Let’s kick-off 2022 by celebrating the journey of Marina Stathakis, founder of Damaged in Darkness – a social innovation platform that raises awareness for mental health.
Damaged in Darkness is intended to be personable, relatable and transformative to their audience, as they provide their community with the agency to speak their truth.
About Marina Stathakis
Marina is 24 years old from Toronto, Ontario. Marina wanted to create a platform and an organization that offers more inclusivity, and that advocates for an important social cause. She wanted a platform that offers various forms of expression, a sense of belonging, and one that reduces the stigma surrounding mental health, so she created Damaged in Darkness in April 2021. To date, Damaged in Darkness has received 74 story submissions and she is grateful for the support as the community continues to grow.
In 2021, Marina completed her post-graduate studies at George Brown College, Toronto, achieving the Dean’s Honour List in her Digital Media Marketing Program. Recently, she completed her entrepreneurship program with startGBC. In 2019, she graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Communication studies.
What made you want to become an entrepreneur?
I never thought I would be an entrepreneur to be honest. However, I’ve always recognized that I’ve been an independent person from a very young age. I was fearful to start something in the beginning but I always go by the saying, “you never know if you don’t try.” If you fail, it’s just an opportunity to pivot, learn and grow. This is a new world for me, and I’m still learning as I go. It’s been a year of discomfort, but you need to be uncomfortable to reach your full potential. So far, it’s been a great year and I’m excited for what’s to come. I appreciate everyone who has been supporting me and my vision thus far.
Why did you create your business?
As a writer, I realized there are limitations to specific writing platforms. For instance, limiting forms of expression, having specific writing guidelines, or requiring writers to have experience with content writing to have their story published and to feel “heard.” I wanted to create an organization and a platform that offers more inclusivity, and that advocates for an important social cause.
I think we all need to feel heard and supported, especially with what is going on in our world today, so I created Damaged in Darkness. My next step is to launch clothing products that offer a new form of expression, next to the writing platform. A percentage of the profit will be donated to a mental health organization that I have been working with. I believe that it’s important to always give back in any way that you can.
What successes have you enjoyed so far with building your company?
I think the biggest success I’ve enjoyed so far is watching people connect and relate to other people’s stories. I never truly realized the power of connection that the platform could offer. It’s truly eye-opening and comforting, realizing there are various people dealing with similar struggles. In a way, it makes you feel less alone and understood.
What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
“The biggest advice I would give to aspiring entrepreneurs is just try something because you never know if you don’t try. I think it’s important to trust in yourself and your vision. In the beginning, sometimes people won’t understand your vision, you might feel alone, or you might question your own idea. Always trust yourself, and rely on people that support you and give you proper constructive criticism. It might be uncomfortable at first, but discomfort is where true growth happens.” – Marina Stathakis