Melanie Perkins: The Superwoman Behind Canva

Teacher’s Day is celebrated as a special day as a form of our gratitude to this unsung hero. On this Teacher’s Day, Girls Kode tells the story of Melanie Perkins, CEO & co-founder of Canva who also has a track record as a teacher. Perkins was born in Perth, Australia, and studied at the University of Western Australia with a major that focuses on commerce and communication. There is not much information about Perkins’ background and family, but it is known that Perkins’ father was a technician and a teacher of Sri Lankan descent.

Perkins’ journey to becoming an entrepreneur has been seen since the age of 14, where she sell scarves in several shops. When she was in college, Perkins began to enter the world of teaching by becoming a part-time teacher in the field of graphic design to several students at the University of Western Australia. During teaching, she found that many of his friends had difficulty operating Photoshop and InDesign. This difficulty then gave rise to the idea for Perkins to create Canva.

source: SCMP

At the age of 19, Perkins decided to drop out of college and chose to focus on growing her business with her parents in Australia. The first business created by Perkins and her partner — Obrecht, was Fusion Books. Founded in 2007, Fusion Books provides services for school students to design their yearbooks using easily accessible tools and applications accompanied by various optional features such as photo input, illustrations, and font selection. Despite the challenges due to business competition with large companies and lack of resources, Fusion Books has slowly grown to become one of the largest yearbook businesses, starting to expand its branches in France and New Zealand.

Seeing the rapid development of Fusion Books, Perkins and Obrecht started developing Canva. Perkins also invited Cameron Adams, a technology expert who shares the same vision as Perkins and Obrecht, to build Canva into Chief Product Officer. In its early days, almost all investors were not interested in funding Canva. Until finally Perkins met Bill Tai — a businessman and technology enthusiast — who was interested in providing investment funds for Canva. Gradually Canva began to show significant growth as indicated by 55 million Canva users signing up each year and become one of the companies in the top 500 SMBs.

In 2020, Perkins was included in Forbes’ “Top Under 30 of the Decade” list of female startup founders who had great influence and success. Well, we hope this Perkins’ success story can be an inspiration to all of us!

Written by Melisa Nirmala Dewi


Golden. t.t. Melanie Perkins [online]. (Diakses pada 4 Oktober 2021)

Katoch, Pooja. 2019. Melanie Perkins Wiki & bio [online] WikiBiography. (Diakses pada 4 Oktober 2021)

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