Lisa Mattam is a female leader who has carved her own path, learned some hard lessons along the way, and followed her own not-so-linear road to success. With a background in pharmaceuticals and knowledge of the ancient Indian science of Ayurveda, Lisa has grown her brand, Sahajan, into a line of highly sought-after skincare products featured in outlets such as Vogue and Glamour. However, she admits that creating a skincare line wasn’t always a part of her plan.
While working at a major pharmaceutical company and pregnant with her second child, Lisa caught her daughter sampling some of her usual skincare products on herself. Lisa instinctually washed the products off her daughter, worried what they might do to her young, beautiful skin. It was at that moment she realized if she didn’t trust these skin care products on her daughter’s skin, why would she trust them on herself? Lisa decided to go back to her roots, and back to the natural ingredients of Southern India, where her family is from.
As someone who is on a self-proclaimed wellness journey, Lisa tries her best to make choices which align with her path. As a lifelong yoga practitioner, she loved the idea of the traditional science of Ayurveda being a sister science to yoga – keeping you healthy on and off the mat. And with a background in western pharmaceuticals, Lisa found she could marry Ayurveda with clinical science. However, even with a clear vision there were still a few hurdles to jump along the way.
Lisa spent two years working on the brand before its launch. She faced rejections from many manufacturing facilities before she found one that said yes, and said that “finding the right partners and finding people who care about doing business with me was one of the hardest parts.” Despite this, she truly believed there was a way to success, and part of that process was to keep digging and find like-minded people.
Once Lisa started seeing success with Sahajan, she could start to look at expanding which she now sees as, “a consistent learning process.” Lisa knew she wanted to run a lean team and outsource as much as possible. Her accountant was shocked to see a business with so few in-house employees, but this was important to her. It gave Lisa more time and energy to focus on the product and the brand without getting caught up in other logistics.
When she first launched the brand she took a leap of faith and hired her first employee, whom she found on a Facebook mom group. It was the perfect role for a mother of young children since it was only part-time. Lisa knows she is not the best with being detail oriented, so she looked for someone who could be her administrative support person. She understood if she had someone to take on this role she could focus on other things. “For years I didn’t make a salary because all my money went to that,” Lisa confessed. “It took a really long time to get to person number three.”
Throughout the process of building the brand, Lisa has found that self-care is an important ingredient to success. Although she was never someone who journaled or meditated, these have both become crucial in her daily routine. She can admit she is not the best at meditating, however, she still finds at least five minutes everyday to meditate because, as she said, “I genuinely believe it has helped me. If something has happened or I’m uncertain it has given me the ability to take a deep breath and get through it.” Lisa now wakes up early before everyone in her family to go downstairs for some journaling and meditation.
So after Lisa’s bumpy road to success what advice does she want to share with fellow entrepreneurs? Find your supports, know who you are, don’t forget to give yourself credit, and pay attention to your energy. As she warns, “Our roles are draining. If not physically, then mentally. Taking care of yourself and patting yourself on the back are critical to that growth.”
When asked what she would tell someone who is starting their own business, Lisa shared, “In our culture we reward all-nighters. My friend used to say no one is there at the end of your life saying you didn’t do this fast enough… Sometimes we only see things when they reach a certain point of growth. Create your own goal posts.”
As for what is next for Lisa, she shared that she is in the beginning phase of creating a new accelerator for female founders in Canada. It will be a way for women to boost each other up, ask advice and mentor each other; a platform Lisa wishes she had when she began her journey.
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