Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Davina Farahi, Founder and CEO of Shaya Pets, located in Reno, NV, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Shaya is a luxury pet accessories brand made for pets and designed for stylish humans. We consider ourselves a fashion brand for people with pets.
Tell us about yourself
The idea for Shaya really came from our family's need for accessories that fit in with our aesthetic. When we got our first dog, Baby G, over eight years ago, there was such a huge gap between the mass market, tacky pet products, and ones from luxury houses like Louis Vuitton. Since I could not find anything that balanced style with the function, I ended up making a dog bag out of one of my tote bags. After four years of people asking me if I could make them one, my family and I decided we should bring the idea to the market. We launched Shaya with our signature airline-compliant carrier and have since expanded our product line - staying focused on creating accessories that marry function and design.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I don't think there is a moment I can point to that's a major accomplishment. Instead, I think running a pet brand is filled with a lot of mini-accomplishments. Every time a new pet parent emails us to tell us their carrier made their life easier, or I see a dog walking the streets of New York on my leash, I feel a deep sense of pride. Our brand is so personal that the little moments or human stories are what keep us going.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
The hardest thing is definitely how personally invested you feel about your brand. You feel every mistake, error, delay in production, etc. There are no days off because you can't shut your brain down when it's your baby. I personally struggle with distancing myself from the outcomes I have no control over. But I also think this connection to the outcome of the brand is what separates us from others in our industry. We are still 100% family owned and operated: so every detail and every interaction is personal. And I truly believe that comes across to our Shaya community.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find something you do consistently that is not connected to your brand. It'll give your brain time to reset and might even inspire you.
- Be okay with your vision and the reality changing drastically. At each step of the development process, you learn something new that might lead you to build a better brand/product. That's a good thing.
- 90% of your cost and focus is likely going to be marketing, not the actual product. Be smart about how you present your brand and the stories you share.
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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