Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Victoria Marshman, co-founder of Mave & Chez, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm the Co-Founder of Mave & Chez. Welcome to the Slipper Revolution! I've created the FIRST fashion-forward, all-day slipper, backed by science. Combining fashion and ergonomics is at the heart of our brand. We create and design products to empower women to feel like their best selves and create opportunities that put women ahead.
Too often, supportive slippers for women come at the expense of style, forcing you to choose between support and fashion. It's our mission to create something that gives you health benefits and comfort while making you look chic at the same time.
We believe that all women deserve to look and feel great with every step, whether you're heading to the grocery store, lounging at home, at the office, or out at a dinner party.
Tell us about yourself
It's been over twelve years since my entrepreneurial journey started. I began with humble beginnings at the University of Toronto, where I met my now business partner Dani Kagan on the Dance Team. We were instantly drawn to one another and became best friends, eventually becoming Co-Captains of the dance team and bringing it to new heights.
Over the last 12 years, I have dedicated myself to helping others through a community I built called City MOGULS. Through it, I helped raise over $250,000 to support Canadian at-risk youth. Through these efforts, I was a part of helping to build a safe house for victims of sex trafficking in Toronto. This community I built helped thousands of entrepreneurs connect with each other, get mentorship, and build their dreams into businesses.
Now it's my turn. I want to walk the walk. I have helped so many other entrepreneurs, and now I want to build my own dreams. I am obsessed with building impactful brands, and I know that I will positively impact the lives of women through Mave & Chez by creating a product that is necessary, educating them on the importance of proper footwear, and also building a women's community to empower each other.
The whole idea of Mave & Chez started in March 2020. We were running two successful, 6-figure event businesses and, in the blink of an eye, lost everything we had worked so hard for. It was the middle of a long Canadian winter when the pandemic hit. I was spending workdays from home - a new reality. It got me thinking about what I was putting on my feet every day.
As a former professional dancer, old injuries started creeping back in as I wasn't wearing supportive enough footwear at home. My hips, back, and feet were aching from being in socks all day long. So I hunted for house slippers that were not just comfortable but durable enough to support me all day long and didn't make me feel frumpy. It's been over two years of research, design, development, and manufacturing, and we finally have our samples. We are getting ready to launch soon through a Kickstarter campaign.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I think one of my biggest accomplishments to date is the community-building work we have done through City MOGULS. To date, we have raised $250k to support Canadian at-risk youth through The MOGUL Awards, created a membership program to serve over 250 North American start-ups during a global pandemic, and inspired entrepreneurs to go after their dreams. I like to think all of the programming, resources, and connections I was able to provide by facilitating this community have created a ripple effect and, in turn, positively impacted thousands of people through the start-ups that were a part of our community.
Through Mave & Chez, it's my dream to help people who were once like me get the funding they deserve - even if they are pre-revenue. Let's back more female founders.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
𝒴𝑜𝓊 𝓌𝒾𝓁𝓁 𝓃𝑜𝓉 𝓂𝒶𝓀𝑒 𝒶 𝓁𝒾𝓋𝒶𝒷𝓁𝑒 𝓈𝒶𝓁𝒶𝓇𝓎 𝒻𝑜𝓇 𝒶 𝓁𝑜𝓃𝑔 𝓉𝒾𝓂𝑒 - This is VERY dependent on what type of business you are starting, but my experience thus far (especially with throwing a pandemic in the mix) is you have to invest a lot of sweat equity and funds into growing your business before you can really start pulling a livable salary. I know this is what makes becoming an entrepreneur one of the scariest leaps and a barrier for so many (especially with how difficult it is to get funds to start your business but more on that later), but I've managed to keep some side hustle income through my dance choreography and consulting business to keep myself afloat through challenging times when I couldn't pull a full salary from my business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
I write a lot on my social media about tips and advice as an entrepreneur, but here are three that are sticking out for me, especially right now.
- Slow Growth - SO much of building a business is slow and steady growth and taking small steps in the right direction. It's going to take WAY longer than you think. I've actually surrendered and let go of setting time-bound goals for my business because things seem to always pan out differently than you plan them to. Sticking to a solid vision for your life and business and being open to getting there in many different ways is a much better strategy.
- Build your circle of influence - Everyone knows that surrounding yourself with like-minded people can be a great advantage - why? When you have people in your corner who are not only successful but also smart, curious, inspiring, motivating, and interested in what you do, it fuels you. The energy funnels itself into your work. It's imperative as an entrepreneur to be surrounded by successful entrepreneurs - join communities, find mentors, and constantly make new connections. Constantly meeting new people is at the root of consistent growth.
- Act first, change later - You're never going to be "ready" to make the leap or create a big change in your business. Imposter syndrome is a real challenge for entrepreneurs, and often it takes years to overcome. We think we have to know everything about something before we act on it. I've learned over the years that as scary it is, starting is the hardest part. I've been a service-based entrepreneur for over ten years, so diving into the product world over the past two years has been terrifying, exciting, and anxious all at once… but I'm going for it and trust in my resilience, work ethic, and willingness to do whatever it takes, that I'll figure it out along the way.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I love and support fellow entrepreneurs - I'm always down to connect. If I'm on socials, I usually love connecting and supporting fellow entrepreneurs - I'm always down to connect. If I'm on socials, I'm usually on Instagram, so drop me a DM, and we can have a virtual coffee. If you're a slipper lover like myself and ready to join the slipper revolution, join our pre-sale list to ensure you receive first edition House Flats coming later this spring 2022: www.maveandchez.com
To all the dreamers, changemakers, and entrepreneurs out there, don't give up. Take risks, make the leap, and continue to chase your dreams. Lean in, speak out, think big, and continue to make a difference in the world.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.