A business is born
Following graduation, Salehi was employed as a brand manager for Mega Bloks, while Bellows worked in sales at PepsiCo. At the five-year mark, however, each began to consider their future career plans.
“I started to get an itch, and thought about what I wanted to do next,” says Salehi. “Being my own boss and taking on a new challenge appealed to me. Mike was in the same place. We began meeting and brainstorming startup ideas. Mike brought in a friend, Marc Elliott, BComm 14, who had owned a landscape business and was looking for his next opportunity. Marc shared his experience as a landscaper; how difficult it was to source plant material. That’s where the idea stemmed from.”
The learning curve was intense for Salehi as she immersed herself in the world of plants and trees, learning myriad names of flora and plantation processes. Today, she oversees all of GoMaterials’ marketing and product development.
Salehi develops website and paid media campaigns, creating sales pamphlets and tradeshow booths. “On the product side, we're developing an app,” she says. “I work with technical product managers and the development team to apply users’ feedback and implement features to improve their experience.”
Since its inception, GoMaterials has doubled in size annually and now serves customers in New York, Texas and Florida, in addition to Quebec and Ontario.
Kunsheng Zhao, MCSc 12, is the fourth co-founder of the company, which employs about 20 team members. In Quebec, GoMaterials has been involved in high-profile landscape projects, including at Parc Jean Drapeau.
A full university experience
Salehi encourages current and future students to make the most of the university’s rich supplemental offerings. As a John Molson student, she participated in an international exchange program and served as director of events for the Commerce and Administration Students Association.
“Network as much as possible and meet as many people as you can,” she says. “Try out different extracurriculars and join associations because that's going to enrich your experience. There's more to university than just going to class and going home.”