Hyacinth Hits the Ground Running
New Life Journeys CEO Hyacinth Mills was the 3rd place winner in Rising Tide Capital's 2012 Start Something Challenge.
July 11, 2013—Rising Tide Entrepreneur and raw food advocate Hyacinth Mills won third place in the Start Something Challenge back in 2012. Now she plans to invest her $5,000 prize money into her new business venture, FLOW Cuisine—a raw food café and store, coming to Montclair in 2014. We caught up with her to see how she’s doing!
Where is your business now?
Things are moving forward! I have security investments for the restaurant and I’m getting ready to sign a lease on a location in Montclair. After the Start Something Challenge, we’ve been moving step by step to get the funding we need to open. I started a 6-week IndieGogo campagin which managed to raise $6,000 and shortly after that, secured investors. We’ve been negotiating, talking and looking at locations together, and by end of this month, I should sign a lease on a new location! It’ll take time for construction and set up, but the plan is to have everything open by January 2014. It’s an exciting time!
How did the Start Something Challenge help?
Entering the Start Something Challenge and having a fixed deadline really propelled me to get a clear picture of my business and exactly what I wanted to do. Putting the pitch together also forced me to practice sharing my idea so that I could articulate it to strangers. This practice really helped me when I later pitched my idea to investors, and the fact that I won gave me credibility. Whenever I see an investor now, I always mention the SSC.
What was your most memorable experience from the Start Something Challenge?
Doing the pitch—going up in front of a group to do a pitch was one of my biggest fears. Being able to get up there and actually do it, and then get as far as I did really gave me a sense of accomplishment. As a business owner, it was affirming to have people recognize and resonate with my idea—enough for me to win.
The second most memorable experience is the Start Something Champions Gala. I heard from inspirational speakers including Elaina Watley from Brand Initiate and even had a round table discussion with the founder of Priceline.com, Jeff Hoffman! Meeting everyone at the gala and experiencing the energy was a really special experience that I won’t ever forget!
Would you encourage other entrepreneurs to participate?
Go for it. Do it. Don’t be scared—just do it. Don’t even think twice.