeline) that best supports their goal.
Advice for aspiring female founders
“Definitely sign up for a launchpad or incubator programme. Being able to develop your business ideas with a peer group to give you objective feedback really helps to refine your ideas and put you in a much stronger position at the end of it.”
Are you a Black, Asian, or Ethnic Minority women looking to launch or grow a business? Join our community of like minded women on our next cohort starting in January 2021. Find out more: https://hatchenterprise.org/our-programmes/