Let’s meet Aldwyn Boscawen, founder of Morale, and learn about what led him to create the app and why connections are so important when it comes to boosting our wellbeing.
Tell us about life before Morale:
After I finished university where I studied surveying at the Royal Agricultural College, I worked for a financial lending startup in a marketing role – interesting move, I know. I always wanted to work in finance and have a particular interest in behavioural economics and how people tick, so this was a non-conventional approach to a career which combined all of my interests.
Because it was a startup, I had enough free rein to make mistakes and learn, which feeds into the test-and-iterate strategy I’ve adapted throughout my life as an entrepreneur.
After the startup, I went out on my own and created the UK’s first-ever men’s pedicure salon – another twist, but this is where my passion for wellbeing came into play. I launched Aldwyn & Sons in November 2019 because there was nowhere for men to go to unwind and relax in the same way that women do when they get a manicure or a massage. It was more than beauty therapy – it was about giving men the space to decompress.
Sadly, with Covid and lockdowns, Aldwyn & Sons came to an end in 2020 – giving me my first taste of failure in entrepreneurship. Learning how to cope with that failure, coupled with how difficult lockdown was, led me on the path towards creating Morale.
Where did the idea for Morale come from?
I went through a dark time after Aldwyn & Sons had to shut down and really struggled with my mental health. Through the tough times, I found myself leaning on my group of friends. Our main way of communicating was through WhatsApp where we’d joke, share positive messages, and support one another.
Once we were able to get out and about, we’d meet up for a chat and a wander around Battersea Park to set the world to rights. We started calling our weekly catch ups “going for a morale”. I was also working with a business coach at the time who was encouraging me to write gratitude lists and daily affirmations – but I thought about how much better, easier and more authentic would it be if my mates helped me with this and vice versa? And that’s where the idea came from.
Why do we need Morale?
Post-pandemic, the conversations around mental health and wellbeing have gained traction. Around a third of adults say their mental health declined from March 2020 onwards*; it’s even worse for Gen Zs, 9 in 10 of whom said loneliness made their mental health worse during the pandemic. This, coupled with spending more time online and on social media, has had a two-pronged negative effect on our general wellbeing.
Several studies have found that regular use of social media apps has an overall negative effect on an individuals’ wellbeing and in fact makes us feel more disconnected. My goal with Morale is to turn social media on its head and create a platform that’s positive, empowering, and helps us build connections.
Research shows giving and receiving compliments produces positive effects for both sides, with people who give social support 10x more likely to be happier and productive than those who don’t. Another experiment showed that when you get a compliment, it lights up the same part of your brain that shines when you receive money, proving just how strong a dopamine hit a nice word can give you.
Morale helps you take advantage of this and boost your mood by encouraging you to send anonymous affirmations to friends throughout the day – with the anonymity making it easier for some people to be selfless and give compliments more freely.
What do you want Morale to achieve?
I want Morale to be the support network in your pocket and act as an antidote to social media. I want people to harness the power of their friendships, build genuine connections, and support one another. As ambitious as it might sound, my vision is to create an endless cycle of positivity and change how we interact with one another – one anonymous affirmation at a time.