Success Story: Mona Saenz
Posted on in Success Stories
Mona Saenz never thought she’d be a business owner. She graduated from St. Mary’s University with a degree in Economics and worked for most of her career in the mortgage industry. In 2012, she became very ill. She thought it was stress-based but ended up diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that put her in the ICU. When she recovered, her doctors told her she needed to change her lifestyle. She looked into holistic care and essential oils and found that they helped her manage her symptoms. She couldn’t find any wearable diffusers for her essential oils that were varied and re-purchasable, so she created a prototype line, shared photographs on Instagram, and Original EOB was born.
The business took off from there. Mona started doing pop-ups and expanding her line. As the operation grew, she wanted to get more support to grow her business and to make sure she was on the right track. A friend recommended the Women’s Business Accelerator program, run by the WBC, a partner of LaunchSA, and she jumped right in. The support, mentorship and guidance provided went hand in had with the basics she already knew. Mona says the accelerator “really put me in a group of women that could support me. We lifted each other up and I found my tribe, which meant the world when I felt so alone before.”
She recently competed in LaunchSA and Macy’s Female Entrepreneur challenge and took home the third place prize. The program helped her refine her pitch and consistently provided meetings with feedback. “I wasn’t just thrown out to pitch, I got support,” Mona says. She went through Shark Tank process before and found it much less rewarding because they gave her no guidance and had no follow through. LaunchSA provided mentorship and was much more interactive. Mona says, “Beginning to end, if you want the help, they will give it to you.” When asked what advice she would give to anyone seeking help at LaunchSA, she said, “Be open to feedback and be honest about what you need. There are a lot of resources that can help you get to the next level.”
Now, Mona has an affinity and love for LaunchSA and LiftFund because of the genuine support they provide her. “It’s not ‘come in once and let you go’, they keep reaching out” she says.