Meet Michela & Lois
Sisters Michela & Lois are winners of Parliaments MP Heroes Award, Precious Young Entrepreneurs of the Year Award & Voom Pitch To Richard Branson. As mentors and speakers, they have spoken for TED x UAL, The Mayor of London, Google, the British Library, Publicis Group and Virgin Start-Up. With an Apple New & Noteworthy podcast, they have also been featured on ITV's
"I'll Give It a Year", which featured their start-up journey from kitchen to Selfridges and Channel 5's documentary on gold.
Our Start Up Journey
Saint Aymes Legacy is rooted in the personal experience of sisters and female entrepreneurs and founders of Saint Aymes Michela and Lois and is a Community Interest Company founded by the sisters and their cousin, Nicole. Born in East Londons' Hackney in the 90s, Michela & Lois created the international brand Saint Aymes- despite limited network and funding. Starting with edible art 24ct chocolates, the sisters' whirlwind start-up story was featured on ITV's "I'll Give It A Year", where despite the doubts of host Barroness Karren Brady, the two successfully launched their chocolate brand into top retailers Selfridges, Harvey Nichols & Fenwick within one year. Later that year, following a failed attempt to raise capital and resounding "no's" from investors, the two opened up the Saint Aymes Cafe after being given a lease in Connaught Village from The Church Commissioners of Hyde Park Estate who champion independent businesses.
Self-funded through personal loans, the sisters spent almost every penny before opening, and to their relief made money day one. The shop was an instant success, going from 5,000 to 20,000 Instagram followers in one month. Now with over 107K Instagram followers, Saint Aymes is now known as one of Londons most popular attractions. Named the prettiest cafe in London, featured on BBC, Time Out, Japan News Network, Daily Mail and Channel 5 as well as visited and praised by celebrities Ashanti, Issa Rae, Leona Lewis and British Vogue Editor In Chief, Edward Enninful. Michela and Lois have proudly provided several jobs and have served as mentors and inspiration for women like them with dreams of owning their own business.
Having first-hand experienced the difficulties associated with not only starting up but maintaining a business, working alongside their mother & cousin, the two have transformed their mission & purpose of the Saint Aymes space to ensure that others like them don't give up before reaching the gold. "Put simply, it shouldn't be this hard. We have often considered giving up, not because our idea wasn't viable, but because the lack of access to resources and solutions resulted in an up-hill journey that felt near impossible." It is a feeling shared by many in their position, according to JP Morgan, only 3% of Black female-owned enterprises in the US lasts past 5 years. In the UK the picture is equally dire with 0.1% of UK Venture Capital investments by value going to female owned businesses. "Having realised that we were not alone in our experience we are committed to making the journey easier for others like us. Women and minorities are innovative, brave and ready to succeed, but lack of access to funding, advice and opportunities sees dreams snuffed out before being realised. This needs to change if we are to truly build a fairer world. "