Celia Lopez (She/Her), CEO & Founders of Placemade.co
We had the pleasure of interviewing Celia (creator & founder of Placemade.co Toronto AND Canada’s first ever health and fitness workspace, designed specifically for health and fitness professionals) check out what Celia had to share with us about her unique experiences building Placemade.co.
What inspired you to start your business?
Placemade was born from my frustrations of being an independent fitness professional in the health and fitness industry. I felt there weren't any spaces for people like me to work successfully, and so I built Placemade to be precisely what I was looking for: a shared private training studio and workspace solution for health and fitness professionals to work with our clients.
What are some unique challenges you have felt as a woman or non-binary founder along your entrepreneurial journey?
I would say, my unique challenges have been based on my personal background and familial experiences. As a first-generation Canadian, to immigrant parents from Ecuador and the Philippines, entrepreneurship was not a thing in our household! It was foreign knowledge to my parents, as they came to Canada to provide a "better life/opportunity for us."
Which, to them, meant going to school, getting an education and working for a good company, forever! So starting my own business wasn't “a real job,” nor did they believe I could do it. I didn't have anyone to look up to, so I sought mentors who could show me the way and who helped me build my business and network.
How did it feel participating in our Pitch Event? What were some highlights?
Grateful and humbled to be a part of The Founder Fund Pitch Event.
It's a fantastic feeling to be selected as a finalist and winner of the Founders Fund Canada. The key highlights were being surrounded by other fabulous women entrepreneurs with strong pitches and great companies.
What were your thoughts when your business was announced as a funding recipient?
I was thrilled to hear Placemade was selected as a funding recipient!
My job as CEO is to share our business in a way that tells a story and makes you understand what we do. Doing this in 3-5 minutes is hard work!
Not to mention with an A-list judging panel, the fact that Placemade was selected, and that they scored us and gave great feedback, was a big WIN in our eyes. It also inspires me to keep building and doing what we are doing!
How will this funding impact your business?
We will leverage this as we do our Seed Round Fundraising. We’ll be sharing this funding win with our future investors demonstrating that, “IF THE FOUNDERS FUND GOT IN, IT MEANS YOU SHOULD PROBABLY GET IN ON THIS TOO! “
What advice do you have for other founders who are early in their entrepreneurial journey?
If you are creating or building something you strongly believe the world needs, keep going. Take feedback, listen to your customers, and be around those pushing you to improve to be the best company you can be. All great things take time! So enjoy the journey to the top AND HAVE FUN!