They were women entrepreneurs who had big dreams but little hope of starting the dreams.
Yet they never gave up. They had an idea they knew would work because they themselves had felt the need for it.
Co-founders of Three Ships, Connie and Laura were the 2020 winners of the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub Micro-Business Award.
Three Ships makes 100% natural, vegan, cruelty-free skincare products in the USA and is recognised today as a great brand by consumers.
While the award they won honours entrepreneurs , it also gave them the opportunity to go on their own journey of building a business from nothing.
It also threw the spotlight on the keen business sense and customer focus of the two young women entrepreneurs who inspire us all.
The initiative for the business –
Three Ships set sail in 2017 when Laura, chemical engineer and a business graduate named Connie thought they could set up something together.
Both entrepreneurs at heart, they were going to focus on a niche for natural and high quality cosmetics.
They wondered if they could pursue a business that offered high quality natural skincare at an affordable price.
They had the know-how and the desire to do something different. Scraping together $4,000 they started out by making their own handmade formulations in Connie’s apartment kitchen.
They had the know-how – Connie was the daughter of a businessman.
As a young girl, Connie used to join her father on business trips, watching him sell, pitch and negotiate for his cookware business. She knew she could understand how business worked.
As the daughter of a businessman, she knew she would love going on her own.
How the women entrepreneurs were inspired to start –
During the third year of her commerce degree at Queen’s University, she was co-chair of the Queen’s Entrepreneurs and knows that somehow, entrepreneurship was the way forward.
A competition was held and as a result, she was exposed to start-ups pitching their brands.
When Connie met Laura, their skills set matched as women entrepreneurs who shared a vision.
As a chemical engineering student at the University of Toronto, Laura ran two businesses of an on-campus retail bookstore and a College Pro house painting franchise with eight employees. She knew the way business worked.
In her fourth year, Laura started exploring business ideas for a start-up after graduation.
She had already started to use natural skincare products and was frustrated by how expensive and misleading they were, with brands claiming to be natural, sustainable or green.
Laura proposed the idea of a clean, affordable skincare line, and both the entrepreneurs were onto something big.
Women entrepreneurs overcoming obstacles –
They knew that they could build a business with quality ingredients and a great line up of natural skincare products.
They were assured of the market for the products – they themselves were customers who understood what consumers wanted.
How Three Ships grew –
Today, Three Ships is sold in approximately 1,000 stores across North America and online, with projections to hit $1.5 million in sales this year.
The company is focused on retail expansion, growth in current stores and new product rollouts while focusing on new product development as well.
The success story of these two women entrepreneurs proves that hard work and determination can never stop you from achieving your goals.
Use your capabilities to the fullest to make your business a success.