Guest article by By Pedro Ferreira
In the first three articles of our series “A Woman Who Inspires” we introduced you to Luisa El Bouyahyani from LuBu, Almaz Andezion founder of Ivory Cosmetics , and Nadia Doukali from Honeyletter. Together with Women Who Inspire Rhein Main we are now sharing the full interviews done during the article for International Women´s day: Female Entrepreneurship on the right track? Starting today with Imme Scheit Writing Enthusiast — Political Scientist — Entrepreneur — Founder of a journaling software for parents, previously known as Ich will ein Pony – rebranded to YAY in spring.
Imme, having worked at different big economic development agencies, what made you start your own company?”
The freedom of having no one taking decisions for me.
The freedom of following my creativity.
The freedom of just being me.
I was extremely happy when I got the opportunity to work for the federal agency for developmental aid, my last employer. As a political scientist it was the job I dreamed about since I graduated from university. Only some years later, I got offered a leading position and everything seemed to be perfect. Indeed, two years from then, I quit.
I liked a lot of things about my job, but when I heard myself talking about it, there were a lot of “I have to’s” in my speech. I did not become one with it. It felt like work! That bothered me. Since I founded my own company with my husband, I wake up every morning, happy to figure out what to do next. I work more than ever without having the feeling of working, because everything happens in accordance with my family.
To quote Arianna Huffington: I do not have to balance my private life and business anymore, because they are both on the same side.
As a Female Founder, have you identified any barriers or things you would change in our startup ecosystem to make it more diverse? Or do you have any positive examples to highlight?
There may be barriers in a sense of who is seen as an entrepreneur. It seems that our company sometimes is perceived as a parent’s project, although it is my fulltime job. After having enjoyed a high reputation at my last job, people think I will return any time soon. I want the world to see the great product we developed based on modern technologies with so much passion.
Thanks to some people, companies and other startups, there are good opportunities for female founders to get a microphone and a stage to present their business. STATION is one of them 😊
Any advice for other female entrepreneurs?
If you have an idea, go for it. Create a positive environment around you that pushes you. Take Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice seriously and ignore the sceptics. You can always go back if your idea will not pay out. When an employer talks about a “gap” in your CV, it is not a good employer. The right one will ask you about your personal growth because that is what entrepreneurship is about. But perhaps, you do not have to go back to work in a corporate, because many people will love your business idea!
On top, any special tips as Mumpreneur?
Honestly, I am not a fan of the term mumpreneur, because it links to the fact that we need it to show that a woman can be both, an entrepreneur, and a mom in Germany of 2020. So my tip for all women hesitating about entrepreneurship is the following: Go for it! The more there will be, there more it will create a dynamic environment for other moms. We need you all so that we do not need a neologism like mumpreneur anymore 😊
Why did you rebrand?
When my husband and I founded our company, we did not think a lot about building a brand. We began with a domain we already had, with a product that we developed just for us in the first place. But when our business started to grow, we needed to figure out what our brand really is about. We came up with soulfulness (Lebensfreude!) and rebranded as YAY!
“Yay!” is what you shout out when you are happy, and our product is all about catching the little moments of cheerfulness in the everyday life. In western societies, we are often so stressed out, especially when we have a job and a family to manage. We do not see the little moments that could bring us joy during the day and we want to change that.
In a few words, what is the benefit of YAY?
YAY enables us to save photos or videos from our kids giggling together or drinking quietly a mug of hot chocolate and write down a story about that peaceful moment. The instant will pass quickly, but the written story will last, and spark enjoy again, when your children have growing old. With our web app, we enable everyone to document memories joyfully and get beautiful, high quality photobooks easily. You can use filters to print photobooks for every child what makes it easy to offer wonderful gifts for other family members. Many people discovered that while staying at home the last three months!
How did Corona influence your business?
Corona changed our business and family life a lot. It raised a lot of questions, created emotional chaos, but also brought up amazing opportunities.
When the Kindergarten closed its doors, it put our daily routine upside down. Luckily, we were used to work at home, so we were well organized and equipped from the very beginning of the isolation. But: With jobs that do not count as “systemically important”, we faced the challenged to manage a firm and meet the need of two toddlers who love to run, jump, and play all day at the same time.
In which way did it affect your customor’s behavior?
But in the second week of isolation a wonderful thing happened: Our business started to grow, just like that. People started to use our app to document their new daily routine in times of COVID-19. Our users printed more photobooks than ever to spark joy to their isolated beloved ones, especially to the grandparents of their kids.
Thanks to that success story, we were invited to Rhein-Main-TV. Only some days later, a family TV channel visited us at home to make a little documentary about our startup life which will be broadcasted any time soon. The fun thing about working in home office is that you welcome press and other strangers in your place so it was an exciting experience in many ways 😊
What are your plans for the future after this unexpected success?
We want to encourage further target groups to document the funny, crazy, and beautiful moments life gives us even in times of social distancing. You do not have to be a parent to collect the YAY moments of your day (even if a lot of parents love that).
Like Benjamin Förtsch (@Digitalmagie) said when we discussed the vision of YAY: “You don’t have to convince people to save memories” 😊