MEET OLIVIA CANLAS – ENTREPENEUR, CAT MOM AND OUR NEWEST #SMASHTESSFAM
We don’t know about you, but we’re OBSESSED with subscription boxes! Like a fun gift to yourself, making your mail day a super exciting one, but what about your furry bestie? Meet, meowbox! Founded by a close friend of ours, Olivia Canlas, meowbox is a subscription box for your favourite feline. Olivia has had an incredible journey from working with airlines to appearing on Dragon’s Den, and we’re thrilled to introduce you to another of our favourite female founders.
Vancouver has been home to some amazing start-ups and we love sharing these success stories with you. Olivia is down to earth and her story is super interesting! We couldn't think of anyone better to share their start-up story and offer their advice with you than Olivia.
You have quite an impressive and diverse resume before meowbox. Can you tell us a bit about your time before starting your business?
After high school, I was encouraged to go to post-secondary for nursing. To be honest, I didn’t do so hot, since I was more focused on expanding my social circle than hitting the books. Eventually, I shook my life up a bit; I worked a number of interesting jobs until I realized that business was my calling. I later took a course in small business management, saved up money working as a bartender and dental assistant, and immersed myself in travel. It was after gaining some life experience that I landed on the idea of meowbox.
How did you come up with the idea for meowbox?
I was bored one late night, aimlessly scrolling through Facebook. I kept noticing ads for a dog subscription box and, as a cat mom, I wondered if there was something like this for cats. Back in 2013, there wasn’t! I realized very quickly that I had discovered a gap in the market and it was going to be my mission to fill it. After all the years of knowing I wanted to own a business but didn’t know what it was going to be, the opportunity finally presented itself.
Starting a business isn’t always as glamorous or easy as it may seem. What was that journey like for you?
(Ask Ashley…a lot of sweating! lol)
There’s nothing glamorous about launching a startup! But boy is it ever THE most rewarding thing I have ever done and that I do today. I had no idea what to expect when I started meowbox…there was no time to think! I’ve never worked so much and so hard and so passionately on anything ever.
The journey was full of many long days, late nights, wins and losses, and huge amounts of learning. One thing I have to mention as well is the immense support I always had from my friends, family, and cat community. Most significantly, I feel gratitude to have a purpose and career that is fulfilling and a brand that brings happiness to so many cats and people.
What was your experience like on Dragon’s Den?
I was SO nervous! The experience was surreal and still feels like it was someone else on that set. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to pitch, to experience something new, and to share meowbox with more cat lovers.
What is the best piece of advice you were given when starting your business that every entrepreneur should know?
Launch, even if it’s not perfect. Because it’s never going to be perfect, even two, five, ten years down the road.
Who inspires you?
Female founders inspire me. All the ladies who lead their teams and their industries, they give me the inspiration to reach for more, have pride, and to be present.
What is your fave way to rock your Romper?
Long gone are my high-heeled stiletto days. I love my Romper with a comfy pair of runners and a nice piece of jewelry.
What does your ultimate Sunday look like?
Self-care sleep-in Sunday! That involves a bajillion-step face care routine while having a spicy caesar.
Fave pump-up song?
Right now, I’m loving my 90’s rock anthems.
What does being a part of the #smashtessfam mean to you?
I’m thrilled to be part of a group of progressive, laid-back women who know how to be comfortable while fashionable.
How amazing does Olivia look in our Sunday Café au Yay and the Street to Chic set in Sahara Tiger?! You can shop the blog below!