The Founder Stories You Need to Know From FounderMade



FounderMade Wellness Summit is an annual wellness event that connects the founders of innovative wellness brands with entrepreneurs in all stages in the wellness space. Their recent event in NYC did an exceptional job bringing in the right mix of impressive founders and excited entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs seek knowledge from founders that have already succeeded. It provides guidance that cannot be found in other ways. It’s refreshing to hear the struggles and doubts successful entrepreneurs faced growing their dreams. That being said, the “Founder Stories” Panel was by far a favorite.

The Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Health, Amy Keller Laird, did a great job moderating the group of inspiring founders during the “Founder Stories” Panel. The impressive panel consisted of:

  • Jason Wachob, Founder and CEO, Mindbodygreen
  • Neil Parikh, Cofounder and COO, Casper
  • Tata Harper, Founder, Tata Harper Skincare
  • Sean Hoess, Cofounder and Co-CEO, Wanderlust

Idea Inception

All the founders on the panel had one thing in common – they all had a personal experience that pushed them to their idea. Wachob, at Mindbodygreen, experienced severe back pains. While looking for alternative solutions to surgery, he found that yoga and changing his diet healed him. He realized that everyone had wellness wrong. True wellness is all connected. In 2009, Mindbodygreen was created with just one blog post a day.

Hoess, at Wanderlust, started a music company. A yoga studio opened upstairs to his offices and he felt the energy shift in the building. This shift caused him to start going to retreats for healing. At the retreats, he noticed that there was also partying at night – creating overall balance. If 30 people can do this, why can’t 3000? Wanderlust was born.

Parikh, at Casper, had dropped out of medical school and had a terrible experience buying a mattress. He started to think about the question – How do we help people sleep better? His dad was a sleep doctor. We sleep a third of our lives and we don’t review at all. If they could just help people sleep 10% better, it would be life changing.

Harper, at Tata Harper Skincare, was an industrial engineer in RE development when she had her moment of awakening. Her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer in Miami.   Harper was shocked when the doctor said to bring in his personal care products to see the toxicity levels of his everyday care regimen.   Harper always assumed, like the rest of us, that the industry was regulated. It clearly is not. She threw away everything in her home and realized there was a gap in market. Harper believes the keys to success are to make the world better and find a gap in the market. There needs to be an authentic piece to your story.

“Meaning is the new Money” – is that what led to your success?

Parikh, the cofounder of Casper, agreed that meaning led to success in the inception phase. He wanted to fix a problem in the industry. However, he also explained that operating a company is hard. When you have a personal connection, it gets you to push through those tough times instead of giving up. Wachob added saying that his success is tied to passion. If you aren’t passionate, you give up. Overall, the wellness movement is expanding. Harper set a new standard in her industry. She believes the uniqueness of her product led to her success. If you start a business, make sure you have a unique product, a unique point of view, and a unique delivery.

Raising Capital

Raising capital is one of the most difficult challenges faced by today’s entrepreneurs.   Wachob advises to be strategic about money. He started with a friends and family raise. As most of us already know, money is a personal thing. Give away as little equity as you can for the money you need.

Parikh, on the other hand, was very lucky. They opened an office in Los Angeles and their audience came to them naturally. He attributes it to the power of networking.

One piece of advice

Wachob – “It will take longer, it will take more capital, and more work.”

Harper – “Are you willing to sacrifice? You need to know what your end goal is.”

Hoess – “First thing you need to do is figure out your mission and write it on a wall.”

Was it worth it?

The entire panel ended the discussion stating it was all worth it.

Overall, entrepreneurial success is tied to a meaningful, unique idea that fixes a gap in the market. Once that idea is cultivated, passion must be the driver to push through the difficult challenges to achieve success. Listening to the stories of Founders can help an entrepreneur learn from their successes and their failure. FounderMade has created an incomparable platform for that. This event was definitely worth attending.




Image credit: Twitter

About the author: Jonna Piira

As cofounder and CEO of Kali, an organic tampon and pad subscription service, Jonna Piira spearheads the company’s business development and strategic planning activities. She’s well versed in the art of financial planning and in tune with business. Piira’s financial background started in the medical diagnostics sector after getting her MBA and continued on into hand tools and frozen foods. Piira has a well-rounded life which includes involvement in many nonprofits such as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Girl Up. Piira has a passion for educating women about what they put into their bodies and, of course, talking about organic tampons.

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