With her vitamin start-up carefuel, Vanessa not only wants to create a positive experience for women, but also to drive FemCare and Female Empowerment. In the interview she talks about her motivation, visions and tips for success.
Vanessa, ´FemCare with passion‘ is carefuel’s motto. What makes carefuel a FemCare brand?
With carefuel we want to give women an opportunity to strengthen themselves from the inside. We want to support women in different areas of life and offer a real alternative to feel good again. Here we are constantly in a development phase and want to cover different areas - from the menstrual cycle to pregnancy. I want to help women to strengthen themselves from the inside without losing enjoyment and lifestyle. The goal is to master the daily challenges as a woman and thereby enjoy every day to the fullest.
Why did you decide to start a FemCare brand? And why is FemCare particularly important to you?
At its core, FemCare stands for the well-being and health of women. And that is also our approach. But we see ourselves not only as a company, but also as an advisor and best friend. For us, FemCare is important because in the end it's about much more. It's about female empowerment, about education, and in general about women's bodies. And this is where we want to make our contribution. Fortunately, topics such as periods and the female cycle are more discussed. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of educational work to do. With carefuel, I want to be a companion to empower women and create a brand that they can identify with.
What is your vision for carefuel and Femcare or female empowerment?
Two out of three of the food supplement products are still on a traditional basis (tablets and capsules). We want to change that with our liquids. Vitamins should be fun again and be easily and quickly integrated into one's own routine. We want to accompany women on their way and offer them natural and innovative products for their daily challenges, which support them in every situation of life. Because everything starts inside the body. We want to dust off and enchant the food supplement industry. I think that is a long way and will take some time. We want to do a lot of educational work, especially in terms of Female Health, and to de-taboo topics related to women's bodies. Furthermore, I personally want to encourage women to go their own way and break with clichés about the female body.
What did you do to make yourself known as an entrepreneur?
At the end of 2020 we started a crowdfunding campaign and did a lot of press work! I told my story over and over again and reported on our mission at carefuel. I learned that you don't get discovered or asked. You have to be responsible for your own visibility. I share a lot on LinkedIn about my journey as a founder and carefuel. That helps a lot in terms of personal branding and expands your network. Here you get to know a lot of interesting people who open unknown doors for you. At the beginning of my founding life, I didn't really like networking. Now I think it's great because you get to know such great and inspiring people and always learn something new.
What tips would you give to other women in terms of confidence, well-being an success?
There are two things I have had to learn in the last 1.5 years. The first is to be patient. Success takes time. There is this saying: "Founding is a marathon - not a sprint" - I can agree with that 100%. At carefuel, we had a lot of idle time in the development phase, especially in the beginning, and often had to wait. I realized that you demand the most from yourself and sometimes things just take longer. My second learning experience is that when in doubt, others don't know any better. I had to get used to making decisions myself and on my own very quickly. I didn't know this from consulting. There, we mostly just made recommendations, but rarely made decisions. At carefuel, I often had to rely on my instincts, but I also often simply asked people for their opinions and exchanged ideas. That helps a lot, especially with complex decisions.
Vanessa Schäfer completed her Master's degree in Psychology & Management at ISM in 2017 and went on a backpacking tour through Southeast Asia after graduating. In 2018, she started her career in management consulting at PwC. A year ago, she finally decided to start her own startup. With carefuel, she wants to revolutionize the nutritional supplements industry and strengthen the topics of FemCare and Female Empowerment.