Julie Ellis

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As a co-founder of award-winning Mabel’s Labels, one of Canada’s greatest small business success stories, and with 15 years in the financial services sector, Julie Ellis now shares her experience and expertise with other entrepreneurs helping them gain clarity to accelerated success. Julie’s area of specialization is working with product-based e-commerce businesses. For them, she has created “Ignite and Scale”, a process that ignites companies by creating operating leverage to scale higher profits. Julie works primarily with progressive small and medium businesses that a) have reached a point where their growth is stuck or stagnant b) they are expanding too quickly and can’t keep up or c) they are growing but want to accelerate that growth.


“The problem is companies are often scaling their top line but are missing opportunities to better control their expenses,” Julie says. “They may need help to find operational efficiencies, and they also may require putting a long-term plan in place.”


Bringing new business ideas to life is also part of Julie’s commitment to advising start-ups, and small and medium sized businesses, as the current Board Chair of the Hamilton-based Innovation Factory. She is also a member of the Angel One Investment Network, a not-for-profit organization, which is one of the most active angel investors’ groups in Canada.


Julie started her career in financial services first as an Account Manager for Investments and then as a Financial Planner at RBC (1998-2004). It was while working at the bank that she, along with three other working mothers with small children, got a great idea for an online business selling colourful and highly-durable personalized identification labels for kids clothing. The idea addressed parents’ struggle to constantly sort or find their kids apparel, and also provided an alternative to masking tape and scribbling names with magic markers, thereby filling an otherwise untapped gap in the marketplace.


Operating out of a basement initially, Mabel’s Labels exploded into a multi-million household brand with a growing product line. In 2012, the online business broke into the retail market selling to Walmart in Canada, HEB with 300 stores in the U.S. as well as WM.com and Amazon.com.


Almost from the start as Julie held the positions of both co-founder and VP, Mabel’s Labels was a media darling for inspiring business success stories. It has been featured in The Washington Post, Forbes, People and Parent’s online magazines, as well as, Marilyn Dennis Show, ABC’s The View, NBC’s Today and CBS’s The Early Show just to name a few, and has attracted celebrity moms such as Reese Witherspoon, Victoria Beckham, and Gwyneth Paltrow.


Mabel’s Label’s stunning growth received accolades with awards such as RBC’s Entrepreneur of the Year (2009 and 2015) and W100 Fastest Growing Company (2012/13). It also made the business highly attractive for acquisition, and in December in 2016, it was sold to Toronto-based CCL Industries, the biggest label maker in the world. Julie stayed on in order to ensure a smooth transition as Senior Director of Retail and Production before launching her own business as an entrepreneurial consultant.