Friends, I’m so excited to introduce you to Carrie for this week’s Mompreneur in the Spotlight segment. Carrie, a mom of two, left her corporate job and launched The Oakville Parent in 2016. She began her business with the intention of helping moms, their families and their children find resources, services and programs in their communities, and from there, it’s continued to blossom. Check out her inspiring interview below!
Tell us who you are.
My name is Carrie and I’m happy to introduce you to The Oakville Parent!
I moved from Toronto about 5 years ago with my husband and eldest daughter. Not knowing too much about this lovely community on the lake, we quickly settled into our life here and have grown to love Oakville. We recently added a 2nd daughter to our family and I began The Oakville Parent in late 2016.
In my previous “Corporate Life” I worked in digital media sales working with a number of national brands in Toronto and Montreal. I always knew I wanted to start a business, something I could build from the ground up and shape myself. The Oakville Parent is very much a passion project.
What inspired you to start The Oakville Parent?
I love writing and I wanted to create an online space local moms and families could visit that would inform, inspire and connect them with local resources and lifestyle content.
The Oakville Parent is less than a year old and still very much in its development stage. What I started out with, content and goal-wise has changed over the last several months as I learn what resonates with the community I’ve built.
Tell us about your business.
What began as an Instagram feed documenting my travels around Oakville with my eldest daughter grew into an online destination for families and business owners to discover, connect and experience local. I love the creative side of the business, building the website, writing content, developing its social footprint; I enjoy working with other business owners and often encourage guest writers to come on board.
What has the response been from the community?
I’m a big supporter of collaborating and working to lift others. When I first launched, I quickly
learnt who my supporters were and those who immediately labeled my brand as competition, however misplaced that may have been. Over the last several months with traffic to the website and followers continuing to grow I’ve discovered that what I’m offering both businesses and the community is something unique which is what I’m really striving to accomplish.
How do you manage your time effectively (both with your kids and with your work)?
With a lot of help. My oldest is in school full time while my youngest attends preschool a few mornings a week. Family helps fill in the gaps and thank God for nap time!
What’s the most difficult thing about growing your brand?
Time. When I worked in the corporate world, time felt more on my side. I was in an office full time where my whole day was devoted to my work. Now, with two young children I need to balance work with family needs.
What would you say is The Oakville Parent’s biggest achievement?
Offering unique, customizable solutions for local companies to connect with the community that follows The Oakville Parent.
In my opinion the traditional banner ad, the button ad, simply posting a company’s upcoming sale on your Facebook page, is an uninspiring promotional tactic. You need to dig deeper and help a company/brand tell their story – one of the main reasons I launched my “People of Oakville” series was to provide for a platform in which business owners could share their message in a more meaningful way.
What role has social media played in growing your brand? What other marketing tactics do you use?
To date, it’s been everything. Instagram is personally my favourite social platform and I think that’s reflected in my following and engagement. What I love most about social media is learning about new companies and discovering like-minded individuals and of course, all the beautiful images I scroll through. I also use email marketing and cross promote with many industry experts and guest contributors to grow my reach and brand awareness.
What tips would you give to moms wanting to leave their corporate job to launch their empire?
Plan ahead and ensure everyone in your corner (e.g. partner) is on side. Work out a reasonable start-up budget for what you’re willing to put into the business to get you going and choose your marketing expenditures wisely. Good luck Mamas!