Entering Entrepreneurship During A Pandemic

On September 1st, 2020, I resigned from my corporate job at Canadian Tire Corporation (CTC) to pursue my side hustle and become a full-time entrepreneur.

Olive & Fig Corporation is a Toronto-based grazing company that was born in June 2019 after months of self-reflection and a desire to add more to my life. Grazing is a concept originating out of Australia offering a new way of dining with specialty cheeses and meats being the core focus.

With a recent promotion to managing national executive recruitment in July 2019 and a focus on climbing the corporate ladder at CTC, Olive & Fig was for the most part a weekend endeavor until the end of the year, but it did provide a much-needed artistic outlet. All business was generated from Instagram or word-of-mouth until I quickly learned to create an ecommerce website and became well-versed in digital marketing as well. With more business came more content and this cycle continued until March 2020.

As we all know, the coronavirus entered our lives in March 2020 and most of us began remote work from home. Olive & Fig temporarily stopped operations as we and the world assessed the situation. I focused solely on my career, personal life and seriously contemplated not restarting Olive & Fig.

Mother's Day was on it's way in May and being such an important day to so many, especially during a pandemic, I got the itch to reopen as it was safe to do so. With everyone at home and working virtually, I pivoted to grazing boxes and never looked back! Olive & Fig's growth accelerated substantially especially as we caught the eyes of corporations seeking to add our products to their virtual events. During the summer of 2020, we secured notable clients such as Bell Canada where we were an integral part of over 100 of their Virtual Wine Tasting events hosted by a Master Sommelier for Bell's Executive Team and their C-Suite clients.

This pandemic has allowed so many of us the opportunity to spend more time with our partners, to self-reflect and dictate the direction of our lives. As Olive & Fig rapidly grew, I began to have serious conversations this summer with my partner, George, about what to do. Without expectation and what came as a very welcome surprise, George, while working virtually as Managing Director at a Wealth Management Firm, decided to take the leap to resign from his job a month prior to me!

Couple resigned from jobs to become entrepreneurs

At the end of August, I had received a missed call from Los Angeles, California. I thought it was spam and didn't think much of it until they kept calling. I decided to pick-up on the third call and I was astonished to learn it was an opportunity to work with the American Broadcasting Network (ABC) on an Emmy's-related event.

I saw this as the sign that I needed to finally submit my resignation to CTC. While I thoroughly enjoyed my career and position, I decided it was now or never.

When I first started this business, having 10 orders a day while working my "day job" was a huge feat for me. In the back of my mind, I always thought: "If I did this full-time, I wonder where this business would lead?" - my mission in life is to fulfill my potential and that doesn't happen with only doing things halfway.

And now, I'm here, with George (who is definitely an all-or-nothing kind of guy) and this is a real, profitable, ecommerce business after only three months of 100% full-time work. We have experienced month-after-month growth generating five figure monthly revenue during a pandemic! We have continued to secure corporate clients such KPMG, TD Canada, Sanofi, Desjardin, TJX Canada, among others and look forward to continuing to work with Bell Canada again this year.

With George's passion for cooking and my love for bringing people together, we plan to build the business of our dreams. The world looked so different to so many of us in January of last year. I definitely didn't think I (& George) would leave our corporate jobs and be running a full-time business at the end of it. I have seen so many people reflect on their lives in 2020 and make positive life-changing decisions.

How has this past year changed your life?

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