The Big Sister Experience is a social enterprise that provides wellbeing education and community support to young girls.
Real life sisters and former teachers, Bianca and Kritz Sciessere, realise how mental health affects a child’s education outcomes.
They use their knowledge and personal experiences to make a difference and support the youth of today.
We had the pleasure of chatting with them recently about their journey.
How did you come up with the idea for The Big Sister Experience?
Bianca: Kritz and I both have a personal story that made us passionate about supporting young girls. I had challenges with depression and anxiety. Kritz struggled with an eating disorder, self-harm and an abusive relationship. We were both teachers and have 14 years of teaching experience between us.
When we were in the classroom, we thought there must be more ways we can support young girls through the challenges that they are facing. We combined our classroom and personal experiences and we came up with the idea of The Big Sister Experience.
What’s something about The Big Sister Experience that most people won’t know?
Kritz: A lot of people don’t know what we do and what we teach. We have learnt those things the hard way. Everything that we teach in our courses and workshops, Bianca and I apply the same strategies to our own lives. For example: strategies to cope with anxiety and depression, in terms of setting boundaries, friendships, sexual consent and the things we had to learn in the past. These are things that we still practice every day.
What is your most memorable experience of working with young girls?
K: I remember in our first workshop, we were speaking about sending inappropriate messages and photos to people and discussing the consequences of it. After that workshop, one of the girls came up and gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you so much, I learnt a lot about sending nudes or inappropriate photos, I really appreciate it.” After that, her teacher came up to me and said that girl was in his office that morning because she had sent a nude photo and that the message that we taught helped her heaps.
B: At the end of every workshop, the hugs that we receive from the girls are the most memorable thing to me. They come up to talk to us, ask us questions and hug us. The real contact and connection that we made with the girls remind us why we do what we do.
What’s your experience of building a startup like?
B: It’s a real rollercoaster! It can be fun at the start to have all hands-on deck, brainstorm the ideas and the visions and do the planning. Then comes the hard work with the disappointments, frustrations, mistakes, money losses and deals made with the wrong people. These are all lessons learnt.
I think having a startup is amazing because you can see the growth and it’s rewarding because there are upward trends which shows you progress. Such as when you make a phone call and they said “Yeah! We have seen you on TV!” That’s rewarding but it certainly is a challenging journey. I think you have to be passionate and align with your mission and purpose to persist and see it grow.
Tell us about the experience you have with the LaunchHUB program.
B: It was an incredible program. Being accountable to the program helped us be successful because you had to think about the goals and make sure you are working towards those goals. We could see the growth of our business. Networking introductions and the one-on-one coaching we received took our business to the next level. We are so grateful for the knowledge and the genuine caring nature of everyone involved in the program. They genuinely want to see us be successful, see our growth, celebrate our wins and help us through our challenges. It was an incredible experience.
K: We were in LaunchHUB during our first lockdown, and it turned a negative situation into a positive. We thought our business wouldn’t survive, but instead it flourished and we had the most successful month in the history of the business during the COVID lockdown. That’s all thanks to the team and the support from RMIT Activator.
Want to achieve startup success? The LaunchHUB pre-accelerator program can offer what you need.
Acknowledgement of Country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.