With Kingston & Friends
By The Get Leashed Doggy Style Team
Anyone who has Instagram knows, some of the most influential accounts these days are actually dogs! The team at RateHub, a Canadian startup in the financial space, quickly realized the likeable power of one tiny pup – Kingston – a King Charles Cavalier – who has become the brand’s mascot (she is even part of the company’s About Us page). RateHub’s sister company, Zoocasa, has also realized the benefits of a pet-friendly office culture, and with the success these two companies are seeing, they’re a true testament to the countless studies on embracing canines at work. We dropped in on the pups and people of RateHub to chat about their style and vibe and learn what makes Kingston so darn loveable!
Please tell us about what your company does, and what a typical day in the office is like:
RateHub.ca is one of the country’s leading destinations for personal finance information. We’re passionate about empowering Canadians to search smarter and save money by aggregating and comparing thousands of financial products from hundreds of providers in one place. On our website, users can compare rates on mortgages and insurance, bank account fees, and the dollar value return on deposits, investments and rewards credit cards. At our core, we’re a group of savvy savers and comparison shoppers who want to share our personal finance expertise with the rest of Canada.
No two days are alike at the RateHub office. On any given day, we spend our time in team meetings, working on campaigns to promote our various verticals, and running strategy sessions on how to improve the experience for users who visit our website. Things move quickly at the office, but RateHubbers always find time for a quick session of ping pong in the lounge, a cup of coffee and chat in the kitchen, or a team lunch around the communal picnic table.
Please tell us a bit about your dogs and the doggie friends of RateHub’s sister company. Who usually comes to work?
Kingston belongs to our CMO KL (Kerri-Lynn) and is really part of the founding team. An eight-year-old King Charles Cavalier, she comes to the office every day, except when it rains (she doesn’t like to get wet, like a diva). She’s very docile and friendly, and she doesn’t bark, which makes her the perfect office dog. Kingston is a true lap dog and can be found shifting between the laps of her many friends while trying to sneak in kisses and cuddles. She is the unofficial receptionist as well, and keeps everyone in good spirits!
Lily (King Charles Spaniel and Bichon cross), Lily (Teacup Shitzhu Poodle) and Bowie (mostly Husky) visit from our sister company Zoocasa, which has an office down the street from us. Bowie actually has a special connection to RateHub. He visited our office as a pup as part of a rescue organization’s “puppy office visit” campaign and his Mom, Sky, fell in love and adopted him on the spot.
How did Kingston become the unofficial RateHub Mascot?
In the early days we noticed that posts featuring Kingston had the highest interaction of any of our social media posts. Looking back as a marketing organization, that makes sense (dogs and babies sell!). We put her up on our “About Us” page, and now she easily gets mentioned in 10-20 per cent of cover letters from hiring candidates. She’s even had cover letters directly addressed to her.
She has her own Instagram account, @kingstonatwork, which mostly follows her office “work”. Her online personality is very sassy and we love coming up with her captions. She currently has over 1,200 Instagram followers and was once featured in a Forbes online in a story about dog-friendly workplaces.
Does she have any favorite doggie brands?
Kingston finds clothes uncomfortable but she often sports a stylish bandana from Rover Pet Boutique, and loves Hound collars. For the cold Canadian winters, she wears a bright pink Canada Pooch (a brand founded by a former classmate of KL’s at Queen’s School of Business). All three are Toronto-based brands and Kingston loves supporting local businesses!
How would you describe your office style and vibe?
RateHub has a flexible office style that lends itself to the culture we’ve built on freedom and responsibility. We aren’t big on strict dress codes and day-to-day formalities. We’re most concerned with output and providing our employees with the frameworks within which they can do their best work. This included building a collaborative workspace with tons of natural light, common areas for creativity and brainstorming and soft seating for relaxation and introspective thinking. Because we are open-concept, we also have meeting and call rooms for private conversations.
As a tech company, we feel it’s important to have a hip brick-and-beam office in a downtown location to attract the kind of talent we need to fulfill our business goals.
Has your office always been pet-friendly? Is this important to the culture?
Kingston has always been part of the office culture, and it’s hard to imagine RateHub without her!
How do you think being dog-friendly improves or adds to your company?
As a startup, our hours are long and to-do lists never-ending. We try to make the work environment as positive and productive for our employees as possible, and being dog-friendly is a big part of that. Kingston plays a key role at the office in lifting everyone’s spirits and giving the team a dose of pet-therapy every day.
Finally, can you leave us with a funny story (or two) about one of the dogs?
Kingston had 17 teeth pulled just days before this photo shoot – but she didn’t miss a beat! She always looks on the bright side, and we know she secretly hoped she was one step closer to becoming @toastmeetsworld, her idol. Toast is a fellow Cavalier puppy mill rescue with no teeth and a stuck-out tongue. Toast has a Karen Walker sunglasses campaign, she’s flown all over the world and has her own coffee table book. But alas, Kingston’s 19 remaining teeth are keeping her tongue in check (or cheek, rather). A fame-seeker, Kingston has been featured in both Forbes and the Financial Post, but she hasn’t quite cracked dog influencer status. She’s waiting for the paid campaigns and the freebies!
Meet the team:
Kerri Lynn McAllister, Chief Marketing Officer, RateHub (Kingston)
Cody Kukay, Associate Product Manager, RateHub (Lily)
Mippy Goodfellow, Senior Client Care Coordinator, Zoocasa (Lily)
Sky Liddell, Director of Operations, Zoocasa (Bowie)