Emma Lewis started Canvast after working in a male dominated industry where she realized the importance of strong women leading by example and showing other women what is possible with belief and hard work.
Canvast is a dateless life planner that values empowerment, adventure, learning and planning designed for every girlboss, high achiever and OCD planner.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
I was working in a male dominated role with very little female support. I had a really hard time trying to prove I was just as capable and valuable as the guys in my office, and was constantly battling to be treated equally.
I realized how important it is to be surrounded by strong, inspiring and uplifting women — Canvast is the paper version of having your best friend with you when you need it the most.
Tell us about your business.
Canvast is a dateless life planner that is focused on empowerment, adventure, learning and planning. It’s dateless because we don’t believe in waiting for a new year to start chasing your dreams.
Women are notorious for doubting themselves and their abilities. Canvast is about grabbing you by the shoulders, looking you right in the eyes and saying, “yes, you fucking CAN!” (then giving you a massive cuddle and an encouraging butt tap on your way out!)
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
Just contact us and say you heard about us from LadyBossBlogger and we will provide a very special discount for you!
Launching?! Haha we are only a new business, having launched in November 2017, so the accomplishments are yet to roll in.
Where is your business based?
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
First, telling the little voice in my head that said I couldn’t to take a walk. I found a creative agency who was able to make sense of the ideas in my head and put them into logical designs, and then a website and samples were made! It’s insane, once the ball is rolling, what you can achieve if you plan, track and keep focused on what you’re trying to get done.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I have done a little bit of targeted facebook marketing, and have been lucky enough to know a couple of amazing women who have significant followings who have done me a SOLID by instagramming about Canvast. It’s been by word of mouth so far!
I have realized really quickly that people will be drawn to you if they’re interested in what you have to say. From 0 followers, we now have 1000 after 3 months. As someone who didn’t have my own personal following to bump onto Canvast, I’m pretty proud of that number.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Sales. We’ve done really well considering the timing of our launch (generally people will buy planners at the end of the year) and a limited budget when it comes to influencers. Brand and product awareness is also a challenge.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I have gifted a lot of Canvast planners in the hope that the women I send them to will fall in love and tell their followers. Call me naive, but I despise the thought of having someone who doesn’t align with the Canvast values or only “re-grams” because they’re being paid to do so.
I believe in the message we are putting out there and would rather everything we do be 100% authentic. If that means we aren’t an overnight success and it’s a slow burn, I’ll take that.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I remind myself how bloody far I’ve come! I remind myself what I’m trying to achieve. I give myself a reality check that with zero business experience I’m doin’ alright. I look through my camera roll of the screen shots I’ve got already from Canvast girls planning adventures and getting their goals done. It’s inspiring. And kind of ‘pinch yourself’ crazy.
I’ve launched a product that is on amazing women’s desks, handbags and meetings. I’m pretty proud of that.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We aren’t some cookie cutter planner. We keep you accountable so that even on days where you slip a little, we’re there reminding you to pick yourself back up and keep going. We don’t repeat ourselves. We give you real advice that you apply and track.
We’re sassy and fun and are full of real talk that’s still very inspiring (in a non-lame way, of course).
What is the best advice you have received recently?
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t do it if you are afraid of hard work.
Surround yourself with people who encourage you. There will be plenty of people who will doubt you and laugh at your ideas and probably talk about how it won’t work.
If you believe in what you are trying to do and have a strong “why,” you can do any-bloody-thing you want! But it’s hard work. God, it’s hard work.
What are your favorite business tools/resources and why?
I love podcasts! They’ve taught me a lot about time management. Do your social while you’re sitting on the toilet (seriously), listen to business podcasts while you’re cooking dinner, make phone calls while you’re out for a walk.
Canvast is all about constantly learning; there are so many online courses you can do (most are also free if you’re happy to register your email) and have golden nuggets of info. Find the “masters” in your area and replicate what they do.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
OMG, The Barefoot Investor. It is the easiest book to read about money, and so easy to apply. I’m HUGE on being smart with your money and this guy… so good!
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
Sales. I don’t have a sales background at all and I have to sell myself and Canvast daily.
Don’t get me wrong I have my days where I doubt everything, but I have this burning confidence that once people know about Canvast, see it, feel it and start using it, the rest will come.
So more than anything I guess awareness for Canvast is the thing I’m looking for help with.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
I want to design the second Canvast planner for 2019 and design a second product, the quarterly Canvast planner for creatives/entrepreneurs/small business owners.
In order to be able to do those I need to sell current stock, create awareness/hype around Canvast and continue to work/design with my graphic designers.
Oh, and also believe in myself!
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.