Spring 2020
A delayed launch

‘We had planned to launch in the spring, but as everything shuts down, our manufacturer has to delay our production run. We have to adjust everything on the fly and push it all back. It’s stressful and disappointing – I have to make sure we’re limiting our cash burn – but I try to keep it in perspective. It’s important not to get too down; it might even be a blessing that we’re not already live and spending a ton of money on marketing or acquiring customers.’

Early summer 2020
Energised by NYC

‘I was quarantined outside New York and came back in the early summer. There’s an energy in NYC that really lends itself to starting a company; feeling that hustle and that grind. I’m happy to be back, but it’s a weird moment for me. I come back to the city right as the protests are picking up and there’s this amazing collective energy. I attend protests and try to stay conscious of what’s going on, but I also have to think about how this is going to affect our business.’

Summer 2020
A moment of reflection

‘Being in the city is a catalyst. It’s a good moment for me as a founder to sit down and say: what are we? What do we as a company stand for? And what do we want to stand up for and speak on? I’m very sensitive that it doesn’t feel like we’re taking advantage or trying to spin something in our favour – I understand there’s a conflict there. I put a lot of thought into how we structure our charitable giving programme as we develop that.’

Late summer 2020

‘I’m in my apartment and get a text from the delivery driver; I run down the stairs and grab the package from him. I immediately FaceTime my sister. I’m super excited – this is such a monumental moment. Especially with a food product when you can open and taste it – I’m even happier with the taste than the original sample. And the packaging design that we’ve been working on for months – just having that in my hands is a really special moment.’

Early autumn 2020
Pre-launch exhaustion

‘There’s a lot of stress to get everything over the finish line – and I’m definitely exhausted – but I try to avoid burning the midnight oil. We’re working longer hours than nine to five, but I’m really keen for me and the team not to burn ourselves out. There are a couple of late nights right before launch, but not often. That was a culture I bought into at one point in my life, but as I’ve gotten older I know that I’m actually getting much less done when I’m doing that.’

Autumn 2020
Launch day

‘I wake up in the morning, and there are a couple of pieces of press that run super early. It’s this Christmas-morning moment, and I’m running on adrenaline. I’m not someone who deprives themselves of sleep, but those last few nights we run late. Towards the end of the day my adrenaline expires and I have a bit of a crash. By 5pm I’m thinking I could use a nap, but there’s still so much to do. Things go in our favour – we surpass every projection we had set.’

Mid-autumn 2020
Stock problems

‘The counterbalance to surpassing our projections is that we face a stockout. I work really closely with our manufacturer and the team to try to figure out how we can stay out of stock for as short a time as possible. It’s stressful – you have this great response to the launch, the last thing you want is to be sold out. It’s a scramble and a hustle. There are physical limitations on how quickly you can make more product, but it’s a good problem to have.’

Early winter 2020
Making time for fun

‘Being part of this team – and that shared camaraderie – is super rewarding. We have a day that’s just really fun, where we do a photoshoot with a friend of mine who gives up his time and hosts us. The models are enjoying themselves, everyone’s eating candy, we’re throwing candy up in the air, playing music and dancing, and it’s so fun. And I’m like, this is a cool job – how lucky am I to get to do this?’

To follow what Mayssa’s been up to, including what’s spinning on her decks, follow her and the brand.

This article was first published in Courier issue 38, December/January 2021. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

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