Four months pregnant with her second child at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kristen Scott Ndiaye felt like something was missing – her community. “With the threat of a lockdown, I realised that I needed everything at my fingertips – care, community and information,” she said. “I was certain that others must have been having the same issue.”
She decided to be proactive. She put up a Facebook group called 'Planning, Pregnancy & Postpartum Support in Bermuda', a prenatal village for women and external practitioners, that soon grew bigger than she expected.
This new community was the start of The Well, which has evolved into a maternal mental health and resilience space. With a dedicated website, monthly live webinars, a women’s health directory and a sustainable product line, Kristen is looking at her vision for the future.
Tell us a little bit about The Well
Our mission is to make sure that every woman in the world that wants a baby has access to a professional community and expert information, and finds strength, resilience, and inspiration, from the planning stage to the fifth trimester (going back to work).
It all started with a Facebook group in 2020, to give women a space to talk, access information, gripe – whatever they needed. From there grew an online women’s health directory of practitioners alongside a guided, peer-to-peer support group.
A year later, in January 2021, we launched 'Emerged', a holistic, seven-week postpartum therapy programme to support women within the first three months. Emerged showed me the true impact of collaboration when I launched it with seven well-known, local practitioners – a registered nurse midwife, sleep consultant, dietitian, physiotherapist, postpartum personal trainer, relationship coach, and newborn care specialist. Based on the programme’s success, I’m happy to say that we’ll be launching new webinars on topics such as infant feeding, pelvic floor health, family sleep, assertiveness, resilience training and more.
On the road to becoming a trusted, reproductive health umbrella, we have just developed our first sustainable product, Noémie, a collection of reusable menstrual pads. The response has been phenomenal, which gives us confidence as we plan to do more to help Bermuda reach the goal of banning single-use plastics.
How did Ignite help shape you as an entrepreneur?
I started on the Ignite Light Programme, which meant that I had unlimited access to The Hub as well as the creative business minds of Cohort 1. Starting there tested my patience, forced me to slow down, allowed me to get to know my own skillset and learn how to build a foundation before joining Cohort 2.
I had a different business idea before the pandemic hit, but being in your first trimester, sick, and terrified will change your reason for living. When I shared my new idea, no one bat an eyelash. In fact, Ignite helped me to build a hardcore pivot strategy that gave me the confidence to move forward in a new direction.
The exercises that we did in Ignite used a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and interpersonal style that armed me with the most important entrepreneurial trait: knowing deep-down why you’re doing it. This, by far, was the greatest tool for shaping me into a self-aware and confident entrepreneur.
What surprised you the most about starting this business?
What surprised me most was that, with all the work that I had ahead of me, I still wanted to spend all day and night building it. It’s true that, if you know why you’re doing something, it will get you through the hard times.
What challenges did you have to overcome when launching The Well?
I had no intention of doing anything digital – ever. It was way outside of my comfort zone. It took a global pandemic to force me online. I also suffered major imposter syndrome until Ignite challenged me. The mental blocks still come up often, but I now have the resilience to come back from it.
What's the greatest lesson you learned through Ignite?
Ignite taught me to reframe the negative ideas I had about failure. There is no such thing as failing – it’s all learning. Any experience – good or bad – is an asset. Whether you have a seed of an idea or a full-blown operation, I urge you to apply to the next cohort of Ignite. At the very least, you will come away with skills you will use for life.
What is your vision for the future?
We will continue on this path of providing accessible information and sustainable products, while experimenting with new technology. Before the end of the year, we will unveil the new branding and website for The Well, as well as adding new, online classes.
For the long term, I’m building relationships with people who share this vision of a health and resilience space for women at all stages of life. I’m driven by impact and working to establish myself within the femtech industry, which will allow me to change the lives of billions of women and families worldwide.
Learn more about The Well by visiting wellbermuda.com
The Ignite Bermuda programme, sponsored by The Argus Group, is a proven model to help you and your business or organisation accelerate. If you are interested visit ignitebermuda.com to learn more.