VAP Class of Spring 2020 | Skin Care Literature

Blog May 6, 2020

Posted by Harrison Crerar

VAP Class of Spring 2020 | Skin Care Literature Featured Image

Let’s face it, each stage of the entrepreneurial journey is unique. Entrepreneurs require different skills and a certain mindset to overcome the challenges they will come up against. Queue the Venture Acceleration Program (VAP). This six-month program is designed to support committed entrepreneurs who are ready to take their business to market. Participating entrepreneurs build life-long relationships with their peers as they work together through the startup process and engage with experienced mentors.

Last October, we welcomed several new companies to join our Venture Acceleration Fall Cohort. We are now excited to celebrate their graduation as they launch into the next stage of their journey.

We sat down with Skin Care Literature’s CEO, Mara Jenkins, to find out how the 6-month program has helped to shape her business.

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What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in Skin Care Literature since starting the Venture Acceleration Program?

My background is in professional skincare, I started in the program with just an idea and a good sense of my industry. I was surprised that my customer base was a little different from what I originally thought. Going through customer discovery right as I was starting to build the business was so tremendously helpful. It allowed me to have a really strong launch at the end of the program.

What advice really helped to shape your business?

Ty Summach, my mentor, really worked with me on my business model canvas. I was able to adjust my model and look at future key partners, how I would be delivering the business and who it would be delivered to. It made it really clear. Using Canvanizer, a free online software, gave me something visual to reference whenever I did customer discovery.

What was one of your most important takeaways from the program?

Over the past decade, I’ve worked primarily on business coaching or hands-on coaching know-how with clinic or spa owners. They would then disseminate this information to their employees. What I found was that the estheticians, the employees under those owners, were the ones looking for the service that I was providing. After learning that, I retargeted and was able to get a ton of insight and a big following over the course of the program. I couldn’t have gotten to this place without having access to the mentorship the program provided.

What part of the program did you find the most valuable?

I really enjoyed our expert days where we had the whole cohort together. Bouncing ideas off each other and learning the roadblocks that people had come up against was amazing. If I had only been doing 1:1 mentor meetings, those things wouldn’t have come up. Those conversations aren’t something you’d get to participate in unless you’re in a setting where people are coming across the same struggles or successes as you.

What was the value of relationship-building during the program?

When I started the program, I was really new to Kelowna. VAP gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of people and make connections that would have taken me years to make. I also really appreciated how well-matched with my mentor I was. We created a relationship where I can reach out to them whenever I need help. Additionally, the connections I’ve made through Accelerate Okanagan allow me to get in touch with so many resources or companies. That’s something that’s ongoing even though I’ve graduated from the program.

What would you say to other founders who are thinking of joining a mentorship program?

Be really open to your business completely changing. The idea I came in with changed so drastically. That’s the purpose of VAP—you identify whether you have a viable product. My business became more simplified, which helps me move forward in the long run as I build tiers and strategies within it. I have a much better vision and can start from a clearer place.

What is Skin Care Literature’s biggest challenge now?

I’ve maximized my own time, I need to look into funding so that I can bring on some assistance with a consulting or marketing firm. I’ve done everything I can, and finding ways to increase bandwidth to keep up with how quickly Skin Care Literature is growing has been difficult. That’s been my biggest challenge.

Interested in learning more about VAP? Check out our programs page or connect with Brittany.

Looking for more Startup stories?

Startup News | Meet the Mentors >>

The Coach Approach with Crystal Henrickson >>

New Kids on the Block Vol. 6 >>

Victory Lap | Jestitters >>

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