Former journalist and broadcaster Sonya Denton is the founder of weDstll Inc. that has built a mobile platform to help build trust with beauty and wellness brands through peer circles. “People come to weDstll to get the support they need around goals, concerns and interests with those that share similar values, in a supportive space – and with the brands they’re interested in,” Denton said. “People get what they need, on demand, with instant responses.” The platform operates based on the users’ goals, concerns and areas of interest, providing knowledge and solutions in community. “There’s no I in weDstll,” she said.
Denton has been iterating as she learns and her ideas grow. She was focused on a beauty and wellness community and through research and iteration and agility has refined her idea. “You kind of know where you want to go but in a flexible way. I’m very excited about where we are going,” Denton said. The platform is in private beta testing and her goal is to gain investment and make it public.
As an entrepreneur, Denton said that her determination has been critical. “When I think about a goal, it’s not about plan B,” she said. “It’s about A1, A2, A3. I’m always researching, asking the right questions and I have an insatiable amount of drive.” It’s that drive and determination that got her into broadcasting. Denton said she proceeds, not waiting for things to happen. She has developed an understanding that preparation meets opportunity and she’s always learning.
“My entire life I’ve tried to fit into other people’s views and expectations. There’s pressure coming from an immigrant family, you want to fit in to achieve,” she said. “If I’d surrounded myself with people who supported my self-expression, I’d never have been driven to taking a stress leave (during her career as a broadcaster).” Denton has since discovered she has ADHD which accounts for some of her struggles that caused her to self-blame. All this influenced her goal to create a platform where people can get the help they are seeking without compromising who they are.
More and more consumers are making educated decisions about the brands they spend their money with, looking for values alignment and supporting brands that are an extension of their own philosophies.
Accessing the help of Innovation Guelph
Denton said that a business plan is important to know where you are going and how to get there. She believes that entrepreneurs should have an iterative mindset, being flexible to adjust to trend analysis and technology. Through the Startup Program, Denton said IG mentor Nancy Carroll was phenomenal in helping Denton understand the industry nuances. During the Rhyze Ventures program Denton worked on her financial model and revenue streams ensuring she had a viable business model. “The advice and help I received has been very helpful and supportive,” she said.
Denton said in getting to the next stage she has had to prove herself in order to continue. “I believe it’s about doing everything you can to create the space to seize opportunities; always moving forward, working and preparing for the next step.”
Sharing Entrepreneurial Insight
During this process of building her business, Denton said she’s been surprised that the people she expected to support her didn’t and vice versa. “People would rather you not take risks to make your dreams come true,” she said. “I don’t know why they are more comfortable when you don’t.”
Denton advises entrepreneurs seek the right support system. “It can make or break you,” she said. “Those that encourage you and people you can call who are truly supportive who aren’t fueling your down days, seek them.” She said to trust your gut, look for genuine support.