• Laura L Bernhard

How to Pitch Investors, with Laura Page-Hamelin

After starting six successful businesses, Laura Page-Hemalin started Artebula. The Artebula App gives parents and kids a way to collect, organize and store their artwork, digitally, in the cloud. The company supports the development of critical thinking and innovation in children, through the STEAM education model helping them develop crucial life skills.


In our interview, Laura reveals how she got the idea for Artebula and what kickstarted the whole business. She tells us about her business ventures before starting the app and what it’s like to build an app with no marketing budget. She opens up about having co-founders and how to pitch investors.


You can listen to our interview on how to pitch investors in the playbox. Alternatively, watch the interview on The No Formula Podcast's YouTube channel. To read the transcript and the show notes, keep scrolling.




Show Notes

Notable Quotes

"I think any entrepreneur that's listening to this can, can agree is that entrepreneurship is very much a passion thing. And it's a journey. And so I feel like we're all sort of looking for what is our true passion and how do we turn that into a business? And so I think that the other businesses that I started were stepping stones to where I am today. I mean, I'll give you an example. There's a variety of them. So I've always been passionate about marketing and creativity. So that's sort of standard across all entrepreneurship to start with that kind of foundation is, I think, really good. "

"Know your passion for sure. Because I think that to continue down a path where you're not 100% convinced that's where you're going, that's when it becomes a struggle. And that's where it's no longer fun. And so, you know, that's the biggest thing I would take out of it is that if something feels like it's a roadblock and not a roadblock, isn't it's too hard work and you hate doing it. I'd say that was my biggest lesson was listen to yourself. Listen to your intuition. And go with that, because it's really the biggest guidance in my life. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs would agree with that."

"I think that in life you need to especially like-- we can't be stubborn, we have to always be open to learning. And this is the ultimate learning opportunity because I actually didn't know myself as well as I thought I knew myself."

"If you're passionate about something, do your due diligence. Go after it already. Just go after it like what do you have to lose? If you can do something with the least amount of your own personal monetary investment, which I've done. If you can do that with sweat, equity, which is just good old fashioned hard work, then do it. Just do it. And then you know what? If it doesn't work, at least you tried. Everything has a learning opportunity, everything."

Transcript of Interview with Laura-Page Hamelin


Laura L. Bernhard

You are listening to the no formula podcast episode number 41. Welcome back to where we chat with a different entrepreneur every week. From app developers, sales experts and coaches to authors and social media influencers. We focus on their journeys, how they built their businesses, and the lessons they learned along the way. Together, we confirm that there is no formula to success. I want to thank all the listeners that have been supporting the no formula podcast. For the chance of getting in the episode, leave a review on Apple podcasts, and don't forget to subscribe. In today's episode, we chat with Laura Page-Hamlin, the founder of Artebula. The Artebula app gives parents and kids a way to collect, organize, and store their artwork digitally in the cloud. That company supports the development of critical thinking and innovation in children through the steam education model, helping them develop crucial life skills in this episode reveals how she got the idea for our Artebula and what kick-started the whole business. She tells us about her ventures before starting the app, and what it's like to build an app with no marketing budget, download the Artebula app in the Google Play Store. In the meantime, keep listening to hear how the quarantine helped her business, and to learn how to pitch your business to investors.

Laura L. Bernhard

Hi, Laura, thanks so much for joining us today. Thank you so much for having me. I love this. Not only do we have the same name, but we have a passion for entrepreneurship. But the difference is that you actually started seven businesses in your lifetime, which I think is amazing. And before we start talking about the one that you're currently working on Artebula. I just want to know a little bit about those six other businesses. So what is the difference between starting Artebula. So the one you currently working on versus all the other businesses that you started?

Laura Page-Hamelin

Well, I feel like um, and I think any entrepreneur that's listening to this can, can agree is that entrepreneurship is very much a passion thing. And it's a journey. And so I feel like we're all sort of looking for what is our true passion and how do we turn that into a business? And so I think that the other businesses that I started were stepping stones to where I am today. I mean, I'll give you an example. There's a variety of them. So I've always been passionate about marketing and creativity. So that's sort of standard across all entrepreneurship to start with that kind of foundation is, I think, really good. So one of my businesses was a dog walking business, which was amazing. Like, I mean, I'm 25 years old, and it was so lucrative and I was working like 20 hours a week. It was the perfect 25-year-old. Like it was the perfect business for 25-year-old financing going through university at the time, it was amazing. But I didn't ever want to scale that business and I didn't know how to make it a full-time career. I was too young and inexperienced. So eventually I just cut that one-off. No, it was one of, one of the businesses. And I loved that one because I love, love, love dogs. They're so awesome.

Laura L. Bernhard

So fun.

Laura Page-Hamelin

Oh yeah. And then I had a painting business where I refinished furniture. So also, I'm a huge believer in bang for your buck. So I was sort of the person who went to garage sales and found furniture and painted them and actually-- the one back there's is a find and that was painted it was like, would be for some color. And so that was one of them. And that one again, I was that was in between pregnancies. So that was something I was doing on the side and, but everything that I did I loved like, loved but this is the versatility of sort of what I've done over the years. There's marketing, there's painting, there was a dog walking business. None of them were my true passion projects, but they all involved creativity, which was cool because to get in front of people, you need to be creative. And I started my dog walking business, the internet, like the website thing was new, like people weren't able to build their own websites as easily as they are today. So there was a lot of innovation that came into that. And then yeah, now this baby that I'm on right now, this is my true passion. This is the combination of arts and crafts and steam activities and education and, and like capturing and memorable Memorial memorializing my children's artwork. Like it's beautiful. And this is, this is where I'm meant to be. There is no question in my mind that my journey has led me to my true passion.

Laura L. Bernhard

Do you think that while you were starting all these other businesses, that you knew that they weren't your true passions?

Laura Page-Hamelin

100%

Laura L. Bernhard

Okay.

Laura Page-Hamelin

100%

Laura Page-Hamelin

How do I make money and no, I've got four kids. And I've always enjoyed running my own businesses and I've always had to earn money and there was no doubt about it. I always like for like the quickest way to get there. And so it was things that I was good at and things I knew I could market. And that was always brought me to some sort of financial contribution to our household.

Laura L. Bernhard

Mmm, nice. Yeah. Of all the businesses that you started, what do you think is the one lesson that you took away from starting so many businesses?

Laura Page-Hamelin

Well, I mean, know your passion for sure. Because I think that to continue down a path where you're not 100% convinced that's where you're going, that's when it becomes a struggle. And that's where it's no longer fun. And so, you know, that's the biggest thing I would take out of it is that if something feels like it's a roadblock and not a roadblock, isn't it's too hard work and you hate doing it. I'd say that was my biggest lesson was listen to yourself. Listen to your intuition. And go with that, because it's really the biggest guidance in my life. And I think a lot of entrepreneurs would agree with that.

Laura L. Bernhard

Yeah, because I feel a lot of people that I talked to who want to start businesses don't necessarily know, their passions. So what, what, what advice would you give them other than kind of feeling whether or not something is right? Is there something that they can do to figure out which direction to go in? Now that you can look back on your experience,

Laura Page-Hamelin

It's interesting. So I've always been a jumping with two feet kind of person. And maybe that was part of the reason that I didn't really continue doing what I was doing because I wasn't fully aware of where I was going to end up. And for Artebula, I really took the time to do my research and my due diligence prior to that, prior to jumping in with two feet like I sat on this idea for nearly four years before I acted on it. And then that time like it was brewing and spinning, and I'm like, Oh, I still need a solution for this. And it was just there. And then it kept on growing. And finally, you know, when the opportunity presented itself to apply for grant money for a new business, I was like, Oh, this is it. So I did my due diligence. And that is really the big difference between I'd say the other businesses and this one is that I identified the opportunities I found, you know, I learned about the target audience and I did all the business planning and I just went through every right step like you learn in business school like you learn or getting one on one it's like, know your audience know your business know the opportunities. And I don't know if that's an age thing, a maturity thing, or if that's, maybe I was just super immature, but everything else or maybe it's because I was, you know, I made money and everything else that I did that I wasn't aware that there is actually a formula for doing it, right. That it's the same for everybody, right. Everybody like some people have just It's just, it's just been a win right out of the gates. But for me, this was the right way to do it.

Laura L. Bernhard

Okay, so Laura, I want to shift gears a little bit. I want to know how Artebula came to be?

Laura Page-Hamelin

Okay, that's a fun one. Okay, so I have small children, and we have a very creative household. And there is lots and lots of artwork everywhere. And I got busted when my daughter was four, with her artwork in the recycle bin. And that was a game-changer for me. I'm like, I believe in creativity. Why am I squashing my child's creativity? Like what kind of mom am I? And so much guilt, like so much guilt overwhelming as like, there's got to be a better way. So I took out my phone. I snapped a picture and I'm like, Look, we'll keep it forever. But like she was astounded by that she was thrilled. She's like, Oh my god, what am I gonna make more and we'll keep them in your phone. It's like okay. Cool, but they get lost, like just lost and buried under how many pictures that data people take now like it's insane. So for me to go through and find all that stuff was horrendous. And so it's like there's got to be a better way. And that was sort of the initial flicker. And like I said earlier, it took me about almost four years to get this thing off the ground because I haven't been hot. And finally was like, we need to do something about this. There's just too much artwork. So that was that's the story behind how it started. But we've evolved so much from that day. Like I'm just a marketing person with an idea. I needed a team of people like I needed a tech person to make this come to fruition, which is, which was I was so lucky to acquire Graham, who's from Scotland, and he's a co-founder of Artebula-- and yeah, so between the two of us, we started this awesome. We have an MVP, which is, you know, our basic product right now in the App Store, which allows people to capture their children's artwork and keep it in digital. portfolios in like one secure place and in full resolution, which is the best. So the kids can have their own digital portfolios. So for example, right now in our household, we have quarantine album and our portfolios, so each kid has their own portfolio and in there, you can put albums. And so each one's got a quarantine album. And so they could see all their activities they've done over the last three months, whether it be science experiments or inventions, or they've made some engineering projects, some connects like they're keeping all of their creations in these portfolios. And honestly, three, four years down the road, we're going to get to reflect on that. And who knows, like maybe this is stimulating because it encourages creativity, right? Mm hmm. So that's how it all started. But we're like I said, we're just we're going somewhere completely up and away with this and I'm so excited.

Laura L. Bernhard

Well, when did you officially launch Artebula?

Laura Page-Hamelin

One week before lockdown. So we spent a year developing our technology. And we really wanted to launch with a really, really good foundation, knowing that we wanted to expand into bigger and better things. So the unfortunate part of taking our time to build it was we couldn't have seen this unforeseen circumstance. And so we launched, we had this amazing launch strategy set up, but as soon as quarantine was announced, all the press everything, like all of my alumni, relationships, everything just flat down to like, we're not taking anything that isn't coordinated. Though our launch was, you know, something less of extraordinary wishes were not what we pictured. But what was super cool was it allowed us to shift gears. So, I mean, I think this is really important for entrepreneurs, and I don't think this is the first time you've probably heard this during our current circumstances. We've all had to pivot. Mm hmm. And pivoting has for us been illuminating like illuminating the places. We're getting Now because of COVID is far more sophisticated than where I thought we were going. So although it was untimely launch, we're still gaining users every day. And people are still interested in what we're doing. And we're still getting traction. So it wasn't all bad. It just wasn't as great as I had envisioned.

Laura L. Bernhard

And if you can talk about this, how did you guys pivot? Exactly.

Laura Page-Hamelin

So I mean, I guess in the beginning, we thought that we were going to be an art storage company that also produced books and posters. And so we, we still have that concept and is still very important to overall strategy. But we've really focused on the user experience as well as how we can contribute to creativity in other ways. So we are very STEAM-focused business now. So we have, we're starting, we have a resource center developed. So if you go to Artebula.com, there's a full resource center there that has arts and crafts and science experiments and then we'll be moving into More technology for kids, and recommendations for parents on how to use, you know, technology to enhance their education. So that was not something that was in her original plan, like our original plan was like, we're going to help people save their artwork. And now we're going to help people stay creative, and keep their kids interested in art, and teach them skills that they wouldn't have thought of through art. Like it's really cool. They were teaching science through art. We're teaching math skills through art, and there's so many things that we hadn't thought of. But now we had the time to do it, because our audience wasn't hearing the other message. So now they're saying we hear you and what else do you have, which is super cool.

Laura L. Bernhard

I love it. I love that there's the community aspect to it.

Unknown Speaker

Huge. Yes. I love that is we want to be a community-based business. We want people to come to us and say, we want to be a part of what you're doing. And oh my gosh, you have apps to support this. Like that's what we want.

Laura L. Bernhard

I love it. I love it. Since you, since you told me about Artebula I always really liked the idea. And that's why so my next question is a very loaded question. Okay, that it took you four years from idea to execution? Can you walk us through that process and how it escalated to, you know, an idea to a viable product to an actual app? Maybe I know that you had grants. And there were other things involved. Can you walk us through that process?

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah. So I mean, keeping in mind that it wasn't four years of work leading up to this, it was sort of like the seed had planted, and then, oh, my gosh, I need to water the seed. As I'm watering the seed over a few years, and I'm watching that plant grow, which is the piles of artwork and the storage bands and all this stuff. I was like, I've really got to do something about this.

Laura L. Bernhard

So when did that happen? When, like, when did that happen?

Laura Page-Hamelin

It was actually when I was speaking with my brother and I was telling them at that time I was, I was, I was enjoying the way marketing was changing like marketing was really becoming very video centered. And brands were being very creative with their marketing and like, Oh, this is a really good way to get in front of parents' eyes. And so as I started to see other businesses and how they were being comical in the marketing and like, just bringing a lot of light and fun again into, into, like entertaining us, essentially with a product attached, it was like this is super cool. So I was chatting with my brother about it, who is like an investor. And I was telling him the idea and he's like, Laura goes, you write me an awesome business plan, I will invest in this company. And I was like, Thank you, brother, but I will never deal with him. But looking up to him, I was like, Oh my gosh, yeah, well, my brother thinks that this is a good idea, then this has to be a good idea. So that was about two years ago. Okay. And then so I again was I also had a digital marketing company like prior to this. So that's where I spent a lot of my time on Taking care of kids and all that. So it wasn't my primary focus. But we moved up to Collingwood, Ontario. And it's a super, it's a really cool place here. There's lots of opportunities that I wouldn't have had in the city because it's considered rural. And so the Small Business Enterprise Center here in Collingwood had put out an application for grants to help your business expand or to start a new business. If you presented them with a business plan. Then it's like, oh, like, let's put some marketing study to work here and see if I can build a business plan. So I built a business plan, thinking that I was going to extend my, my marketing company into an app company as well. So with the idea of this being the first of many apps, so I was saying, Okay, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, make this an app designed by social jibber jabber. And so I went in and I pitched them on it and I got the grant, which was awesome. So it was five grand. And then I was like, Okay, well, if Now I have to prove I'm spending this money towards my business plan. So they kind of forced me down the path. They sent me a mentor. And they said, okay, we need to see how you spend your money. And so I started going through all of those motions, and ended up with an app company here in Collingwood to build the who helped me build the wireframe for it. And with that, I was able to gain interest from investors. So I had like this idea that was actually in motion. It was no longer just a seed, it was actually becoming a plant. So it was through. And then, then the Small Business Enterprise Center hooked me up with, I guess, an incubator, and it's like, the universities and the colleges offer programs for small businesses, so called the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Center. And they said, Hey, why don't you become a part of this pitch competition and pitch your app idea? So I did, and I won that and then I was like, Oh my god, like I'm winning all this stuff. And, and then investors became excited about it. And I ended up getting investment money from a networking opportunity like a networking like I'm really I love networking and keeping in touch with everybody. And so those six other businesses that I've ran over the years, maybe there might have been seven. I'm one of those people that I worked with in the past is an investor and an advisor on this company. So never burn your bridges for real and keep in touch with people.

Laura L. Bernhard

That's a great lesson from that story

Laura Page-Hamelin

That's the journey. It was a big one.

Laura L. Bernhard

What was the hardest part about that whole journey?

Laura Page-Hamelin

Getting over myself? Um, no, that sounds absolutely crazy. But so I mean, I was always a solopreneur which means I didn't have to deal with anybody ever. Like it was me and my clients and my clients trusted that I was the expert in what I did, and I trusted that I was the expert and was giving good advice. And, you know, I, I had to speak with mentors who had different opinions and different advice. And I was like, No, you're wrong. You haven't done the research. I've done the research. And they're like, No, actually, we're right. Like, look into it more. And so there was always that happening, which was great, because it forced me to do more due diligence, things that I probably would have tried to get away with in the past. I just didn't get away with.

Laura L. Bernhard

Yeah. And you also, you also mentioned your co-founder. So what point did, did he come into the picture?

Laura Page-Hamelin

So he kind of came in. So I think, my goodness, we incorporated in March of 2018. So he came in maybe, like four weeks before that. So in February of 2018, he came into play, and it was around. It was it was around that time that maybe shortly thereafter, where The adviser came in as well and said, Hey, this is a really good idea. And I think that she offered up money to help finance it after I won the pitch competition. But we'd already had the foundation of a team. At that point, though, the team was was I think, I can't remember if my timeline is correct or not. But regardless, it was a very interesting idea that people were interested in and in fact, leaving that pitch competition. There were a couple other people that were like, Hey, we're interested in this, but we didn't want to take any more. We didn't want to lose any more equity in the business at that point. So yeah, I was just gonna say because your words not mine. You said you had to get over yourself. Yes.

Laura L. Bernhard

But because you were a solopreneur. For so long. How was it getting people to join the team? That must have been very difficult to start spreading decisions amongst many people?

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah, I don't think I realized how much that was going to. I don't think I realized how much of an impact that would have on me, but it was a really positive impact, to be honest. I think that in life you need to especially like-- we can't be stubborn, we have to always be open to learning. And this-- this is the ultimate learning opportunity because I actually didn't know myself as well as I thought I knew myself. Like my parents had always told me, Laura, You're so stubborn, Laura, you need to be open to other people's ideas, Laura, like, you need to just listen to what we are saying and like, no, like, I know everything. You don't have to tell me anything. I, you know, and that was sort of a consistent, it was part of my confidence, I guess. But how wrong was I? Because having a team of people that work with that are helping me like, now collectively come to an amazing company like all of us now have, have founded this amazing foundation to build hopefully a skyrise you know what I mean? Like, I don't think I would have done that without them. So when people present you with conflict, I think it's important to not be defensive and that's what I learned was I always And defensive. And so now it was a really good opportunity for me to do some self-reflection and say, be open, be open to suggested investigated, and then make a decision. Don't just shut the door. And so the co-founders, and specifically Graham has been really good at helping me come to that conclusion that I used to be more open.

Laura L. Bernhard

Well, a very humbling experience for sure.

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah, but yeah, totally humbling. Yeah, exactly.

Laura L. Bernhard

And I'm also very, I'm still very interested in the co-founder experience, because sometimes you hear horror stories of how I started this business with my friend or someone I knew, and it was a disaster. On the flip side, I've heard so many great stories about how co-founders work together and built an empire. So can you tell us more about the diamond dynamic you have with your co-founder and maybe how you complement each other?

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah, sure. So the woman who, who invested in the company is our advisor. She is My gosh, a lifelong friend, not lifelong, but at least the past 15 years now she's been in my life. And so there was a lot a huge level of trust between her and I. And so when she suggested Graham would be an amazing co-founder for the app, I was like, Okay, let's chat. And so rate going right in right away into it, the fact that he wasn't a friend, or somebody that I knew. But somebody who came highly recommended by somebody who I valued. I think we're really good starting points for us. I don't think remember back, I said, I never take money from my brother or my family, that I still stand true to that to this day that I wouldn't, because that just brings up so much conflict. But I didn't want conflict. So Graham was an awesome opportunity for me to experience something with somebody who had already experienced that. So he wasn't new to this. He'd already helped found two other companies that sold for multi-millions of dollars. So he had a lot of experience to bring to the table. And he's the tech guy. So he understands how to run the tech side of the business. Like I can talk the talk slightly. And I can follow along in conversation. But there is no way that I could manage that side of the business you like zero. So I think the fact that and he's also a creative, which is awesome, because I could bounce ideas off him and he doesn't go blank. Like he's not like, I don't know, he's like, he has ideas to support it. So, you know, I believe, and I trust in Him, because of the relationship I had with the other woman as well. So there's just a high level of trust. And we've also been very open. And so what's cool is that the other two founders, so Katherine and Graham, they come from the UK. And that is a whole different personality type that I've I did not know anything about, like at all, but they're very clear and telling you that this is how we communicate and this is who we are. And they're very blunt, and that was very hard to submit. It's okay. I mean, like, I, I've, like I said, I've learned so much. And I've become humble because of all of this. And they're just so but at the same time, it's so much trust. So having the two, it's just very balanced, if I can say so myself. We've got, you know, the fluffy, not flighty, but the Canadian who's very whimsical, and rainbows and butterflies, and everything's positive and happy and, and then we've got them saying, No, Laura, this is how it has to be. And I'm like, Oh, okay. Okay, great. We'll look at it from that side, too. Sure, we'll consider it. No, we'll look into it further. And then we'll make a decision based on-- we, right, like, yeah, like we, it's, it's different than I, and I think that, I can't speak to anybody else's experiences, but so far, mine has been great. And I can't, I can't say I can just say that I'm learning every single day.

Laura L. Bernhard

Which is great, which means you're doing it right.

Laura Page-Hamelin

I think so.

Laura L. Bernhard

Yeah. So I have two other areas of your business I want to talk about. And first, I know you're the CMO of the company as well. So can you talk to us more about maybe the marketing behind a startup and you've had a lot of other experience with your other businesses? But just like the strategy behind Okay, this is new, absolutely. Nobody knows about it. How do I get it in front of people? Sure.

Laura Page-Hamelin

So again, a bit of a unique situation, because we were going to go into this going in one path. Mm hmm. And now we've completely, we haven't really completely we're still within the realm of the same target audience, but we've just changed and manipulated a bit. So what the original strategy was versus what it is now has changed and it's obvious when you look through our social media, it's there's like a clear change in strategy. Unless if we're trained die anyways, I don't know if somebody else would notice it. But anyway, um, so there was a bit of during that time, speaking Getting on the wall, which is let's see if it sticks, and then see what's working. You mentioned something earlier about community. Mm hmm. And I think when you're in a new startup phase, especially with an app, you need to involve feedback from people to find out if you're on the right path. And for us with what we're doing in our app, and the technology that we're using and usefulness of it, we want to know from those parents that are using it, hey, how can we make this better for you? And so we've put a lot of focus on on on driving value-based marketing right now, especially in the circumstances that we're all in. Like, we're all looking for things to do to keep our family occupied. And we're providing those resources to families right now. And then also saying, hey, how else can we help you? And so a lot of listening happening in our strategy right now to try and figure out what direction that our community wants us to go in. But keeping the same messages that we're always trying to help you simplify your life. We're trying to help you remember memorialize your children's creations and like always keeping those things kind of consistent. And always looking at the same target audience and saying, hey, these are the people that that are interested in what we're doing. That being said, strategies can change and they have to change continuously. Because the market changes. So, you know, social media for example, I am not a millennial. I'm close, but I'm not. I'm on the cusp. I am not on Tik Tok, but Tik Tok is like the fastest-growing growing platform right now and they don't have any algorithms in place yet. Like we need to be on Tik Tok. But, but I need to know from my community, and I need to do the research to find out what is going to work on Tik Tok for me for Artebula, right, because it's not going to be the same thing that works on Facebook. And it's not going to be the same thing that works on Instagram. So the millennials, the young people who are using Tik Tok, we need to appeal to them. So that is like a complete Different strategy than what we're doing now. And they're the ones who are coming up and having babies now. So how do we shift our focus to get in front of them? And then I think value-based marketing, in the beginning, to build trust, like we need to establish trust, we're a new brand, who are nobody compared to the big guys, right? So there's a huge amount of trust-building going on in the startup, and then a lot of listening, and then a lot of figuring out how to get to the next level with the new upcoming target audience. So just trying to be proactive. And that I mean, it's so important for every startup.

Laura L. Bernhard

Yeah. Are you on Tik Tok? Tik Tok.

Laura Page-Hamelin

I am so nervous. I love being in front of the camera. There is no doubt about it. Like I mean, I would start a personal tech talk but I don't know what to do with my brand just yet. So if anybody wants to reach out and give me suggestions, my

Laura L. Bernhard

Okay, well, it's a good start. You have an account. I was just thinking about, you know, in the community them suggesting things to you value-based marketing. And you also said that you're getting users every single day. How did you get the first let's say 20 users?

Laura Page-Hamelin

I want to say that friends and family.

Laura L. Bernhard

Okay, so you started like--

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah

Laura L. Bernhard

--and then it was just like word of mouth and spread.

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah. Well, it wasn't really no, I would not say it's word of mouth. So, we've been using it we use one influencer, which was an opening. Yeah. And then honestly, like a lot of just hard work. Like I've been on Instagram, communicating, like non stop, like not just posting a picture and hoping it works. It's like, I'm sitting, excuse me, I'm sending messages. I'm interacting with you. I'm searching for my target audience like everywhere, and I'm just actively going after people all the time. not pushing messaging and not pushing, not being a pushy salesperson, but just being genuine. Like, I want our brand to be genuine and say, Hey, this is who we are. But that has been a grind. Like it's a lot of work. And just so you know, we're a startup, we have no marketing budget, like, yeah, none. So this is a lot of work. And I'm putting 40 hours a week and in content creation, alone. And then I've got to push that up through the channels and I'm one person right now I have I have I'm so lucky. I have a like a marketer to support me like a support and sales lead. And she's working part time and helping out right now, which is awesome, but not in the social media world and not in the crafting and little makers world, which is my kids. So like there's, you know, there's even more to do like, there's just so much to do.

Laura Page-Hamelin

So. We're working on.

Laura Page-Hamelin

She's helping, like find grant opportunities and she's doing proofreading and she's helping set up like media or press on Press contact lists and finding new influencers for us to target down the road that there's so much other stuff outside of that 40 to 60 hours that I'm putting in, that she's doing that, you know, a whole team could be doing right now.

Laura L. Bernhard

That's, that's what it is with marketing though you can always be doing something.

Laura Page-Hamelin

Oh my gosh, crazy. I'd love to have a huge advertising spend. That's what I would love. And I think that would help really, like just get our user base up massively because we can only get such reach from organic like it's, it's a slower process, right?

Laura L. Bernhard

I think Tik Tok, though, can help you know, a lot. You can get a lot of eyes.

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah. I'm just I just like I said, I don't want to jump. I don't want to jump in with two feet. I want to do some due diligence, figure it out. And then I just don't want to take too long. Yeah.

Laura L. Bernhard

Yeah, because due diligence, procrastination, there's a fine line. But, yeah.

Laura Page-Hamelin

I'm super structured when it comes to that. There is your own--

Laura L. Bernhard

I can see that though, that I can see where you're as soon as you get your answer, then you will jump all in. Yeah. Yeah, that's awesome. So the other, other area I want to talk to you about was the pitching, and how you pitch your business and you kept to winning things, which is great. But for people who might want to pitch to investors, do you have any tips or, or I don't know, guidelines for them to follow?

Laura Page-Hamelin

Well, so the experiences were very different. With my team, I've learned so much, because we've brought in so many other sources. So I'm gonna lean on that one and say that that investors want to know about their return on investment. So less fluff more where you're going. So like, they don't want to hear about oh, you know, this is? I don't know, they just don't wanna hear the flag. They want to know, brief story they want to know, you know, like, who's interested in it? How much have you raised? How much have you put into it? Are you working for sweat equity? Like, these are the things that the preliminaries they want to know. They want to know that you've done your due diligence. I know that word comes up a lot, but it's true. They want market research, for example, the STEAM industry that we're in is a $700 billion worldwide market. That number right there is very attractive to investors.

Laura L. Bernhard

That's crazy. Education, right? Yeah. Yeah.

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah. It's a huge market. And so everybody can have a piece of that pie. But now what's your piece look like? And how are you going to get it and you know, who is who are your competitors and unique selling point nail it, like just nail it, blow it out of the water and that and your value proposition? So your unique selling point, your value proposition are two huge, huge components of something they're going to be interested in. Like, what makes you different? And how are your users or how's, how's your audience gonna respond? Like what makes you special and what's going to attract them to you? So those, to me are the biggest ones, because you can project numbers till you're blue in the face, but they actually just want to see the results. And they want proof that you can support that. So your team is important. Who's your team? What are they done? How can they contribute your success?

Laura L. Bernhard

So how long is one of your presentations? 10 minutes, 15 minutes? We've done?

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah, five to five-minute presentations, that one and then I did another one that was 15 minutes. And we did it in 13 and blew them out of the water. And, yeah, and there are a pitch-- there are pitch competitions all over, all over that you can apply for. I've found all of them yet, but I've been speaking with companies who have and they're amazing like, but you have two minutes or even a minute and some of them to send a video message saying you have to get them into you in one minute. Like, how do you accomplish that? That's your USP.

Laura L. Bernhard

It's like a Tik Tok.

Laura Page-Hamelin

That'd be an awesome one to send, right?

Laura L. Bernhard

Because I feel like your Tik Toks can not only be about Artebula, but also like the business behind it. It's so interesting. And you've done so much of it. It's like you said before, it's so by the book, right. So you have so many so much of the process down packed. Yeah. Yeah, it's awesome.

Laura Page-Hamelin

Yeah, it'll be interesting to see what comes to Tik Tok.

Laura L. Bernhard

I'm gonna ask you about that in a few weeks. You know this, right? Sure. Yeah. So we discussed so many things in this interview. So I kind of just want to wrap it up and ask you, what is the one thing you want people to take away from this interview?

Laura Page-Hamelin

If you're passionate about something, do your due diligence. Go after it already. Just go after it like what do you have to lose? If you can do something with the least amount of invest-- your own personal monetary investment, which I've done. If you can do that with sweat, equity, which is just good old fashioned hard work, then do it. Just do it. And then you know what? If it doesn't work, at least you tried. Everything has a learning opportunity, everything.

Laura L. Bernhard

That's great advice. That's a great way to end this interview. So thank you so much for joining us today.

Laura Page-Hamelin

Thank you so much for having me.

Laura L. Bernhard

Before ending this episode, I want to summarize some key takeaways from my conversation with Laura. First, I love how her co-founders helped her grow. And as she put it at over herself, many of us entrepreneurs work alone, so I could imagine how difficult it was to adjust and include other people in decision making. Second, Laura started many businesses before she found one that she was truly passionate about. And I think this is a very good lesson. We normally don't talk about this. But as entrepreneurs, we have no quit in us. And sometimes we need to take a step back and reevaluate, to see if we still enjoy what we're doing. And if we don't, that's okay. So I think it's very important for us to keep that in mind. Finally, Laura gave us a lot of information on how to pitch investors and also how to get your business in front of the right people. Both are super important, but I really liked when Laura said that there are many investment opportunities out there. So for those who are thinking of getting investors, this is very encouraging. Thanks so much for listening, everyone.

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