Voss Babe Female Entrepreneur Series — Shan McLaggan, Co-Owner Of Anupaya
For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.
At Like A Voss Social Media, we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Shan McLaggan, Co-Owner of Anupaya.
Shan (and Pete) wanted to create a company with a higher purpose. Unconventional, transparent, and generous. Celebrating and protecting the wild spaces they love so much. Because business has the power to create positive change in the world and because they wanted to be a part of something that doesn’t only chase the bottom(less) line, but values community building, environmental stewardship, and honours these wide-open spaces, too.
And so, Anupaya was born.
Their aim is to use authentic and courageous storytelling, conscious consumerism, community engagement and damn fine goods as a powerful way to use business as a force for change. Anupaya is as bootstrapped as they come. They sold their business, sold their dream house, moved into a damn basement and jumped in.
Anupaya has since moved out of said basement and has BIG plans for the future. Stewardship, conservancy, wilderness retreats in the woods, tiny home vacation rentals, and cleanups across Canada and all around the world.
Anupaya is about 100% accountability, 100% transparency and 100% higher purpose.
Our CEO Mandi interviewed Shannon about her secret to success in business and in life. We also got some awesome insights into what she thinks makes social media such an effective tool in business.
A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur
1: How long have you been in business?
We sold our yoga studio in October 2017, starting dreaming up Anupaya right after that and officially launched in July 2018! Just passed the two-year mark!!
2: What made you decide to break away from the 9–5 and start Anupaya?
Growing up, Pete watched his father work incredibly hard to build a thriving and successful business and I think having that example to look up to really impacted Pete. He always wanted to be his own boss, make his own way. So we’ve never really done the 9am-5pm thing, to be honest. We went from being musicians/bartenders/yoga teachers to entrepreneurs about 12 years ago and have never looked back!!
3: What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur?
Mmmmm. Well, I absolutely LOVE the idea that you can use commerce and business for GOOD. I love that making money AND creating positive impact doesnt have to be mutually exclusive. I love that no one gets to tell me how much money I can make in a year. I love that I can change my mind. Make mistakes and get back up. I love that I am showing my children, my daughter in particular, that women are a FORCE in the world. That we can be ambitious and excited and STILL be a loving and engaged Mama. That we can see problems and pain in the world and choose to participate in the healing and the helping. That we are powerful and brave and soft and and caring and the world needs that now more than ever.
4: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur?
Allllllllll the self-critique and imposture syndrome. Who am I to start a business? Who am I to try to clean up our wild spaces? I’m not smart enough, young enough, thin enough, and on and on and on. It’s endless and so damn detrimental. I’ve learned that almost everyone suffers from this to some extent and the more successful we become, the more entrepreneurs I meet, I realize that people are just people. No one has the magic wand, no one has their shit together, no one is more deserving. So now when I hear that critical, limiting voice creep up, I take a few breaths and turn it around. I put my head down and get to work. Cause the people that get shit done, aren’t necessarily naturally talented or highly gifted or unique. The take a step. And then they take another step.
5. After looking through your website I did see that you are an Official Pending B Corp, and that it takes 12 months to actually be certified. Can you tell me a bit more about this process and what you’ve had to do to be considered?
Ahhhh B Corp. When I first heard about BCorp, every bone in my body started screaming YES!!!! This is it!!!! Business for good!!!! It just felt so RIGHT. So we took the time (soooo much time) to apply and take the steps to becoming a Certified B Corp. We’re not there yet. To be honest, it’s not really set up for very small companies like ours. Owner-operators who work from home. Benefit Corporations, while they are INCREDIBLE, are really targeted towards larger companies, with a board of directors and massive plans in place around fair and equitable measures for staffing and sourcing and partnerships. We just aren’t there yet. The work for FULL certification is literally hundreds of hours and mostly our days are spent just keeping up. Growing. Hustling. So it’s taking us some time, but we’re chipping away at it. It’s just BIG. So, soooooooo needed and necessary and cool and impactful. I couldn’t love and support B Corp more. Every decision we make, every sourcing choice, every purchase, every shipping supply — we are always bringing it back to the principles of B Corps, cause its the pinnacle of ethical business practices for social enterprises. Check back in a few months, we’re working our buns off to reach full certification by the end of this year 🙂
And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!
6: Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why?
Insta for sure. We are only on FB and Insta and personally, I just get more inspiration from Instagram. I know that there is a lot of good on FB too, but mostly it just kinda seems like the place to go to crawl up on your pedestal and argue with strangers!!
7: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?
I am really drawn to the aesthetic of things. The thoughtfulness, the intention, the feel and vibe that you can create through imagery and branding and storytelling. Instagram, when used as a tool for CREATION rather than CONSUMPTION, just feels inspiring and compelling and cool. I love that I get to connect with interesting folks every single day on this platform.
8: How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?
I’ve built our company on Insta. Yeah, the heart and soul of Anupaya is the people, the community and the cleanups, but Instagram has allowed us to cast such a wider net. To connect with folks from afar. We might not all know each other personally or get a chance to meet face to face, but the hundreds and hundreds of conversations I am having in my DMs — the jokes, the friendships, the support — it all feels very real and meaningful and like, a community. And THAT, in my opinion, is what builds a brand.
9: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?
High-quality visuals from the get. Investing in beautiful photography, creating a cohesive and appealing visual experience. Your colours, your textures, your vibe. Keep it consistent. Know what you are trying to say. What is your brand saying? What does it represent? What are your beliefs and your values and your dreams and your vision? Let that settle in and marinate into every single post you make.
And most importantly, connect with your followers. They are your PEOPLE. Your crew. Feel deeply, humbling grateful for every last one of them. What a privilege it is to have people support you — don’t waste it. Get to know them, be curious about them. Be honest with them, be yourself with them. Business is alllllll about relationships. And online, those relationships are built in your DMs.
A Little More About Shan
Obsessed with animals, gardening and her babes, when Shan isn’t building Anupaya, she can usually be found in the woods, hanging with her sweetheart, devouring true crime shows on Netflix or snuggling up with a big bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream on the couch 🙂
Connect With Shan
Know Any Voss Babes?
Do you know a female entrepreneur who loves social media as much as we do? Contact us today — we’d love to tell her story!