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Veronica Armstrong is the cofounder and CEO of Isle de Nature, a Boston-based home fragrance startup that recently placed runner-up at Roxbury Pitch Night, a virtual pitch night hosted by Venture Café New England’s Roxbury Innovation Center. Isle de Nature offers a line of home fragrance products starting with candles made from beeswax and soy.
Armstrong is driven by the belief that “unspoiled nature is a luxury” as climate change threatens the islands she draws inspiration from. Isle de Nature’s signature fragrance, Pagua Bay, is inspired by the bay leaves indigenous to Dominica.
Armstrong has deep expertise in e-commerce customer acquisition and product growth.
As employee #4 and the former Head of Customer Happiness and General Manager at Lovepop, Armstrong helped the brand grow from unknown to Sharktank to dominating the specialty card market. She spends her free time mentoring female entrepreneurs and was named one of the top 20 female VPs and Directors in Boston tech by Rev in 2018.
Pre-podcast Q&A below:
Where did you grow up?
How would you describe your childhood?
Quiet, focused, and enterprising.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned from your parents?
Serve my community and work as hard as humanly possible to always be financially dependent.
What did you study undergrad at UMass Amherst?
Interdisciplinary studies (I just finished my Bachelors this summer — long story but happy to share).
How would you describe your time in Indianapolis in your early e-commerce roles?
LOVED working on both B2B and B2C ecom as a digital marketer and PM but loathed the corporate culture where I worked. I was an absolute mismatch.
What drew you to back to Massachusetts, and more specifically Boston?
Opportunity, Indy is a small pond career wise.
What did you love most about your role as Head of Customer Happiness and General Manager at Lovepop?
Making customers happy is the driving force behind what I do and definitely what I enjoyed most about both roles.
How did you get involved with Isle de Nature?
I was approached with the concept in May 2018 after my now business partner came up with the idea while vacationing in Dominica.
What’s your elevator pitch for Isle de Nature?
We are a bee-powered, hive-to-home fragrance company.
What is the biggest obstacle Isle de Nature faces today?
Navigating retail tests during a pandemic.
Research tells us that Dominica is a beautiful, mountainous Caribbean island nation with natural hot springs and tropical rainforests. What’s an interesting fact about Dominica most people might find surprising?
It is home to the world’s second largest boiling lake!
On September 24, you’re due to speak at Startup Boston Week about overcoming the geographic challenges of building market share from afar. This advice is even more helpful for founders building companies during the current pandemic. Can you share a few tidbits you’ll be expanding on during your panel later this month?
Creating a network outside of one’s home base is key, it can seem overwhelming but the trick is to build out from your center and expand gradually by leveraging second connections.
What do you love most about living and working in Boston?
Full disclosure: I recently moved out of Boston and am living in Indianapolis (company HQ is still in Massachusetts and I will be back post pandemic so still consider myself part of the community) — my favorite thing is how accessible and helpful people are — specifically the startup community.
What has the pandemic taught you about the community of people in Boston?
That we don’t need face time to stay close and connected.
What single thing would you most like to see change about Boston?
Whew. Would be cool if it could someday become as progressive as it claims to be.