Renée Elliott: My Fairy Godmother
I’ve always had a few skills up my sleeve that have attracted me to entrepreneurship – I’m proactive, persistent and can problem-solve (though not without a little panic!) But when I first conceived of Leapfrog, I knew these traits would only take me so far. With no knowledge of the wellness market, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know.
It was because of a chance meeting with Kate Prince, the brilliant founder of Ancient + Brave, that I was introduced to Renée Elliott. It was November 2018 and I easily count it as one of the pivotal moments of my life. I was in awe of Renée when we met: sitting opposite me was a woman who, when she opened the first Planet Organic in 1995, pioneered organic supermarkets in the UK. She’s won Businesswoman of the Year, written several cookbooks, co-founded the Beluga Bean Academy wellbeing enterprise AND is raising three kids. If anyone could help me fill in the blanks of my fledgling business, it was her.
I explained the concept of Leapfrog – an innovative chewable supplement with Lactoferrin, Zinc and Vitamin C – and how I had the lofty aim of bringing a little-known natural anti-viral active to consumer consciousness. She listened to my impassioned pitch, and then – hallelujah – offered to mentor me. I started on her one-to-one BOSS programme: twelve sessions of highly focused coaching to shape a solid Leapfrog Remedies business plan.
We started with Purpose, and then drilled down into Values, Customer, Competition, Brand, Marketing, Numbers, and Cogs (legals, logistics and team). There was a formula, but her approach was always personalised. Excel spreadsheets terrify me, so she taught me to become friends with the numbers. When I felt overwhelmed by the dual commitments of family and work, she empathised but made anything seem possible. She’d say:
“Business is easier than raising kids”
Renée helped me clamber over hurdles, built my confidence and deepened my consciousness. Her practical tips have been golden: when she said I should attend the Bread & Jam networking festival, I applied to pitch to Selfridges, won a 10-minute slot and ultimately a listing for Leapfrog IMMUNE. I’ve scribbled down countless inspiring quotes from her (each one another brick for her pedestal!) and left every session with purpose, value and energy.
When I launched Leapfrog in September 2020, I asked Renée to join The Team (thankfully, she loves the product: she says Leapfrog has been an “absolute miracle” in her household). I call her our Fairy Godmother (it’s officially on the website!) and I am so grateful for her wisdom and calm. She’s helped me create a business that has integrity at its core. I was lucky to find an exceptional mentor, and hopefully, over the coming years, I can gather the experience to mentor someone else at the starting block.