Vikki Weston was inspired to start She SUPs after moving to Sydney from the UK and experiencing the mental & physical benefits of Stand Up Paddle boarding which helped her to manage her long-term battle with anxiety.
She SUPs is an all-women’s Stand Up Paddle boarding community located in Sydney’s Northern Beaches & Eastern Suburbs. She SUPs is on a mission to empower women & girls through SUP adventures, encouraging women of all skill levels & backgrounds to share the joy of nature, connection & the company of likeminded women.
Here’s our chat with Vikki.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
I’ve always had the desire to run my own business from a young age. I grew up in a household where my Dad started his own business just after I was born and I witnessed every step first hand, as his business grew. I am also fortunate to have attended a Business Enterprise focused school, who were actually really proactive in getting girls into business and IT.
So, I had a lot of opportunities in my early teens that have definitely set some amazing foundations.
With that initial desire to start my own business, I was then always on the lookout for a customer problem to solve and the right time to solve it.
Looking back is there a piece of advice you wish to pass onto someone starting out their entrepreneurial journey?
Enjoy the early days, when you’re naive to the complex problems you will soon face and you celebrate every win because everything is your ‘first’. It’s so magical and I miss the simplicity of those days!
What was the best advice that you have been given?
I’m not sure where I saw it or who may have said it to me, but something that really resonates with me from this past year is “you can’t control the uncontrollable”. Keeping this front of mind helps me pivot and remain positive when things don’t quite go to plan – which is quite often being an entrepreneur in COVID times!
How have you personally measured your success?
Success for me is always about how many women I can reach and impact their lives in some way. I’m wholeheartedly fuelled by my mission to inspire, educate and empower women to take to the water, and when I receive personal messages of gratitude or read someone’s comments on social media about how my content has supported their journey, I do a happy dance as I know I’m meeting my goals.
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
Both. I love learning new things and growing as a person, but I’ve also learnt (the hard way) that I can’t do everything. This year has been the first time I’ve started outsourcing and it’s a complete game changer. Bringing in new talent gives a fresh perspective, and new ideas. I love it.
How do you generate new ideas?
When I give myself space and time, my mind becomes filled with so many ideas. But I need to really switch off, disconnect to let my mind organically wander. Once fully disconnected my mind is able to be truly curious, inspired by what I see, hear and experience. From this, the ideas come! Then, to develop a super wild idea into something tangible I have to doodle. For me, putting it down on paper is how I can turn it into reality.
The creativity. I’m a creative person at my core, but have struggled to find a ‘career’ that fulfils my creative needs, until I started my own business.
Who are the women around you that allow you to thrive?
My friends. I have several different friendship groups that support me in many different ways. Fellow entrepreneurial friends who understand the highs and lows of running a business and are there when I need advice. Friends from the UK who keep me grounded and connected to where I’ve come from. And a very special group of friends here in Sydney who cultivate the best conversations about goals, hopes and fears and encourage me to dream big and make it happen.
What do you do for encouragement or to be motivated?
I reflect and listen. I believe many other entrepreneurs would agree that when you receive positive feedback or achieve something amazing when running your own business, you probably allow yourself to celebrate for 5 minutes and then you get back to worrying about what’s next.
To motivate me, I take time to connect to my paddlers, reflect and listen to their feedback, and also take note of everything that we have a community have achieved over such a short space of time.
What keeps you going in difficult times?
My mission. Knowing that so many women have gained so much value from She SUPs in such a short space of time, and that there are so many more women that I need to reach, always keeps me going …and tea. Never underestimate the power of a cup of tea.
She SUPs is an all-women’s stand-up paddle boarding community aiming to:
- empower through education, making knowledge about SUP safety, our environments, planning adventures and paddle technique easily accessible and easy to understand
- lower barriers to entry by designing unique SUP experiences exclusively for women no matter their background or experience
- cultivate a strong supportive network of like minded SUP-loving women, that can inspire each other to hit the water, and gain all of the incredible mental and physical benefits that being on the water brings