Canva, Small business

Female Entrepreneur ROCKS Graphic Design Capabilities – My Interview with Melanie Perkins, Canva CEO/CoFounder

Interview with Melanie Perkins, Canva CEO/CoFounder
As a female entrepreneur, I am intrigued and interested in learning from other female entrepreneurs. I love hearing their stories and what their calling is. What makes them MOVE?!

One female entrepreneur that I could not wait to interview and had to be my absolute first of the year is Melanie Perkins, CEO & CoFounder of Canva. Of course I had to ask her about Canva but I’m also interested in how she thinks as an entrepreneur.

Melanie Perkins, Canva CEO/CoFounder
Melanie Perkins, Canva CEO/CoFounder

I absolutely loved her article in FastCompany about her tips on starting your own business. AND… of course I had to dig to get some answers on the new features because I know they’re coming out with some AWESOME features. Read on to find out if she gave them up.

{Twinkling sound effects in your head}
twinkle-twinkle-twinkle

My interview with Melanie Perkins, Canva CEO/CoFounder

Lillian De Jesus:
Many of my readers are female entrepreneurs and to see a young female as an entrepreneur is admirable to say the least. I’m fascinated.  How does it feel to own a business like Canva?

Melanie Perkins:
Running Canva is the best job in the world that I could ask for. I love coming to work each day and figuring out how we can achieve the big vision we have for Canva. Being an entrepreneur is an incredible path. It’s challenging, it’s a roller coaster, it’s exhilarating and it’s my dream job. I get to work with the smartest people I have ever met, get to invent and get to realise my vision.

“My biggest piece of advice for any entrepreneur is to solve a real problem. If you find a problem that people care about, then it will make every other aspect of running a business much easier.” – TWEET!

Lillian:
Canva is not your first business endeavor. Tell me about Fusion Books. Is it also in regards to graphic design?

Melanie:
When I was at university, I was teaching design programs such as Photoshop and InDesign. These were really difficult for students to learn and complex to use. It would take a whole semester for students just to learn the basics. I realised that in the future design would be entirely different, that it would be online, simple and collaborative. Fusion Books is now the largest school yearbook publisher in Australia and has expanded into France and New Zealand. However, we believed our technology was much more powerful than the yearbook market alone and wanted to pursue the bigger vision. That’s where Canva was born.

Lillian:
I stumbled upon Canva, when I started my business about a year ago now. I started with Adobe Photoshop and I was like um… okay. What do I do? Seriously I just want to do simple graphics for social media. What are all these buttons? I clicked away and away and completely off of the software. As a newbie entrepreneur and non-graphic designer it was completely intimidating. When I tried Canva, I fell in love because it was EASY. It was empowering to be able to design and create.

Melanie:
Canva takes literally 23 seconds to learn, so we’ve designed it to be as simple as possible for anyone to get started.

Lillian:
How did you even start getting that idea running off the ground?

Melanie:
Getting Canva off the ground has been difficult and has taken a long time, more than six years. It was difficult starting our first company, Fusion Books and bootstrapping it to profitability, it was difficult getting investors to invest. It was difficult building a team and difficult to build our product. In fact, every stage has been incredibly challenging, but an incredible adventure.

“My advice would be to get started, as you learn so much along the way.” – TWEET THIS!

Lillian:
You’re in Australia and I’m in Indiana – The heart of the United States. Did you even think Canva would be loved worldwide?

Melanie:
We knew that Canva had the potential to be known worldwide but we couldn’t have anticipated the huge amount of love and support from our users. Many of our users come back each and every week and have told their friends, family and social media about Canva. Some of our users have created video tutorials, written blog posts and in some cases even taught classes on how to use Canva.

*BLUSH* 😊 I think she’s talking about me…LOL

Lillian:
When I started looking at my design options as an entrepreneur, PicMonkey was one that I tried alongside of Canva. I actually did a comparison as my first blog post on Canva.

Do you consider PicMonkey a competitor to Canva?

Melanie:
Canva operates across a number of different industries. Canva incorporates a design platform, a stock library

green arrowand collaboration tool. While Canva doesn’t have any direct competitors, it does provide an alternative for a number of different existing tools.

Canva is intended to be very simple to use and make it easy for anyone to create documents or marketing collateral, from social media posts to blog graphics, posters, invitations and more.

Lillian:
Canva has been updating like crazy with new designs, layouts, features like the Stream, and images. I know I’ve sent so many suggestions over to Canva’s Happiness Team, which happens to be the best in Customer Service by the way. Hazel is my absolute fave but it just seems I talk with her most since I do a lot of designs at night.

Do you really consider Canva user suggestions? 

Melanie:
We have lots of exciting projects coming up this year. Feedback from our users means a lot so please do let us know your feedback. We’re excited for 2015 that it will be as big as our first year.

“Last year, we reached one million users, launched our iPad app, unveiled the Canva Button to allow other websites to integrate Canva, and opened our designer marketplace for graphic designers to contribute their own layouts and elements, and earn a royalty whenever they’re used.”

Lillian:
I do a lot of 1-on-1 Canva training and the most popular questions I get are: why Canva gets stuck a lot while saving when they design and why is it that their preview looks awesome but when they download it gets all jumbled up.
How do you respond to those questions?

Melanie:
If anyone ever has any questions or needs help with their designs, we’re on hand to help! They can email support@canva.com at any time.

Lillian:
What great new features does Canva plan to roll out for the year? Can you give us some hints?

Melanie:
We’ve only achieved 1% of our vision to make it easy for everyone in the world to take an idea and turn it into a design for Web or print. We have a lot more to do to get Canva into the hands of everyone.

“Stay tuned for a big announcement very soon. It’ll appeal very much to people using Canva for work.” – TWEET THIS!eeek!

Lillian:
Last question – I know finally… some Canva fans have wondered if Canva will have a paid premium feature. Will this happen?

Melanie:
We have a lot in the pipeline, but nothing we can talk about just yet. Our vision is to enable you to turn your idea into a design without any friction. We have taken some big steps in that direction, but have a lot left to do. Watch this space!

End of interview… El Fin
(THE END for y’all non Spanish-speaking folk) haha


OH MAN! She totally kept me in suspense… I’m not disappointed though because I know Canva is going to have some unbelievably awesome features that entrepreneurs can use to make a difference in their business. I love that she recapped what they achieved in 2014! Canva did accomplish a lot. I look forward to what they come up with this year.

  • Will it be transparency on white background?
  • Will there be a way to organize designs?
  • Will there be a way to pin or save certain fave graphics that you can use right away without scrolling?
  • Maybe we can click on the tab of designs to see them as a page and we won’t have to scroll?

The world may never know… just kidding! We’ll find out soon enough! hehe

What are your thoughts? What would you like to see happen with Canva this year? Let me know in the comments.

Take care,

Lillian De Jesus

14 thoughts on “Female Entrepreneur ROCKS Graphic Design Capabilities – My Interview with Melanie Perkins, Canva CEO/CoFounder”

  1. Hi Lillian, What a great interview. I love working with Canva and I cannot think of any additions I would suggest right now. I think the best feature of all is to be able to go back and correct a design after it has been saved, rather than making it all over again.

    1. Hey Monna!

      Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, it was a great interview. Melanie has such wonderful advise for entrepreneurs.

      I do love that they save the designs too. So convenient!

      Take care,
      Lillian

  2. I really need to learn about Canva. Can we schedule a time to talk about it. Pop your details in the box on my website and we can work out a time. I have seen canva a lot but i just don’t understand it.

    William

  3. Excellent interview. I have desktop publishing software on my computer so while I’m aware of it at this point I haven’t taken the time to learn about Canva but the images create there have a distinct look so they aren’t difficult to spot. I look forward to taking the time to become familiar with this resource one day soon. Thanks!

    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun to interview Melanie since I’m such a big fan. Canva is definitely an application that is made for graphic designing beginners. However anyone no matter if they are a novice or professional designer can create some beautiful graphics with very little effort. That was Melanie’s goal and she has achieved so much so far. Definitely take a look at Canva and you’ll see the potential!

      Take care,
      Lillian

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