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The unexpected entrepreneur

The unexpected entrepreneur 44

By Leila Martyn, the founder of MyOva

The unexpected entrepreneur 45

Leila Martyn, the founder of MyOva

If five years ago you told me that today I’d be running a successful supplement business that had sold over 80 thousand bottles to date, I would have laughed in your face. Actually – more likely – I would have burst into tears. For, five years ago I was in the midst of a fertility battle I didn’t think I was ever going to win. I was beaten down and ready to give up on my dreams of becoming a mother.

Rock bottom upwards 

I was in the 1% of women who had experienced more than 4 miscarriages in a row, and I was also in the 10% of women have been diagnosed with PCOS. In 2015, I suffered my 6th pregnancy loss and was convinced that nothing good would ever happen to me. Looking back, I can see how things spiraled. One little knock after another can have that effect on your mental health, until it turns into a waterfall of disappointment that floods every area of your life. 

The only thing that kept me going was an incessant need to find out why this was happening to me. Dr. Google was my best friend, much to the disapproval of my friends and family. I was that person, who before my actual, qualified doctor’s appointment would have read every Mumsnet post, study and review outlining the reason for my miscarriage. And I’m certain that is the reason why I am where I am today.

You see, I find it very difficult to take no for an answer: I firmly believe there’s always a way, even if it means hitting rock bottom to find it. And, at that point in time, that was definitely where I found myself. As they say when you’ve hit rock bottom, the only way is up.

Then in Spring 2016, two things happened that would change my life forever. 

I discovered a natural vitamin-like supplement called Myo-inositol that would become the bedrock of my business, MyOva, and I found a specialist miscarriage doctor who would give me my two very-longed-for children. 

A product for good

To most people deciding to launch a supplement brand in the midst of despair, probably didn’t seem like the obvious thing to do, however, it gave me something to focus my attention on, rather than think about my current situation. I also knew that if I found this supplement helpful, then so might other people with PCOS.

Using my experience as a licensing agent (where I liaised with manufacturers to develop product ranges), I applied this skill to launching my own product-based business. I designed a Shopify website. I opened an account with Amazon. In October 2016, we launched MyOva. We had customers from the get go, which took us by total surprise, but it also made me realise there were so many people out there looking for a natural solution to their PCOS.

PCOS is such an emotive subject and wasn’t something I spoke about myself until I launched MyOva. Every woman dealing with PCOS has their own experience of the condition. Everyone is affected in different ways. It could be physically, or it could be emotionally; PCOS symptoms are either hidden, or there for the world to see. Whichever way it manifests, it can be hugely disruptive and devastating to the everyday lives of those living with it. 

In terms of research and funding PCOS is incredibly underprioritised. Many people don’t get the medical attention they require, or frequently have their symptoms misdiagnosed, resulting in not only a deterioration of their physical health, but also their mental health and wellbeing.

And it is specifically these people who MyOva is here for. To those who can’t seem to find the answer or to whom no one is listening.

Hustle and juggle

It hasn’t been easy. Entrepreneurship is hard. Harder than I ever expected, especially with two young children. Having my children twenty months apart, whilst trying to launch a business has definitely not been for the fainthearted. I also had this fantasy that owning my own business (and my own time) would mean more free time for me and my family and being able to work from anywhere in the world. But the reality of juggling young children and a business, coupled with a worldwide pandemic, hasn’t made that a possibility. 

When you run a small business you have to be on top of everything, from operations and branding to sales and marketing. It’s impossible to be good at everything: I’ve tried my best to learn as much as I can by reading up on various business subjects, so that at least I can have a general understanding when hiring others to do the job. I’ve also accepted that there are ebbs and flows within business and that you can never be complacent, so I try to forward plan as much as possible.

Where next?

My plans for MyOva moving forward are to continue growing and embracing our community. Our Facebook group, ‘The PCOS Collective’ is a place for people living with PCOS to connect and share their experiences. We are here to support women in every area of their life, because PCOS is multifaceted, and it can’t affect one area of your life without affecting another.  The unexpected entrepreneur 46

We hope that with the launch this year of three new Myo-inositol based supplements; Metabolism, Hair, Skin & Nails and Balance, in addition to our existing Preconception and bestselling Myoplus formula, we will offer a solution for every aspect of PCOS. 

They say that whilst you are going through a difficult time, you’ll look back and be thankful for what has been. I feel like this business found me at just the right time. It’s helped me grow, so that I can help others. I read recently that as soon as you are pregnant, fetal cells migrate all over a mother’s body, becoming part of the heart, the brain, and blood. So, whilst I’ll never meet the babies I lost, I know each one of them helped push me closer to ultimate purpose.

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