From trash to treasure

It was a lack of space on the couch that led Adelaide mum Megan Olive to launch her luxury dog bed business, Critter Cube, which is going from strength to strength with support from IntoJobs’ Self Employment Assistance program.

Megan realised there wasn’t enough space on the couch for her two large dogs and the rest of the family, but she couldn’t find dog beds to match her décor – so she decided to make them herself by repurposing an old ‘human’ bed into a dog bed tailored to her home’s style.

“Once I made it, I thought it was really cool with matching cushions, and it didn’t look like a dog bed you just kick out of the way,” she said.

When Megan’s dog groomer saw the bed and asked her to make one for her as well, Megan realised there might be a market in Adelaide for unique pet beds.

“Once I’d made hers, I thought this could actually be a thing. There’s other people that really like it!”

With Australia’s pet industry valued at $3.7 billion, and demand continuing to grow, Megan found success selling custom-tailored, unique pet beds made out of old beds, suitcases and TVs at local markets and online.

Sourcing material from the side of the road, the rubbish tip, op shops and Facebook Marketplace, Megan said people were drawn to the novelty of the beds.

“The amount of feedback I’m getting is very encouraging. I lose my voice at the end of every market because so many people want to talk about the beds; it brings me so much joy.” she said.

“I have found that demand is high for these unique products because pet owners are looking for something that is a quality piece of furniture and comfortable for them. They tend to spend more on their pets because they love them.”

Megan used IntoJobs’ Self Employment Assistance program in Murray Bridge to help turn her talent into a sustainable business.

“I worked in admin before, so this is the first time I’ve ever had my own business. The IntoJobs team helped me put together a business plan and a financial plan. I had no idea this opportunity was open for me, I worked with Steve who really guided and supported me.”

Self Employment Assistance, delivered by IntoJobs and supported by Mas National (both part of the IntoWork Group), offers practical and confidential guidance and support on all aspects of starting and running a small business – from coaching, registering business names, website domains, business plan development, mentoring, and setting up an ABN through to financial, marketing, and strategic advice.

Services are designed to offer maximum flexibility and are tailored to individual business needs, with training delivered by highly qualified and highly experienced business coaches across a range of industry and service-based professions.

IntoJobs Business Navigator Stephen Chapple said Megan’s Critter Cube is fast becoming a fan favourite, “Megan has a unique business model and is prepared to work hard to achieve her goals. She is not afraid to ask questions and seek support where needed and continues to work closely with other Self-Employment Assistance participants.”

Megan said the Self-Employment Assistance program was extremely helpful, “I would not have the amount of stock that I have now or some of the contacts that I have made without Steve and the Self-Employment Assistance program. I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey through the program and would recommend it to anyone considering starting their own small business.”

Megan is now collaborating with other local businesses such as Love Potion Crystals, Galligans Mattress Factory, Olliver’s Story, Hoomans Best Friend Treats, Sticky Mojo, Red Dragon Embroidery and Brinkley ReUse Centre, ensuring all products are eco-friendly and sustainable. For more information on Critter Cube, go to https://www.crittercube.com.au/

For more information on IntoJobs Self-Employment Assistance, go to https://intojobs.com.au/self-employment-assistance/ or contact 1300 11 JOBS (5627)

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