Some taboos are made to be broken.

That’s what Chia Chia Sun, CEO of women’s health startup Damiva, believes has helped drive her business forward.

Earlier this month, Chia Chia joined us at MaRS Mornings to speak about her journey as a female entrepreneur in Canada. Her Toronto-based company, Damiva, is focused on vaginal health and menopausal care products. Through it, Chia Chia wants to put wellness at the heart of our perceptions around beauty — encouraging the idea that beauty comes from the inside out.

Chia Chia was an early client of MaRS and since starting out she’s had major successes. Damiva has grown from a basement setup to landing major contracts with North American pharmacies and there’s much more planned for 2018.

Here are three lessons from her entrepreneurial journey:

1. Stick to your guiding principles

Chia Chia stressed the importance of family, friends and mentors, noting that her daughter was one of the reasons she was inspired to take part in the MaRS Mornings talk.

While she acknowledged that each person has their own priorities, Chia Chia said that some of her go-to values are:

  • Be micro-ambitious: Instead of setting massive long-term goals, set small, attainable day-to-day targets that make tracking accomplishments easy;
  • Make others happy instead of focusing on your own happiness;
  • Practice good listening.

2. Embrace mystery in life and business

Learning to love the element of mystery that accompanies starting your own business is a positive step.

Among the many challenges entrepreneurs face, a common point of anxiety is not always being able to predict what comes next. Chia Chia suggested taking those “what if” thoughts and turning them into proactive goals as an efficient way of managing time and stress.

3. Learn the importance of humour

Being in a field that carries many taboos makes some people uncomfortable. Chia Chia said that it’s important to maintain a sense of humour when breaking down those established mindsets. This outlook is reflected in her vibrant personality and her fun branding, which uses phrases like, “Don’t beat around the bush.”

Making women feel youthful is one of Chia Chia’s main aspirations: “I want women to feel like teenagers with better judgement!”

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Veronica Sheppard

Veronica Sheppard is the Senior Associate of Social Media at MaRS. See more…