This month we caught up with Ormeau Baths resident, Toyah Warnock, co-founder at Lane 44 who are on a mission to remove plastic from the bathroom, starting with razors. Here Toyah shares what excites her most about entrepreneurship, tips for staying positive during lockdown and the biggest lessons Covid-19 has taught her about entrepreneurship.
Name & role:
Toyah Warnock, Co-Founder at Lane 44
Company elevator pitch:
At Lane 44 we are removing plastic from the bathroom starting with your razor.
Business/career goal for 2021:
We want to make Lane 44 the benchmark brand for sustainability in the D2C space.
What excites you most about your role?
The autonomy of being an entrepreneur has been so refreshing compared to my previous position in academia. Each day is completely different and I am constantly learning, adapting and growing.
What are some of the coping mechanisms you’ve adopted to try and stay positive during lockdown?
The most important thing for me over lockdown was to get out on a walk every single day even if it was raining. The change in scenery really helped clear my head and decompress from the daily Zoom marathons!
I would also like to give a massive shout out to Caroline Girvan whose 10-week Epic fitness program on YouTube kept me sane and on track whilst the gyms were closed. For anybody who is in any way fitness inclined you have to give it a go!
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur during lockdown?
Location has become irrelevant with the growth of video communication platforms. Lane 44 was founded in March 2020 right at the start of the first lockdown so pretty much everything I have learned on this journey so far has been online. At the start of 2021, we joined the Propel accelerator and we have been exposed to so many great mentors who live outside of Northern Ireland who we might never have been able to meet if the program was not being delivered online.
Going forward, has the Covid-19 outbreak impacted your approach to business and entrepreneurship?
We initially approached Lane 44 as a B2B business focusing on building relationships with large high-street health and beauty retailers. COVID-19 forced us to reconsider this as a viable route so we began selling online as a D2C brand. We believe that lockdown has actually been a blessing in disguise as almost everyone has been living in an online retail world and this has allowed us to learn more about our customers and help grow a brand that they all individually feel connected to.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs right now?
Avail of all the advice and help possible, through Ormeau Baths, Catalyst, Ignite and Invest NI – Belfast and Northern Ireland as a whole is a great hub for entrepreneurs in 2021!
If you had to enter into a talent show what would you do?
I think I would enter MasterChef, I like the idea of cooking amazing food under pressure!
Tell us something people would be surprised to know about you.
I absolutely love doing DIY and building flat-pack furniture.
If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
Wine is one of my greatest passions and I would love to be a sommelier or master of wine.
Who is your dream business mentor?
Whitney Wolfe Herd.
Name one resource (book, podcast, publication etc) that has had an impact on your approach to business.
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg was an eye-opening read for me and it really made me re-evaluate how I approach both business and personal relationships. If there is one quote from the book that truly resonated with me it would be – “Fortune does favour the bold and you’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try.”
Where can people find out more about your business?
We have recently started a TikTok @lane44uk where we chat about our plastic-free journey!