They say, “Everything that you’re going through now is preparing you for what you asked for.” You are here for a reason, you might not realize it yet but when that time comes when you have finally achieved your goals – it will all make sense.
Our featured business owner, Jessica Law, proved the truth in that when she took on a huge re-branding project and ended up owning the business. The Dog Salon has been wildly successful, but Jessica doesn’t stop there (oh, no she doesn’t!) she developed a product line for dogs based on her own pups, as well as creating this living, breathing, amazing event in Charlotte, NC, called the Queen City Femme Fest! Read her full story!
Julie: I absolutely love all the different colors that you do with the hair on the dogs. Where’d you get the ideas for that?
Jessica: Well, the neighborhood we live in is an artsy, diverse area. So we have a lot of artists and entrepreneurs and free sinkers, and very open-minded individuals. So I just started experimenting and people loved it!
Julie: It’s great. Do you have ideas or do people come in and say, “Hey, do this to my dog”?
Jessica: Our groomers are very talented. We generally bring the ideas to the table. A lot of times, clients will just ask for specific colors and then we run with it.
Julie: Tell me a little bit about the start of your business. It looks like you’ve had it since 2005? What inspired you to go into grooming and working with dogs?
Jessica: I’m actually not a groomer myself. I just am a leader; I’m really good at being in charge and being bossy.
Julie: I love that.
Jessica: I went to a school for small business branding and marketing and that kind of thing, so I always had a passion for small business and giving a voice to a brand. So when I took this project on, I was actually working here, putting myself through school, and the owner at the time decided to let me rebrand the whole business. Just gave me this huge project which I was so unqualified to do, but the perfectionist in me just killed it. I knocked it out of the park.
Julie: What did you do to rebrand it?
Jessica: Everything, we changed the logo which was terrifying. Changed as far as even interior work, like the colors on the walls. But we had a very specific font that we used, the kind of music that’s playing, the smell that’s in the shop. It’s all very specific.
Julie: When I think about it, they’ll have supplies of food up front or different things like that and there is a particular smell to it, there’s a particular everything. And just from the look of what you’ve done, you’ve made it into more of a hair salon.
Julie: How old were you at the time when you did that?
Jessica: 25. I think that’s really important, what you were saying. Businesses that create cultures like that for you as the consumer to walk in and feel a certain way, and to want to be part of the culture in the building is super important. So I guess that’s sort of what we strive for with the dog salon.
Julie: Yeah, and good for her that she had the faith to just turn that part over to you. I don’t know of many owners that would do that. ‘Cause I think of all the owners I work with and a lot of them are just like, “Okay, tint or dye?” Type thing. Everybody’s business needs to turn new eyes, you need to change but you never want to change.
But you do. Being that perfectionist, maybe it’s just not enough experience to know better
Jessica: That’s a really, really solid point. ‘Cause it’s like, as you gain experience and you share interactions with people, you do have that in the back of your brain. “Oh, well, what if this doesn’t work? “, “Or what if I’m doing this wrong?” And there’s that voice that you have to learn to quiet down and believe in yourself and look at the bigger picture constantly.
Julie: Exactly. So, tell me about Tyson and Tater.
Jessica: Tyson and Tater started from my own experiences with my elderly who is now deceased, but he had a long life of health issues. It was really sad and he had arthritis and just watching him age was really hard for me, and for him, obviously. And I’d always used essential oils on myself, so I did some research, worked with an animal acupuncturist, talked to my vet and started using some oils on him and saw incredible results. So I came out with this line called Tyson and Tater and we started selling them online, and in the dog salon, and select other pet stores in Charlotte and it just took off from here.
Julie: Wow, so how long have you been doing that?
Jessica: Probably about three years or so.
Julie: How big has it gotten? So you started locally, have you gone national with it?
Jessica: Yeah, that’s the thing with Tyson and Tater, is time is not something most entrepreneurs have on their side.
So for the amount of advertising or lack thereof that I have done, it’s been pretty incredible. I do sell all around the country via the Internet.
Julie: You’ve got good testimonials on it, too. That people really like what they do.
Jessica: Yeah, people love it.
Julie: So how did you come up with that? I know that’s what you do, but you’re taking something from nothing.
Jessica: Yeah, with that particular project, it was just real life experience.
My heart ached every time I saw my little old man dog trying to get off the ground. It’s like oh, there’s got to be something better than giving him pills and take him to the vet.
Yeah, well as natural as you can be. Obviously there’s a point where that sort of intervention is needed, but we started using essential oils on him and just massaging into his hip, there was just such a difference. And from there it stemmed, and I own this dog grooming shop where I see all these different issues. I see skin issues every day, and bad breath, and old dogs and anxious dogs and this and that, so that’s where the line came from. Just my experience here as well.
Julie: Is there anything else like that?
Jessica: I’m sure there is.
Julie: Yeah, I was just wondering if you checked out the market and saw what else was out there, but I kind of like that you didn’t. Just went out there. I’ve got this, this is a good project. Yeah.
Jessica: Yeah, and I’m not a big person to compare myself with others. I think there’s just too much of that in the world, that negative, competitive nature. I’m more of – I’ll find a way. I’m just more about putting my head down, doing the work, supporting others, doing my thing.
Julie: Right. Partly why I recommended the research on that certain types, you want to make sure you’re not in a saturated market. But if your product is that unique as yours is, then it doesn’t matter. What’s next?
Jessica: Well, I also have a non-profit that’s two years old. We’re in our third year and it’s called Queen City Femme Fest. It takes that idea of non-competition and support.
And what we do is put on a festival each year where we bring together local female entrepreneurs, artists, performers, it could be anything. And we all come together, we celebrate each other, we support each other. We all bring our friends, our family, it’s just a really beautiful, positive environment.
And it’s just interesting to be a part of that, you know? ‘Cause like you said, there’s so much negative out there. And it’s so easy to compare yourself. We just eliminate all of that and it’s been great.
Julie: Yeah. How has it grown over the last three years? What’s been the process? ‘Cause I know that the non-profits can be challenging, and then pulling together an event is challenging as well. So how’d that go?
Jessica: We recently officially became a non-profit so there’s that. We also this past year started a scholarship to go along with Queen City Femme Fest where we actually will award a dollar amount at next year’s festival to a entrepreneur, or someone who is trying to put themselves through school or trying to start a business and just needs that little extra financial help.
Julie: And I run into that more and more with the women I’m talking to, that they’ve got an eye to giving back or how to help somebody else and that just warms my heart.
And one of the things I love is that I’ve seen scholarships for something they choose. And in my head it’s always like, “Oh, the scholarship has to come from some foundation or this or that.” It’s like, no man.
Anybody can create one and I just really love that. And then you can choose because the entrepreneur part is near to you. And other women entrepreneurs, and then what a great way to help somebody with the money.
Jessica: Well, and that’s the whole point of the festival too. There is a lot of talk out there but if you can create a thing were people see, well she’s actually doing this. I can do this too. That the whole point of it is to inspire. We’re all in this together, we can do it.
Julie: What kind of festival is it? What’s it look like?
Jessica: Last year for example, there were 60 vendors, artists, handmade goods, businesses, things like that. There was a shopping area where our guests could wander around, and see what’s out there.
We also had a stage that had some of the most incredible performers. There was anything from singers, dancers, there were belly dancers. There was no holds bar, it was whatever you’re passionate about, let’s get you on stage and let you shine.
Julie: I bet it was a success, that’s really great. Going back to this scholarship, tied to that, I think that’s a wonderful idea. When is it this year?
Jessica: We did it in April so it’ll probably be around the same time next year. I have millions of ideas but I’m trying to really focus on these main things right now, and also incorporating more self-care time for myself.
Julie: Definitely. Wow, I’m excited for everything you’re doing, I think it’s great.
Jessica: Thank you, I appreciate your time.
Few of the things that I love about women small business owners is their ability to put their personal touch in all aspects of their business and their ability to give back to the community. Shout out to all the women entrepreneurs out there who is rockin’ their businesses and not losing sight of their goals!