Founder and CEO, Viita
As a Fashion Marketing graduate from LaSalle College, Raquel is founder and CEO of Viita, a company specialized in underwear for urinary incontinence.
Everything started with an idea developed in a class project. Raquel and her teammates created a concept, which they presented to a jury comprised of prestigious leaders in Canadian fashion, at the annual Enterprise event. They won the best team project of the year, which was accompanied by a $2,000 prize.
Afterwards, Raquel worked part-time while attending university and, at the same time, she devoted countless hours to developing her company. She succeeded in raising $70,000 in loans and subsidies. She appealed to textile labs, where she had fabrics produced and tested free of charge.
Fortune smiled on her thanks to the TV show Dans l’œil du dragon (Dragon's Den), where new entrepreneurs seek potential investors. She showed up to record the show with just one sample, without any capital and without any sales. For the most part, she used the same sales pitch that led her to winning first prize at the Enterprise event.
It was a success! Businesswoman Danièle Henkel loved the concept and entered into an agreement with Raquel.
Today, Viita is on the shelves of 3,000 Canadian stores and in 5,000 CVS pharmacies in the United States. A highly impressive journey, born from an idea a young twenty-year-old woman had in class.
What has LaSalle College taught you? LaSalle College has instilled good work ethics in me. Every second I invest in my work, at some point, comes back as a reward. I used to work 17 hours a day, without keeping track. Today, thanks to my success, I can afford to take breaks and holidays!
What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs? Surround yourself with people who know more than you do. Follow your instincts. Don’t doubt yourself. People used to chuckle and laugh at the mere mention of the word “incontinence.” Well, you know what? Many people struggle with this very real problem and they need a solution.