Alison Christensen and Patricia Cermignano (both MSc Strategic Marketing 2018) founded LaVie bras during their year at Imperial. LaVie is disrupting the nursing bra industry by delivering products that are comfortable, gorgeous and practical. They hope that Venture Catalyst Challenge (VCC) will propel them towards great success. Find out more about Patricia and Alison's startup below and how Imperial has helped them on their entrepreneurial journey so far. Follow their progress on Instagram and Twitter.
Tell us a bit about the startup you are working on…
By utilising antimicrobial, absorbent materials, LaVie bras eliminate the need for disposable nursing pads, which tend to be bulky, smelly, and require frequent changes throughout the day. By combining practical solutions with emotional benefits, LaVie combats post-pregnancy insecurities and encourages women to feel comfortable with their changing bodies. We are currently raising funds and going through product development/testing. We hope to have our products on the market by the beginning of 2020.
How has Imperial helped you in your career so far? Have you used any of the facilities?
We’ve utilised the Enterprise Lab quite a bit since finishing our course. From workspace to mentorship and networking, it’s an invaluable resource. We’ve just become members of the Hackspace and are excited to use their facilities soon.
Can you tell us about your studies at Imperial?
Our studies were so much broader than either of us expected. Whilst marketing was the priority, our modules took a more holistic approach and taught us many of the entrepreneurial skills upon which our startup has been founded. Both in and out of class, Imperial’s diverse, international student body helped us expand our horizons and gain a global perspective.
What is your fondest memory of your time here?
One of our fondest memories of our time at Imperial was of the MSc Strategic Marketing Marketing Plan Competition. Our group took first place for our project, which would go on to inspire LaVie.
Why did you choose to enter the VCC?
We wanted the opportunity to take our business to the next level, and we knew that the VCC programme would allow us to expand the skills, knowledge and networks needed to help us do that.
What would your advice be for budding entrepreneurs?
We would advise other budding entrepreneurs to be passionate about the work they’re doing and to be patient and persistent throughout the startup journey.
What makes you proud to be Imperial alumnae?
How could we not be proud to be alumnae of one of the top universities in the world? We have gone from being amongst the best and the brightest students to being part of a community of engaged and successful alumni.
What one word or phrase would you use to describe Imperial alumni?
Do you have a favourite quote or saying?
“She’s a dreamer, a doer, a thinker. She sees possibility everywhere.” - Kate Spade