Helping you start, expand or purchase an early-stage, non-tech business

Jen McMullan, Preloved 2 Beloved Furniture Redesigns Founder

Tell us about your business

We are a growing online furniture shop providing modern, well-made, recycled furniture. We fill the gap between mass-produced, environmentally-unfriendly furniture and bespoke designer pieces that not everyone can afford.

We choose quality vintage furniture, and redesign it with modern colours and new hardware. We take the guilt out of redecorating by offering an eco-conscious solution to making your own home beautiful.

It was a home-based business started during COVID that, with the help and guidance of Starter Company Plus, has since grown to be a fully incorporated company with a commercial space and consistent month-over-month growth.

What did you learn from your Starter Company Plus program experience?

Starter Company Plus (SC+) basically took 6 or 12 months of online research on how to start a business and provided it in comprehensive lessons over the course of one week. They had amazing guest speakers and lessons throughout the months that really, honestly, share the ‘need to know’ essentials on each of the topics.

With SC+, we quickly learned the key decisions to make when starting a company and then, we were able to understand the impact of what we chose for the long run of our business. For us, we always wanted to grow and be a leading local provider of furniture, so we set up the systems and structure we needed to do that.

The grant money provided us with the ability to pay a lawyer to properly incorporate, pay an amazing web designer to set up our Shopify store better than we could have done ourselves – and we bought a piece of equipment to improve the air quality when painting.

What advice would you have for other entrepreneurs?

Honestly, joining SC+ put us about 12-18 months ahead of where we would have been starting the business all alone.

Now we are into our second fiscal year of operations, and we’re improving processes and systems – not fixing them, as we would need to have done if we had tried to set up our business alone.

What’s next for your business?

For us the key is growth and getting more items recycled and onto our website. We are already seeing positive results from Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google, so, one day we will be an everyday option when you need “new” furniture for your home!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Invest Ottawa choose to support
BIPOC as Starter Company Plus’ 2020 priority?

At Invest Ottawa, we know that diversity, inclusion and belonging are critical success factors for globally competitive organizations and are required to drive sustainable wealth creation and prosperity across our region. As an organization that doesn’t simply accept differences, but celebrates and supports it, we prioritize the creation of an inclusive culture and infuse diversity into our programs, operations and governance. As has been widely identified, racialized people face significant barriers in accessing resources necessary for starting and growing successful businesses. In a 2017 survey on ownership demographics of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Canada, data shows that only 13.6% of businesses are majority-owned by BIPOC. Of this 13.6%, only 3% of businesses are majority owned by BIPOC women. We at Invest Ottawa have recognized this gap, and as such are delivering Starter Company Plus 2020 to specifically help address the needs of racialized people and help close the equity gap in our local entrepreneurial landscape

What is 2SLGBTQ+?

2SLGBTQ+ is an acronym used to refer to people, as a group, who identify as Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Trans, Gender Independent, Queer and Questioning. The plus sign acknowledges the many sexual and gender minority people who don't see themselves in the umbrella acronym and prefer other identity terms such as pansexual, gender-free, or intersex.

Why “womxn”?

The word "womxn" is an alternative term to the English language word "women." We use this term to explicitly include those who identify as women, transgender women, women of colour and non-binary individuals. This choice supports our concerted effort to create a culture of belonging.

This program is made possible through funding from the Government of Ontario.

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