On paper, Jason Carvalho seems an unlikely co-founder of MarilynJean.com, Canada’s first private sale and online shopping club. Its target audience is moms of kids age zero to nine years.
“I’m not married and don’t have any kids.”
That didn’t stop him when he saw a niche market. He connected with Cathy Thorpe, former vice-president of retail at Please Mum and board member at MarilynJean.
“She has a strong background in kids’ retail and a deep understanding of offline space.”
Carvalho was no stranger to online marketing. He was the first employee of Indochino and built the brand from $500,000 a year to $10 million. Through his in-depth conversations with Thorpe, Carvalho developed his vision of MarilynJean.
“Our value proposition is family first, which gives peace of mind to moms.”
He secured an initial angel investment in 30 days and MarilyJean was born. Within six months, more than 40,000 members had joined the referral-based, private sale shopping site and it had attracted 30,000 Facebook fans. Today the self-made entrepreneur runs his successful business with just 10 employees.
“The future is mobile. Keeping our company lean allows us to pivot and evolve as a brand.”
Carvalho is just as passionate about nurturing social entrepreneurship as building businesses. “I’ve been a big supporter of social entrepreneurship for the last 10 years.”
He founded the Canadian Social Entrepreneurship Foundation after attending three world conferences at Oxford University. Whether connecting with people through social networks or social entrepreneurship, Carvalho has carved his online path to success. •