brand

How Hitting Rock Bottom Can Inspire Your Creativity

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We all have a story, a story that has brought us to this exact moment in time.  For Jennifer Nyguen it was a mix of different experiences that designed her current situation. Jennifer states that one of the biggest experiences that has shaped her current moment was one that stemmed from tragedy and blossomed into something beautiful! 

I’ve found a theme with all the women that I’ve interviewed so far. Their dogs have all been pivotal in moving forward into the next phase of their life. Their dogs have instilled courage, patience, and confidence in taking the leap into their passions and interests.

Dogs teach us every day to be present. They teach us that life is short, so enjoy it to the fullest. They teach us to lean into what drives us and what fills us up. For me, Pax invited me to spend more time in my creativity something that I had put away since my childhood. Jennifer’s story is very similar. With the support of her family, friends, boyfriend, and of course Bear- she has been able to take her passion to a whole new level! Without further ado- I am so excited to share the launch of Good Boy Bear! If you’d like to learn more about her brand please reach out to her via instagram at @goodboybear or through her website https://www.thegoodboybear.com/ . Jennifer can also be reached through email hello@goodboybear.com or on Bear’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/thegoodboybear/

Additionally, I originally planned to have my last female founder blog post a few weeks ago. However, I received such interest that we will be continuing the series indefinitely- if you are interested in being featured please drop a message in the contact form below! ENJOY!

Tell us a little about yourself personally & professionally.

I am 30 years old, born and raised in Dallas, Texas! I went to the same all-girl school my entire childhood, so I marinated in a close-knit community of bright and creative girls. But I was very ready to get out of the bubble and explore the world on my own by the end of high school. My parents were both dentists (they escaped from Vietnam during the war and came to America with nothing), and my brother was finishing up dental school in California, which is what inspired me to move there for college. I went to USC and got my BA in Neuroscience with an arts minor in Communication Design, and went straight into dental school there after that! Photography and graphic/website design were hobbies of mine throughout high school and college, so that came in really useful for building Bear's brand. I learned and grew so much living on my own in LA, but I knew it would be best for me financially to move back to Dallas after I graduated, to be near my family again too. So I packed up and moved home in 2015 and joined the family practice. Those couple years after moving were a dark and difficult time. I missed my friends, California, I had just gotten out of a terrible relationship, my student loan debt was (and still is) unimaginable, late 20s and living with my parents, and dentistry was a whole different level of stress I'd never experienced. Thankfully my best friend moved here with me, and I had my family to teach me all the ins and outs of running the business. I slowly picked myself up, moved into my own place.

After many failed dating attempts, I met someone special, but he tragically passed away about 5 months into our relationship. It was rock bottom for me. I don't even know what drove me to start looking for a puppy (probably Instagram)! because I barely had time to even take care of myself, but I did months of research and finally took the plunge. It was the best decision I ever made. Bear is my healing and guiding light, he teaches me so much about the world everyday, how to slow down, appreciate the little things, wake up and see all the good in the world, no matter how dreary it is, give unconditional love to everyone, including myself and those who may not deserve it. After he started gaining a following on Instagram, I realized how special he was, and wanted to spread his goofy, loving energy as far and wide as I could. It grew into this incredible creative outlet. I am so grateful to be in a great place today, mentally and physically, with Bear and my overwhelmingly supportive boyfriend, friends, and family!

How did you get your idea or concept for the brand?

Bear's brand was something that I envisioned pretty early on, but had ZERO knowledge about where to even begin. Seeing all the comments on his instagram about how happy he makes people made me want to create products that they could have in person as continued reminders. He's such a cartoon character in real life, so I just wanted to be able to embody that.

Tell us more about your brand and what you do!

His brand is all about the simple things, the simple pleasures in life. A soft, cozy piece of clothing to relax in, a sip of hot coffee on a chilly Sunday morning, a smile on someone's face. It's been so fun doing the research, product design, being creative with his content, and communicating and networking with amazing people (like Nikki)!! Momager life takes up a lot of time, but it is extremely rewarding :) On top of that, we're so happy to be able to give back some of the profits to animal welfare organizations.

Looking back would you do any thing different?

Nothing at all, I find so much value in making mistakes and learning from them.


What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

Being able to make and be fully accountable for all my decisions. And between running my practices, and running Bear's business, I am still able to have a pretty flexible schedule where I can carve out time for myself and my loved ones.

Share your favorite moment or moments while growing your business.

Going out and exploring new places while shooting content with Bear has been so fun. And the amount of support and love he receives from people around the world is unbelievable. I try my best to transmit and convey all that love to him.. if he only knew!

What are some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur?

As an introvert, it was difficult at first to open up and start communicating with others openly and directly (strangers on the internet that you're emailing with back and forth, collaborating, negotiating, etc.)- but it definitely became easier over time. Showing myself on his Instagram is a daunting thought, and even launching the brand-- it was scary! Wondering what people are going to think, the possibility of receiving criticism on something you put so much of your heart into, but at the end of the day, I just try to remember that being vulnerable isn't a bad thing.

Advice for other entrepreneurs or those looking to get started?

Research, research, research! I spent hundreds of hours googling answers to the million of questions I had because I didn't personally know anyone with experience in producing merchandise, especially in this kind of space. I remember going to a coffee shop in late January with a pen and paper, blank google doc open, and I just started making a list of every single question I had, a rough outline of what I wanted to accomplish, how much money I had available to put into this, a timeline of when I wanted to complete each step, all the permits and licenses required, and went from there! Staying organized and having all of my information and research in one place helped me stay on track. I still have so many questions, but am just learning along the way.

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Thank you Jennifer & Bear for your time and energy! I know I learned a ton from your interview whether that was about yourself and how you launched Bear’s merchandise line or what to do when I start my own! Are you interested in being featured on LOTP? Drop us a line below and let us know! Can’t wait to hear from you.

xo, Nikki

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One woman's success does not detract from your own...if anything it inspires others to start living the life they always imagined!

Rounding out my final female founder interview series is Lea Mayer. Lea (pronounced Leah not Lee hah!), is the creator, owner, designer, customer service rep, and production line for Lulu and Lea.  She has a degree in Textile design and a background working in apparel design. 

When I first starter Pax’s account I was asked to be in my first collaborative giveaway and I was invited by Lea! I had no idea what I was doing and kept ask her questions about what to do and if I was doing everything right. She was always so sweet to answer and it ended up being a great experience for everyone!

When starting new things it can be really overwhelming because there is just so much information out there and things to do. It’s such a joy to be able to have such a strong community of like minded people! In our interview Lea mentions that just diving in is really the solution to the overwhelm and that overthinking can delay one from living their most fulfilling life! Thank you so much Lea for your time - it was such a blast to learn more about Lulu and Lea!

Make sure you follow @shopluluandlea and give your pup a beautiful gift!

Please tell us a bit about your background both personally and professionally.

I have lived in the Philadelphia area most of my life.  I grew up outside of the city in Southern NJ.  Growing up I always had a passion to be in the design world.  As a little girl I would watch HGTV and always thought I would be an interior designer.  I later really learned to love fashion design as well.  When looking at colleges, design programs were my focus.  I landed at Philadelphia University (now Jefferson University) in their Interior Design program.  The first year was whirl wind of architecture classes and as much as I found it interesting and certainly challenging, it didn't feel like what I really had a passion for.  I switched to textile design and fell in love.  I absolutely loved not only the design aspect but the technical as well.  After graduating I worked as a CAD designer for Bed Bath and Beyond, then moved to their subsidiary Harbor Linen as their first in house designer working on contract custom bedding and drapery.  I really enjoyed it but again didn't feel a strong passion for it.  That lead me back to fashion to try to find a career I could love.  I worked for a well known apparel brand in Philadelphia working in their design department.  It felt like I landed the dream job and I was so excited to dive in.  After three years of giving that job literally everything I could possibly put into, and admittedly letting it affect me in ways I won't get into I decided it was time for a serious change.  I left without a plan but knowing I really needed a positive change and inspiring work environment.  At the time I had an instagram for Lulu, my puppy, and loved the community that I had never expected to find there.  I also could never find accessories for her that were my taste or quality that blew me away so I decided with my new found freedom to start Lulu and Lea based off this idea.

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How did you get your idea or concept for the brand?

Just as above in my background it just felt like a void in the market.  I am willing to pay a higher than average price point to get high quality well designed products for nearly anything so why not dog accessories!  I really wanted to create something special that no one else was doing.

Tell us more about your brand and what you do!

I have taken my background in textile design and really made my knowledge and love of textiles what makes my brand special.  Lulu and Lea products are always made of high quality fabrics that are sometimes a little unexpected, like when I did velvet or our new eyelet or embroidered styles for spring.  I really like to take really special fabrics and allow them to be what elevates my fairly simple designs.

Looking back would you do any thing different?

Hmmm!  I don't know I'd do anything different.  I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason and I think although the path has not been easy I have learned so much about the business, and myself, along the way.


What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?

I love the creative freedom and the ability to take risks.  Designing for corporate companies always felt restrictive to me.  There was always someone there to tell you that it wasn't good enough, a good design, idea, etc.  With being an entrepreneur I love having the freedom to try.  The person saying no may have been right but I think there is something really valuable about learning for yourself.

Share your favorite moment or moments while growing your business.

Oh gosh, that's hard because I've had many!  One, I find it so rewarding as I grow and continue to succeed, especially when so many people in the beginning couldn't see my vision.  Second, and more importantly, I have to go back to the connections I've made.  Instagram is where I built my business from and the people I have made connections with there is invaluable.  People, most people, are so wonderful and want to support you and help build your dream.  I love when a customer tags me and they are just in love with the styles they've just received.  Thats the best moment.

What are some of the challenges of being an entrepreneur?

I think balance.  Balancing life and owning a business can be a struggle... Especially a very small business, my staff is myself and I just hired a part time assistant.  So it can be hard to put down the work and separate that from my personal life.  Especially in a world where everyone is used to Amazon prime and such immediacy.  It feels like you need to be present 100% of the time.

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Advice for other entrepreneurs or those looking to get started?

Just dive in!  I think we can be our own worse enemies and the more you sit around and think about what you want to create the less likely you are to just do it.  Diving in can be scary but you learn so much along the way.

Is there anything else you'd like for us to know?

As I'm filling this out its International Women's Day and I just think women need to support each other more! It's easy to feel competitive and protective of your work but I think everyone has something valuable to bring to the table. I heard recently, and I cannot remember where, that one women's success does not detract from your own and that really resinated with me.

Lea is absolutely right! One woman’s success does not detract from your own abilities. It can be challenging to start a new project when social media promotes so much comparison. But, there is room for all of us at the top & I’d love to have you contribute to leader of the pax! Fill out a form below so we can get started!

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