Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Lauren Ephrat, Founder, and CEO of Doodle Couture, New York, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Doodle Couture is a New York-based accessories brand for dogs that marries modern design with exceptional functionality and innovation. Our customers are trendsetting dog parents who want the very best accessories for their very best friends. They have a strong sense of style and want that to be reflected in what they put on their pup. After all, our dogs are an extension of who we are, and we always want them to look and feel their best.
Tell us about yourself
I previously worked as a Sales and Marketing Director for a leading wine producer. I had spent the past 20+ years in that industry and loved the customer-facing relationships that it was built upon. When the pandemic hit, that aspect of it was largely taken away, and I decided I needed a change. I had always dreamed of having my own business, and it felt like the ideal time to take the leap.
In October of 2020, I adopted a new puppy along with 23 million other US families. His name was Cooper, and along with the pandemic, he changed so much of my perspective on life and what was important to me. He was a source of pure joy and love for my family at a time when we needed him to be. I wanted to spoil him with the best of everything, but when it came to walking accessories, I was completely underwhelmed by what was available. Everything was either too cutesy, too cheap, or too boring. I saw that as a business opportunity and began the process of designing and developing the product line for Doodle Couture.
I am motivated every day by the community that we are building around the brand. The love, support, and loyalty of our customers are overwhelming. As a result, we are able to drive focus, awareness, and funding to a mission that is very close to my heart, saving the lives of at-risk dogs around the world. A portion of our proceeds benefits Rescue Paw Foundation, which helped save the lives of 10,000 dogs last year alone. The realization that I can make a small difference in the lives of these helpless animals motivates me daily and inspires me as nothing has before.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been assembling my team of experts. It is an ever-evolving process; however, I am grateful to have found the level of talent that has helped to quickly develop the brand's identity over the past ten months. There is nothing more important than the people whom you hire and entrust to support your vision.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is that it can be lonely sometimes. I work with a team of incredibly talented people, but we are mostly remote. I miss the face-to-face interactions and connections. It is starting to come back, though, and the pet industry offers some amazing shows and events to attend. We also try to participate in as many local events as possible to interact directly with our customers.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- It's a marathon, not a sprint. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to make it happen overnight, and have the proper resources available to be successful. Starting a product-based business takes time and money. Make sure to understand the requirements before you begin.
- Build a strong network and find allies with complementary interests in your field. Connect with people that you can develop a mutually beneficial relationship with to help move your business forward. Give back and make a difference.
- Identify your WHY. What is the reason that you do what you do? Keep it in mind whenever making a significant decision about your business. Prioritize the 'need to haves' over the 'nice to haves.'
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
We are EXTREMELY PROUD to have been featured in Vogue, Glamour, Conde Nast Traveller, Modern Dog, and Hamptons magazines!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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