About Ebony Centazzo[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter year 12, I completed an Advanced Diploma of Tourism Management at Williams Angliss Institute of TAFE. I knew it would be hard getting a job in the travel industry with no prior work experience so I moved to Yulara, Ayers Rock Resort and worked with AAT Kings for a year. Back in Melbourne I worked my way up from a Domestic Travel Consultant to an International Consultant in numerous roles and companies over 9 years. Always having an entrepreneurial flair and looking for my next challenge, I created Cat Napping Suburban Retreat in September 2011 while working part time as a travel consultant. In September 2013, I left the travel industry to focus on expanding and growing the Cat Napping brand.
About Cat Napping Suburban RetreatCat Napping Suburban Retreat is a unique indoor boarding cattery located in Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne. Our point of difference is our wooden retreats which are all individual and provide the cat with a private sleeping box. This is perfect for shy and nervous cats, or a cat that just enjoys their sleep! We also provide great value for money, as the per night rate includes everything that they may need- scratching pole, bowls, kitty litter trays, woollen underlay and warm cosy doona. Cats are also encouraged to try out the large playpen or go for a wander around the cattery at least twice a day. We ease client’s minds by sending weekly emails that include photos of their cat enjoying their time at Cat Napping. With the success of Cat Napping, Hoppers Crossing, Cat Napping Caroline Springs will be opening in April 2014.
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Valid until 30 November 2014. Subject to retreat availability. 2 night minimum must be booked. Claim this offer
Q & A with Ebony Centazzo
What’s the story behind your business?
Cat Napping began to form when I noticed a gap in the market and local community for a clean and well-priced cattery. Our main focus is to wow customers with fantastic service while providing exceptional care to their cats. It took 3 years from the initial idea to opening as I undertook training to have the correct animal qualifications, then came the challenge of securing a warehouse.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a check out chick at Big W, I applied for the job right on 14 years and 9 months. And casually worked there for the next 6 years.
When you decided to start your own business, what was your big “why”?
In my travel career, I always wanted to do a bit extra and was always thinking outside the square. Trouble was businesses always have budgets and secondly I am an introvert. Managers misunderstood my quiet nature as uninterested and never gave me the responsibility I craved. Cat Napping has given me everything that I craved in my prior career. I can be as creative as I want; I can try any marketing idea that pops into my mind. I have complete control.
What have you had to give up?
Your proudest achievement to date?
The success of Cat Napping is my biggest achievement in life and business. I started the business on the tiniest budget and did no pre marketing prior to opening. The way the business has taken off from day one is mind blowing. I am so proud of myself for what I have achieved but more so for actually taking the steps to action the idea.
What are some of the most exciting projects you’ve worked on?
I have loved writing for the Gen Y Founder Diaries for woman.com.au. It has given me a creative outlet to share my start up journey.
What would you tell your younger self not to do?
Not to wait till I was almost 28 to start a business! And also to stick up for myself and not let people walk all over me.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Action your idea before somebody else does.
What’s next for you and your business?
I am currently mid-way through opening my second cattery. Cat Napping Caroline Springs will be open in April 2014. I also have my third and fourth location in mind and have started scouting for suitable locations. I also have a monthly cat subscription idea brewing in my mind and am always looking for new projects to take on!