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Gen Y

Low Budget Start-up Lessons From A Gen Y

Since opening, I have had people remark that I must have the best job in the world, playing with cats and kittens every day. More inquisitive people comment that it must take a lot of money to open such a business. They wait for my reply, which is always along the lines of, “Yes, heaps. But it’s worth it”.

I will not freely give away my secrets. I am where I am today due to the mistakes I made in the early days. Most people don’t understand that Cat Napping is not a job: this is now my life. I have chosen to commit to a 365 day a year business, and in turn have had to forfeit a lot. I have missed out on many family events. I’ve missed going out with friends. Very recently, I was unable to celebrate my best friend’s 30th with her in New York.

One secret that I will let you into takes us back to the “lots of money” comment. I always smirk to myself when that’s raised. The truth is, there was no great savings fund or angel investor. Every purchase was carefully considered, and some things have had to wait.

For 18 months, before I even signed a lease, I started preparing for Cat Napping. At that time it was still nameless. I started buying supplies whenever I saw them on sale; half of our spare room was filled with cat litter trays, blankets, scratching poles, toys, and feeding bowls.

Day 1

When I opened, I couldn’t afford to have the phone line connected. My only option was my personal mobile number.

Although we’re now full with 46 retreats, I opened with only 23. Over the past 21 months, I’ve added more as and when I could afford them.

12 months

I needed a sealed floor to get my council permit, so my fiancé painted it.

Painting floors

It only lasted 6 months, but by then there was cash to get vinyl laid.

Laying vinyl

I couldn’t afford a huge, fancy sign like my neighbors, so I settled for a smaller one. Only last month I added a new large sign on my side wall. I’m hoping it stands out more to passing motorists.


It wasn’t until three months after opening that I got an alarm system connected and monitored. In April this year I finally got a PC and internet connection.

Looking back over the photos, I can’t believe the transformation of Cat Napping. I am a typical Gen Y who wants everything yesterday; I am proud of myself for learning to be patient, and building my business from the ground up. Even with limited funds!

About Ebony Centazzo

I am a crazy cat lady with a travel bug. Working as an International Travel Consultant for the past 8 years and seeing the decline in retail travel due to the internet, I decided to create a business combining my second love: animals. Cat Napping Suburban Retreat is my first creation and I am continuing to work on bringing cats into the mainstream.

One comment

  1. 26 Years & Counting

    I love hearing start up stories, it reminds us all we can only do so much sometimes! And congratulations on building your business :)

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