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Olivia, meowbox CEO here! With our headquarters in Vancouver, BC, meowbox has always been proud to be a Canadian brand. And we’re in good company: this city is full of amazing businesses that are led by such talented and creative women. I’m lucky to have met many of these ladies through local events, mutual friends, and a WhatsApp group where we share business tips and support.
If you’re facing crunch time for Christmas gift shopping (or just looking to treat yourself after a hectic year!), here are just a few of my favourite women-owned businesses that are based around metro Vancouver.
For the loungewear collector
Smash + Tess
If you have Instagram and like to shop, you probably already know of Smash + Tess’s iconic rompers. Founded by a mother-daughter-bestie trio, this brand’s dedication to comfort, versatility, and style has earned them a cult following of celebrities, influencers and everyday women alike. I’ve known co-founder Ashley for years, even before she started her brand! I own a few of their pieces (which have all become staples in my closet) and many of my friends and family are fans.
Brunette the Label
They may be loved universally for their oh-so-comfy loungewear, but the heart of Brunette’s brand is uplifting others and “babes supporting babes.” Even before collaborating with them, I owned many of their pieces. Founder Miriam is a fellow cat mom (to a sweet kitty named Baguette!), and an avid supporter of the BCSPCA.
Leze the Label
As someone who travels often, I’m always looking for clothing that’s put together yet comfortable. Leze the Label is changing the game, producing sustainable workwear that feels like PJs. I just received my first pair of Leze pants in the mail, and they’re so soft and cozy but look professional. I’ll be wearing these any chance I get!
My new go-to underwear (and hopefully, soon yours too)! Every pair of Huha mineral undies is thoughtfully designed, using high quality and breathable fabrics that are good for you and the planet. They fit amazingly, are extremely comfy, and come in a variety of flattering cuts and colours.
For the fitness buff
Vitae Apparel was born when founder Selene, who was a competitive swimmer, struggled to find swimwear that was both cute and durable. I came home from their recent warehouse sale with a huge haul of their loungewear and activewear, and I’m in love with the fabrics, fits and designs. Selene may be one of my closest friends, but Vitae would be one of my faves even if I wasn’t the tiniest bit biased.
If you live in Vancouver, you know the importance of waterproof footwear! Vessi is best known for their 100% waterproof sneakers, which are a lifesaver for West Coasters. I’m obsessed with white sneakers, and the Weekend shoe are my favourites of all time. I even bought a pair for my husband.
Londre Bodywear not only makes gorgeous, eco-friendly swimwear, but also raises funds and awareness for women’s health and environmental initiatives. I absolutely love the brand’s focus on quality, inclusivity and making as little impact on the planet as possible.
For the trendsetter
Olive + Piper
If you’re searching for jewelry that is affordable, timeless and made to last, look no further than Olive + Piper. Owner Tania is one of the most hardworking people I know, and so humble. I could see myself wearing her pieces for holiday parties, weddings, or even possible future bikini competitions. No more corny stage jewelry.
When owners Samara and Salina joined the WhatsApp group for women business owners, I must admit that I fangirled slightly. Samara is one of my favourite online shops. I love their simple but elegant bags, their dedication to sustainability, and the fact that their products are 100 percent cruelty-free.
I met Adrienne at our airline job, where we often have meaningful chats about entrepreneurship. She very recently launched her new brand Thrifted Avenue, repurposing thrifted silverware from around the globe into custom rings. The artistry and fine attention to detail make these pieces beautiful gifts for friends and family.
For the self-care enthusiast
Founded by a sister duo, Blume creates skin, body and period care products that are gentle on the body and on the environment. I met Taran and Bunny when meowbox started, and now that celebrities are raving about their deodorants and they’re counting Sephora as a stockist, they’ve come a long way since! I’m so proud of them.
My husband Lee introduced me to Shady Acres co-founder Christie, his best friend’s partner. Founded alongside her two sisters, Shady Acres is all about natural, locally handcrafted bath products. The brand’s name was inspired by the sisters’ family home in Langley, which was surrounded by shady trees.
Our Events Manager Justine introduced me to her friend, Krystal Hall, aka the lash artist extraordinaire behind Adorn Lash Artistry. Whether you’re a newbie to eyelash extensions or a longtime client, Krystal will make sure you feel comfortable and welcome during your appointment. I love her work so much that I’ll happily make the almost two-hour roundtrip drive to her private studio in South Surrey.
Vegan, cruelty-free beauty brand Icemelk was inspired by founder Dawne’s grandmother, who used natural ingredients as skin care remedies. Icemelk’s products feel just as luxurious as something you’d find at a high-end makeup store, but are made with nourishing, locally-sourced ingredients such as maple extract, ice wine, berries, meadowfoam and hemp. Dawne is also a longtime family friend and one of meowbox’s OG supporters.
For the nester
For my fellow apartment dwellers, Views Balcony Bar is your one-stop-shop for beautiful balcony decor and furniture. Founders Jesse and Ashley started the company when they lived in Toronto, noticing that many of their friends had an outdoor space, but didn’t maximize it. Their balcony bars, lights and decor give you a way to slow down, connect, and enjoy the view. (On that note, Jesse and Ashley: let’s have dinner soon!)
Shopping for a green thumb? WC Jungle is my favourite store for lush, healthy plants and adorable plant accessories. Owner Taylor has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to plant care, so don’t be afraid to ask her questions! The Main location is dangerously close to the meowbox office, so you can expect to see me there.
Mala the Brand
With their heavenly scents, beautiful packaging, and simple, high quality ingredients, it’s no wonder why Mala candles have gone viral recently. (I can’t wait to try the Cereal and Peppermint Cocoa scents, to name a couple). Mala is run by founder Melody, her mom, and a group of other wonderful women.
Not only have we stayed connected with the OwlCrate founders since they launched around the same time as meowbox, but we even share the same lovely US fulfilment team! Through their book subscription box service, founders Korrina and Robert deliver a love of reading to young people across North America. Plus, they’re two of the sweetest people ever.
For the entrepreneur
The Reels Course
You may know social media marketing queen Taylor Loren from Instagram, TikTok, or her online workshop at last year’s meowfest Virtual. Previously the head of marketing at Later and Girlboss, Taylor is now sharing her IG Reels expertise with fellow business owners, influencers and social media managers through her own online course.
The Boss Gram Academy
For the cat lover
When I met Madeleine Belanger at her vendor booth at meowfest 2018, I had no idea she would someday be meowbox’s Community Manager! Madie is the super humble but mega-talented illustrator/kitten fosterer behind Considerate Cat, a tarot deck inspired by the stories of real-life rescue kitties. You can also find her adorable pins, greeting cards, book bags and prints through her site and at local shops around Vancouver. She’s currently working on her next art project: Considerate Cat playing cards.
I met Michelle Furbacher when she was first forming the idea of Catfé. With all of the city’s bylaws, opening a cat café in Vancouver didn’t sound easy—but I knew that if anyone could do it, it would be her. Fast forward to now, and Catfé is a hotspot for local cat lovers and caffeine lovers alike. They even offer prepaid admission punch cards for “furequent” visitors, which would make a great gift.
Of course, I couldn’t list my favourite women-owned Vancouver businesses without including us! meowbox is a monthly or bi-monthly subscription box for kitties, delivering the most creative, entertaining toys and yummy cat treats right to your doorstep. For each box purchased, we donate a can of cat food (or monetary equivalent) to a shelter feline on your behalf. If you’re shopping for gifts, choose between gift boxes or a redeemable e-certificate.
For the creative
Community Clay Studio
Earlier in the pandemic, I signed up for Gabrielle Burke’s six-week pottery class to help combat cabin fever. I’m so glad I did! Pottery has become one of my most fulfilling hobbies and I have Gabrielle to thank for introducing me (and the whole meowbox team) to it. Her studio, Community Clay Studio, hosts classes, workshops and private events. It’s a fun activity for couples, friends, and even groups.
I stumbled across Katie Shocrylas’s work on Instagram years ago, and fell in love with her distinct colourful style. She did my sleeve, and donated a cat illustration to meowfest 2018’s silent auction. Her books are usually closed, but if you check her Instagram, you might be lucky enough to snag a flash piece of last-minute opening. Katie is incredibly talented, humble (I’m noticing a theme here) and 100 percent worth the wait.
Sugar Love Designs
While I’ve been lucky to chat business with Stacie Bennett, owner of Sugar Love Designs, I’ve had the equal pleasure of trying her delicious cookie recipes! Stacie brightened up the meowbox team’s quarantine with a Zoom cookie-decorating class, and hosted a fun cookie workshop for meowfest Virtual. She’s outgoing, driven, and makes edible art that is to die for.