Two sister-in-laws, Mary and Sandra, are behind the chic, Toronto-based children’s decor line, Catchu.
They both were having kids around the same time, and felt there was a serious lack of stylish options for nursery decor. They decided to team up and create their own space to supply parents-to-be with affordable, Pinterest-worthy items to fit out their kids’ rooms.
We chatted with them this week.
SDTC: What was your background prior to launching Catchu?
Sandra: I studied Business Administration at York University but I felt something was missing so I went back to Seneca College to get my Paralegal License. I have always had a passion for law so I have since worked in the legal field. Yet I was still searching for something more. I was never completely fulfilled and I knew I needed something that was mine. Catchu is that something I have been searching for and more.
Mary: I graduated with a Psychology degree from York University. I always wanted to pursue a career in Psychology because I’ve always been fascinated by the study of the mind. I worked in many fields and had planned on continuing my education in order to work in the clinical field of Psychology but after I had my son, my focus shifted from building my career to raising my family. However, I was always wanting and searching for something that was for me. I wanted to have my own business and I wanted it to be something that I was passionate about. Catchu was definitely the answer to that. I’m so proud of this dream that became a reality.
Was there a learning curve in launching your own online shop? What was the biggest challenge you encountered?
We were so naïve when we started. We thought the second we launched our site that orders would flood in so we had to make it completely perfect before it went live. We have made so many naïve mistakes along the way but we truly learned so much from them, the hard way. We are constantly still putting out fires on a daily basis but when the phone beeps and we get an order, we get super excited every single time. Every order means so much to us so we do our best to please every single customer, which in itself is a challenge. However, we would definitely say that our biggest challenge has been SHIPPING.
How do you select the pieces that you sell?
This is usually a lengthy process because we very carefully curate pieces to add to our collection. We are constantly on the search for more beautiful, unique and high quality pieces. We also try to keep up with the trends by doing research of the most popular colour palettes and items. We always choose pieces that we would want for our own children, and often we do buy our own stuff! Our motto is always “multi-functionality”. If you’re paying higher prices for higher quality items, we want them to also be versatile. For example: our new “see-ya suitcase” is an actual suitcase but is also a décor piece and is used for storage as well (3-in-1 functionality) and it’s adorable!
What are your most popular items this year?
Our canopies and ball pits are consistently our best sellers. Our canopies are truly magical and can transform any room. They are so versatile and can be hung over a bed, crib (in the corner or directly above), in a play nook, reading nook or even over a ball pit etc. Our entire canopy collection is made of the softest materials and have the most stunning selection of colours, lengths and details.
Our high quality, modern and unique ball pits are tons of fun for kids and can keep them distracted for long periods of time while mom can get things done around the house or even just sit and watch her kids play while enjoying a much needed cup of coffee. They are so fun for the kids but also so trendy that they also serve as a beautiful décor piece in your living room. Again, it’s all about multi-functionality! Also, our customers love this bonus feature – all our ball pits have a removable, washable cover which means it will always look brand new no matter what.
What’s your fave item this year?
It’s hard to choose between our babies because we truly love every single piece in our shop but we are currently obsessing over the boho trend, which we have introduced in our collection. That’s why our current favourites are the suitcases and rattan pieces including our change tables, luggy storage baskets and mini-chari bags (backpacks/picnic baskets).
Walk us thru a typical day in your life, from getting up until going to bed.
Everyday is just chaos for the both of us! We are constantly communicating throughout the day and working on Catchu.
Sandra: I wake up before my entire family to pack the lunches and prepare breakfast. Then I wake my children up and get dressed while they’re eating breakfast. Luckily, my husband helps a lot and it’s literally a tag-team effort in the morning! I drop my youngest off at daycare while the other gets picked up from the bus with daddy. I then head to work through horrible traffic at the opposite end of the city. I do my makeup at work because I am always the first one there and there is no time for me in the morning at home. My lunch breaks consists of running errands and working on Catchu. After work, I pick up my son from daycare and rush home to make dinner. I then shower the kids and make them a light fruit snack with milk and rush to get them in bed at a decent hour. Basically, I am always rushing! Once they’re asleep I prepare lunches and outfits for the next day and clean up. The rest of the night consists of working on Catchu. These are just the nights where there are no afterschool activities. Summer nights are more fun because we always try to squeeze in a walk to the park or a trip to the ice creams shop or maybe even both.
Mary: On the days where my daughter sleeps through the night, and I get some sleep, I wake up at 5am to try to squeeze in a workout, which is also the only me time I have for the day. Then I shower and prepare my son’s lunch. Next, I wake him up and get him ready to go to school with his cousin who also comes over in the morning. His younger sister also gets up when she hears them and they all have breakfast together and play (flip the house upside down) until the bus comes. After they leave, I clean up the mess they made, and do the routine house chores. In between those I’m also working on Catchu, and catering to my 2-year old’s needs which are never-ending. At this point, I reheat my coffee for about the 3rd time, get myself and my daughter ready and head out to run errands and work on Catchu and get some play time in for her at a toddler class because again, she’s only 2 and she needs lots of attention. Then, I go pick up my son from school and come home to make dinner while I’m also multitasking things like orders, emails, calls, changing diapers, stopping arguments and going over what my son learned at school. We also usually have afterschool activities so after dinner we rush to those, then rush back home to shower them, give them a snack and then my husband and I will put them to bed. You would think the day would be over by now but I look forward to this time because I can actually sit down and focus more on Catchu, in silence.
What’s the best part of running your own biz?
Seeing our customer pictures and knowing how happy our products have made those little humans. It’s the satisfaction of knowing we accomplished something that special.