March 15, 2023: An SVB Post Mortem

plus: what startup founders need to think about going forward, more opportunities to thrive in tech and events to watch

Profile: Tina Luu and Fable

What is Fable?

Fable brings sustainably made products to everyone. We are motivated by our vision to create products that are both enjoyable and ethical.

How has it been received by the market? Why do you think it has been so well received?

When we launched in November 2019, our products were so popular that they were sold out and on preorder for over a year. It was a challenge to be in stock.

Each of our product lines offers a unique value proposition. For example, our ceramics are hand-finished to give them an organic feel, whereas our glassware and crystal are more durable because we've taken the extra step to ion-toughen them.

How did you meet your founders/know they were the right people to start a company with?

More than five years ago, I met Joe and Max through Bench Accounting, and we have maintained our friendship over the years.

The three of us had unique strengths that complemented each other perfectly. Furthermore, we shared similar values in our approach, which have become fundamental to Fable's core values guide.

We believe in Sharing All That We Can, Owning the Outcome, Leading With Empathy, and Doing the Best Work of Our Lives.

What has been the hardest thing on your journey so far?

Personally, for me, it’s running the tech side of things with a very lean team.

It’s just me building features and managing 3 ecom stores and our integration with our ERP.

What has been the most pleasant surprise?

Raising two young kids and a startup is doable and can be fun.

What is your super strength?

I think my ability to remain calm in difficult and stressful situations. I aim to not let my emotions take over and focus on the critical tasks to get myself and the team into a better position.

Who is the unsung hero on the team? Why?

We have two phenomenal women on the team:

Josephine Au - Since she joined the marketing team our customer retention rate is at 58% in a 12-month period, that’s unheard of in the home space.

Christy Caza - Our sole products designer here at Fable. She’s the person behind all the products we’ve designed and created. I’ve seen some samples of products coming this year and I’m so excited to get my hands on them for my own home.

What are you trying to achieve over the next 12 months?

One of the biggest goals this year is reaching profitability with efficient growth. We're also working on new product lines that will expand from the dinner table into other rooms of the home.

What advice do you wish you had been given prior to launching?

Focus on packaging and shipping. Since our products are bulky and fragile, there needs to be a level of care and attention when packing the orders to avoid breakages.

What is the hardest new challenge of running a DTC business (e.g. supply chain)?

The hardest part is being a part of the supply chain that you have no control over outside of Fable and feeling helpless. For example, global events such as war or pandemics cause freight delays and impact costs.

What is the least understood part of running a DTC company?

As a DTC company that's under five years old, forecasting inventory demands with little data and history to rely on is a challenge. Our lead times on our products take several months; POs are placed almost half a year ago for them to arrive today.

Who are the 5 Canadian startups you like in your market?

  • Kotn - elevated silhouettes made for all day wear

  • Mejuri - redefining jewellery

  • Tentree - sustainable clothing thats protecting the planet

  • Deciem - science-backed skincare and beauty

  • Monos - simplifying the travel experience with expertly curated travel essentials

Connect with Tina and learn more about her journey here

Quick Takes: Where do we stand after the collapse of SVB?

*image credit: Bloomberg Finance

This week, we recorded a breaking news episode for Quick Takes on where things stand as of now with the current collapse of SVB.

Our team was joined by William Lam of Jeeves and Andrew Hennigar of BLG to break down what the future looks like for the tech ecosystem in Canada.

*This continues to be a developing story and we will keep the community updated as we learn more.

More Quick Takes returns next week

Quick Takes returns LIVE with a brand new episode on March 23 at 12:00 pm ET/9:00 am PT across the TechTO platforms.

Catch up on past episodes here, and subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Headlines and Content

  • #ICYMI - Catch up on past newsletters if you hadn't yet subscribed!

  • More Canadian Startup News for the week ahead >> READ MORE

  • The SVB post mortem: What startup Founders have to think about going forward >> READ MORE

  • Startup Decoupling and Reckoning >> READ MORE

  • SVB and the looming bank run contagion >> READ MORE

  • Raise news: Powered by People, a Toronto-based digital wholesale platform, raised US $8m in Series A funding. Altos Ventures led, and was joined by Golden Ventures and Susa Ventures >> READ MORE

TechTO Talent

Repair Solutionist, Hemlane (Calgary, AB)

Why is this cool? Hemlane is making property management a far more seamless process. Hemlane advertises your rental listing on the top 30 rental listing websites, sends interested tenants to your rental listing website to book showings, and provides an online rental application with a comprehensive credit and background check. Join them as a Repair Solutionist in Calgary >> APPLY HERE

Product Designer, Relay Financial (Toronto, ON)

Why is this cool? Their mission is to increase the success rate of small businesses. Traditional banking has been a growth limiter rather than a growth enabler for business owners, and they are working to change that. Relay is an all-in-one, collaborative money management platform. They're looking for a Product Designer to help them scale their design engine. As the sole designer on the team for now, you’ll have a huge impact on their product growth and have the opportunity to design features that create the best product experiences for their customers >> APPLY HERE

Senior Data Analyst, Borrowell (Remote)

Why is this cool? Borrowell is a Canadian company whose mission is to make financial prosperity possible for everyone. The first in Canada to offer free credit scores, Borrowell provides educational resources, monitoring, innovative digital tools, and personalized product recommendations to help people feel in control and optimistic about their financial future. You will be a key member of Borrowell’s Data Team. Your role will be pivotal in informing product initiatives and powering the recommendations they personalize to each of their 2.5 million members. You'll provide a window into business performance and help to make recommendations on what they build next >> APPLY HERE

*Reply to this email and let us know the jobs you'd like to see

Events and Links

Check out the interesting content, events, and happenings for the community here:

  • TechTO Special: Web3: March 22, 2023 - Learn all about one of the hottest topics in tech from the top innovators in the business >> REGISTER HERE

  • Best of TechTO Returns! April 3, 2023 >> REGISTER HERE - Limited early bird tickets available!

  • *EXCLUSIVE TECHTO INSIDERS SOCIAL: April 13, 2023 >> Learn more about how to attend on our website >> LEARN MORE

  • HealthTO: Privitization - April 19, 2023 >> REGISTER HERE

  • TECHSPO Toronto: May 18-19, 2023 - Where business, tech and innovation collide >> REGISTER HERE

Want to showcase your company, events, and opportunities to 60,000 subscribers across the Canadian Tech Eco-system? Reach out to [email protected] to learn more!

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