We first met Desk Nibbles at Legacy 2016, a conference with the objective of inspiring students to awaken their inner entrepreneur. They understood that we are not our best when we are hungry. They also knew that there was a deceptively simple solution to get people away from the vending machines: deliver them healthy snacks to work. Emil and his co-founder, Eric Kys, saw this opportunity and decided they could do something about it.Read Emil’s Story…
Most days, you won’t see Emil Aite around at My Byward Office. But his presence is felt, or more accurately, tasted, in meetings, lunches, and parties in the space all the time.
His company, Desk Nibbles, is a snack delivery service, with the mission to improving work productivity through satisfying the munchies, with options that are healthy, fun, and delicious. Emil and his business are on a mission: to end workplace hunger in all offices across Canada. If you’ve ever sat through a day at work with your stomach rumbling, waiting for your next meal, you cannot be your absolute best. Healthy and fun snacks should be within a short reach, so you and everyone else can be their best at work.
Emil originally started out in the field of computer science, but it was his parents that he says got him into the snack business. “Growing up it was awesome having my parents pack my lunch and snacks for school every day. They were pretty strict on healthy choices: I always had pumpernickel bread, quinoa bars and never really drank soda. These were some good habits I carried on through high school, university and even when I started my first office jobs. However, I realized not many people did this and lost out on the benefits. I mean people are busy and don't have mom or dad to pack them a healthy lunch and snacks everyday. At Desk Nibbles, we set out to offer that same experience in the office.
Desk Nibbles is now in their seventh month of operation in Ottawa, and recently expanded to delivering Canada-wide. They serve anyone that wants delicious snacks in their office, often as a perk that benefits both the employees and the company, helping boost staff morale and retention. “This is key for modern offices,” says Emil, “and a big reason we’ve been able to sign some larger clients such as You.I TV. However, like I said, everyone loves snacks in the office. We’ve got many local businesses as well, such as real estate agents and lawyers who love snacking just as much.”
Desk Nibbles has pretty straightforward rules when it comes to snacks, as Emil is happy to tell you, “the snacks of course need to be healthy, fun, and tasty, but beyond that we’re working to create a snacking environment that everyone can enjoy. No matter what your dietary preferences are we offer snacking options to meet your needs. Gluten-free, allergen-free, organic, natural and of course generally healthy snacks make up over 50% of the snacks we currently offer. On top of this, snacking with Desk Nibbles goes back to support local Canadian businesses across our country. Most of our snacks come from local producers to keep business in our communities, and build on the Canada we all love.”
On the business side of things, Emil gave us a surprising answer when we asked what makes him successful: “I don’t think I’m very successful yet, and I’m not sure if I ever will consider myself successful. There will probably always be things that are ahead that I want to accomplish. However, I do believe we have a successful team and business, we set out to offer a better office life experience and we really do. It’s always amazing to hear somebody give us a shout out saying we’re making their office life better. We accomplish this because we put a lot of effort into finding a foolproof solution for a simple problem.”
Dorota Turlejski, the Founder of Uplawed Professional Corporation is one of the consummate professionals that calls My ByWard Office home for their business, and I am thrilled to call her my friend. She brings her expertise to our community when some one needs quality legal counsel related to wills, estates or taking care of the processing real estate transactions such as purchases, sales and financing. Her approach to legal practice is fascinating to observe, as she is a trailblazer: by leveraging new digital technology, combined with her LEAN business model and flat fees, it allows her clients to self-serve the elements that they can do themselves, making the entire process more flexible, faster, and more affordable.Read Dorota’s Story…
“People want a lawyer that is a human first, a legal professional second.”
Dorota created her legal practice, Uplawed, in August 2015 when she found that not everyone that needs a lawyer wants to sit with them in a staid, highly furnished office that you might find in many office-based legal firms in Ottawa. Many clients found it much more helpful, and easier, when their lawyer would come to them.
Built on a LEAN business model, Uplawed, focuses on real estate law and preparation of legal wills, with clients throughout Ontario. Based out of our co-working space, Dorota takes advantage of mobile services and technology to bring her services to her clients, wherever they might be. Uplawed is dedicated to providing legal services that are accessible, transparent, and charge flat fees.
When you ask her what makes her successful, she’ll tell you, “Surrounding myself with creative and successful individuals who kick butt in their field.” You’ll see Dorota in and out of our co-working space, always heralded by the arrival of Pharah, Uplawed’s Chief Office Dog. She found that the presence of her hypoallergenic Basenji helped relax clients that are comfortable with dogs, while reminding people that though an accomplished lawyer, she is also a human being that cares and listens.
When Dorota is meeting with clients privately, Pharah will grace the rest of the office with her presence, greeting and inspecting everyone (most probably looking for snacks!).
When asked what her favorite analog device was, Dorota said the oven. But why? “Well, when you put some vegetables together with some seasoning and put them into the oven, they start out quite plain. But when they come out, energy has been applied and now they taste delicious. This is like real life – when you apply time and energy to something, it can turn out quite exquisite. This is an analogy that I use in my work and life.”
Casey Li, entrepreneur and Founder of BiteSite has been co-working with My ByWard Office since our beginning and embraced our tribe of creative professionals and small businesses. His team have a keen attention to detail, and help set the tone of community and collaboration that we have in our shared office. They are a lot of fun and share their expertise of Software Development or Film Production.Read Casey’s Story…
Most days you walk into our co-working space, you will almost always see Casey and his team hard at work on their latest project. Casey’s company, BiteSite, is a software development and film production company that produces compelling media for business.
Started in June 2012, Casey founded BiteSite after he became tired of not being in control of aspects of his work that were really important to him – he strongly believes that the values that you develop the culture of a company around, the way you do things, and the type of work you take on are critically important, so he chose to build a company around these values.
This value-driven model shows in the way they work – What makes Casey and BiteSite stand out is the culture and process they use – striving to only take on clients and projects that fit who they are. Casey says, “we try our hardest not to just take on clients and projects because they'll generate income, but to take them on because they fit our culture and process which leads to high-quality end results.”
When you work with BiteSite, you can be sure that the relationship will always be based on mutual respect between client and company to deliver the best product possible. They also want to have fun in their work, not in finding projects that Casey and his team have fun working on, but in company practices around flexible work time and location.
When you ask him about what makes BiteSite successful, Casey focuses a lot on the work environment, “we spend dedicated time and effort on our culture and practices. I think many startups at our stage focus on getting more and more business, but don't sit down to think about what they believe in and what their culture is all about. I consciously spend effort in our early stages think about what are the things we do everyday as it's the easiest time to make it a habit, and the most effective way to have it grow with the company.”
StartUp Ottawa & Telfer School of Business