Building Culture on a Startup Budget

Kaleah Baker

Kaleah Baker, COO and Co-founder of BridesMade – Canada’s only bridesmaid dress rental service! After growing up in small town Saskatchewan, Kaleah completed her BBA in Marketing & Management at Bishop’s University, and her MBA at Wilfrid Laurier. Both schools are known for their tight-knit communities, so it’s no wonder that a collaborative culture would be a must within her own business. From startup to standout success story, Kaleah loves telling her entrepreneurship story. 

Some questions I ask:

  • How do you build a team of millennials leading millennials? 
  • If everyone isn’t full time, how do you motivate them? 
  • Your team is a well-travelled startup having gone through multiple incubators & accelerators. How have these experiences changed your company and what elements of their cultures have you adopted into yours over time? 
  • As a female-only team, how do those dynamics affect your team and what is your plan for the future to grow your team? 
  • What are your tips, from experience, for navigating fast-growth?

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Finding people who have previous experience with high-level performance such as in sport or music is an excellent way to build a team that can perform at the high level required in a fast-growth startup. 
  • Ensuring there are elements of fun in people’s lives is profoundly important to startup culture. 
  • In a monthly All Hands Meeting, allowing for people to ask the leaders ANYTHING can be incredibly helpful in preventing conflict or issues down the road 
  • Within the incubator setting, such as at Communitech, there’s a concept of “accessible help.” Kaleah’s advice comes with a caveat however, you can book time with her or anyone whenever it’s needed… but it’s your responsibility to know what you want to talk to about and clarify that the meeting is between the correct people. At Communitech, she mentions that when people ask for your time, you typically give it to them with undivided attention… as long as it is with the right person to be respectful! 
  • In a bridesmaid dress company, women TEND to be a bit more passionate… so that extra 5% of passion does go a long way to hiring females. It is complex in a female-focused brand to integrate that first man onto your team. The plan for now is to see at a point of exponential growth (~50 people), men will certainly be part of the hiring plan. 
  • Ask your people what they want and avoid assuming or telling them what they do. 

Learn More

Found this helpful? Why not share it!

Share on linkedin
Share on LinkedIn
Share on email
Share via Email
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on Reddit

Leave a comment