Having enjoyed a successful global career in marketing and innovation for 12 years, Silatha founder Veroniek Vermeulen was ready for a change. During an inspiring trip to the Himalayas, she discovered the power of meditation after spending time on retreat in monasteries in Nepal, Vietnam and Myanmarand. This experience motivated her not only to transform the way she was living but to to develop a new business concept.
She returned to her corporate life but found it was difficult to hold onto the new energy she had experienced during her trip and so this sparked an idea. Veroniek want to find a way to find to transform the ancient wisdom of meditation into a product and journey which would support the busy modern lifestyle.
Veroniek made the bold move to leave her career behind to self-fund Silatha. First, she commissioned the transformation of the ancient mediation symbol the Dorje into a handcrafted necklace. Each is set with one of ten gemstones that align to an inner quality that the wearer wants to nurture from clarity or courage to emotional stability, love and compassion. Secondly in order to make meditation easy to practice in everyday life, she developed the Silatha Meditation Course App with a series of guided meditations to introduce different techniques over 21 days.
How would you describe the Silatha brand in 3 words?
Jewellery meets meditation.
How has the business changed since you launched?
Silatha grows and develops each day. From being a solo venture, to having a wonderful team of ten. From having one simple meditation, to a meditation app that provides support across many areas. From creating the right branding, to developing new products. It’s really amazing to see it grow. Every now and then when I look back, I’m very proud of what we’re achieved so far, and how we keep evolving and growing to give maximum support to our customers. Our goal is to always keep learning and keep growing further.
What do you think in your experience are the biggest challenges in running an online business?
Getting an amazing team together. When you are a small start-up, people don’t know you yet and you don’t have much money to pay your team. It is never easy to find great people. You need to inspire people to believe in the company and grow it together. Silatha is a dream in that perspective, as people love the Silatha products and our ethos. Now we get regular requests from great professionals who want to work with us. It’s incredible to grow a team of professional people who have a real passion for what we do.
What has been your proudest moment since you launched the brand?
I couldn’t choose just one moment. I enjoy all our little wins, from seeing how many new Instagram followers we gain, to getting the brand stocked in a new store. From hearing, positive feedback from customers or seeing a new piece of jewellery come to life. I believe it is important to celebrate every small win and take a little moment to enjoy it. You work hard for it, and it keeps you motivated.
Meditation has been and continues to be a big part of your journey, do you think having a daily practise can be particularly beneficial for anyone running a business in terms of creating a healthy mindset?
Without a doubt meditation delivers great results for everyone, especially if you’re stressed and busy, which is often the case with founders and anyone running a business. Meditation helps you by creating balance and allowing you to connect to yourself and I would say it is a must as part of your daily routine. Many people say they don’t have time to meditate but this is when they actually need it the most!
With about 15 minutes of meditation a day, you start to really connect to your inner peace, which enables you to create more perspective and to enjoy life as it comes. That state of peace supports you in everything you do.
Many of us are searching for pleasure and we tend to look outside ourselves for satisfaction, whether that’s from relationships, work promotions, goals etc. These pleasures are only temporary. Meditation supports you in that it supports you in creating long-term happiness which is more sustainable because it comes from within.
With Silatha we help our customers to develop themselves to be the best version of themselves. By setting an intention and enabling them to grow this during the guided meditations on the Silatha meditation APP. The Silatha jewellery is the tangible reminder during the day. Having a touchable reminder, helps in reaching your goals.
Do you belong to a co working space and if so how much of an impact has this had on you and your business since you launched?
I mainly work from Factory in Berlin and from Soho when I’m in London. Factory in particular is an amazing community of start-ups and freelancers who support each other. When I started my business, I was working alone and missed the team dynamic from my years of corporate work and being in an office. It was just me and my idea I believed in. The community helped me to create a website, to grow social media as well as providing much needed company. As a marketeer, I believe in consumer research, though when you start, this is a luxury you can’t afford. It’s great to have a group who will give feedback and support you. We all help each other where we can. It made a huge difference for me at the start and still today, and I’m very thankful for it.
What is next for the brand and can we expect to see any new products launched in 2018?
We will shortly be launching a new meditation app, it will be hugely extended with new meditations and new functions – Stay tuned!
How do you create a work/life balance?
I can’t deny I work many hours, though it’s important to mention most the time I am working really enjoy what I’m doing. There are no politics within Silatha, and although there are of course setbacks, these are there for a reason and to teach me something or steer me to a new, better goal. Overall, it doesn’t feel like work.
I have developed a healthy morning routine that gives me a really focussed start to the day. I start with a run or bike ride or yoga, then I have breakfast and get ready for the day. When I’m really awake I meditate and afterwards, when I have a clear mind, I make my to do list for the day. Four to five things max, and I always aim to finish this.
Also, I take time to really switch off. I work hard during the day and some evenings, but I try to take the weekend off for me-time and always plan a few fun things. I believe you can’t run a business well if you don’t take care of yourself. It stems from a belief I have in life in general, it’s important to take care of yourself, only then you can take care of others.
What advice would you give to new founders who are just starting out in business?
Go for it and put your heart into it. if you have no passion for your idea, then don’t do it.
Three tips to think about:
- So, you don’t need to worry about money, make sure you have a clear idea of how you get an income in the first 1-2 years when you are building your business. Keep a part-time job on the side, from which you can pay your fixed cost. You need some patience before you have a suitable income from your start-up.
- Find a great co-working space, where you meet other entrepreneurs and you can share your ideas. Help each other and look for other people who can support you and your business.
- Create a clear morning routine: start with sports, meditation and a healthy breakfast. Then write down the must dos for the day, this can’t be more than 5 things. Then make sure you focus on getting these done.