Interview with Margaux Cassuto from Ivory Bow

Interview with Margaux Cassuto from Ivory Bow

She was born and bred Montrealer infatuated with her city. After a nearly decade-long career in foreign affairs and a short time living abroad, she decided it was time she contribute to a better tomorrow in a meaningful way.  Enter The Ivory Bow Company. This is her initiative to contribute to the empowerment of women and help develop the economy at the same time. Read her latest on the topic here.

What inspired and motivated you to create this type of company, knowing plenty of subscription box companies exist out there.

Last summer, I was interviewed by We Rule, a platform for women entrepreneurs. During our conversation about my first entrepreneurial venture, I learnt that women entrepreneurs receive significantly less funding than their male counterparts. I was really surprised to discover this in 2017 (!!!) and have since done a fair amount of research on the biases plaguing women entrepreneurs in North America. The findings motivated me to commit to helping promote entrepreneurship among women. I designed The Ivory Bow Company (online shop and subscription box) around that mission. We sell the products of women entrepreneurs, we distribute them, we offer them support and we try to connect them with each other and other mentors.

Our next step is to help fund them… but that is still far down the road for this new start-up.

What differentiate your brand from the others selling the same type of subscription service? Did you like one in particular and wanted to start something similar? Tell us why you decide to go with this venture instead of another business model.

The Ivory Bow Company is one of a handful of subscription boxes that serves engaged brides-to-be. While planning my own wedding, I know I would have loved to receive  a monthly box of gifts to spoil and support me, like Ivory Bow. I pick each and every item in the box accordingly.

 The Ivory Bow box solves a few problems that are recurring in the subscription box business model. All too often, subscribers receive useless items or items that don’t suit their style. Each box at Ivory Bow is curated so the items sent are useful and we try to tailor the contents as much as possible for our subscribers.

How do you source the product you include in your boxes, and do you have certain values in mind when choosing a product or brand. For example being cruelty-free or vegan. What is the process behind the creation of a new box.

The mission of The Ivory Bow Company is to empower women entrepreneurs and deliver their products with love. As such, our pre-requisite is that each item sold in our shop and packed in our boxes is made by women and cruelty-free.  We also give preference to companies that give back to charity.

How long did it take you from the time you had the idea, to the actual launch of your business. Did you have any doubts along the way, and what were they, and when did you realize you had a winner.

There were about 3-4 months of full time work between the conception and the launch of The Ivory Bow Company. Of course, it continues to be a work in progress evolving closer to our ideal every day. When the idea first struck to create my own subscription box, I did some research on the subscription box model and was amazed by the possibilities – I simply knew I had to pursue it.

What is the most challenging aspect you had to deal with since the launch of your business.

Being an entrepreneur means having to do every little and big job necessary to make your company run efficiently. With only 24 hours in the day, I have discovered time to be the greatest obstacle to entrepreneurship.

Who created your website, and did you invest into a photographer to take professional pictures.

Our website is entirely designed by me and my tech-savvy sweetheart, husband- and powered by Shopify. A lot of the photos are courtesy of our brand partners but also our own talented photographer.

I notice on your website you have a section #MadeByWomen, a place where we can learn more about the women behind each brand you sell, something I absolutely love by the way! Why was it important for you to create this space.

The empowerment of women has become too much of a catchphrase with not enough people being catalysed into action. The goal of the #madebywomen section was to do something about it by encouraging women entrepreneurs to share their stories and experiences, inspire other women and develop a supportive community. The hashtag was designed to carry all that and celebrate everything women achieve. 

How do you promote your company? Do you use social media as a way to leverage your potential reach, and what is your vision behind the visual of your Instagram? What is the main message you want people to get when looking at your pictures.

Social media, Google and Facebook Ads, strategic partnerships and good ol’ word of mouth. Since the company is in it’s first year, we are still exploring different avenues to connect with our customers and advance our mission. We want our customers (potential customers too) to meet the women entrepreneurs behind the box through our social media. We want them to fall in love with our products and shop their support.

If you had one advice to give to someone looking to start her own business, what would it be and why? Anything you would have liked to know before you started your own company.

The most important lesson I have learnt is to know your audience and give them what they want. There are so many tools at our disposal today that put this sort of information at our fingertips beginning with Google Analytics and trickling all the way down to that loyal IG follower who likes all of your posts.

With that said and based on my own experience, I wish I entered this entrepreneurial venture with a more specific idea of who my audience was and an immunity to the pressures of pleasing everybody. 

Any thing exciting coming up for Ivory Bow.

Since Ivory Bow is only entering its second quarter everything is still wildly exciting. We are enlisting new women entrepreneurs daily and adding products we know you will love. In the months ahead, we will launch our Mother’s Day Box, our Women Warrior Box (to benefit Breast Cancer Survivors in May) and The Graduate box.

We will also be launching our workshop series in the fall. Keep checking our website for updates.

Photos: Valérie Gay-Bessette Photographie
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