What It's About
Little collars have a big impact on the homeless and hungry dogs in Ecuador.
Words of Wisdom
When it comes to marketing, The Little Collar has focused on leveraging free opportunities, such as social media. They have experimented with promoted posts on Facebook and Instagram but found that word of mouth has been the best form of promotion and encourage other hustlers to take note. Rick attributes the company’s organic growth to those word of mouth promotions.
The trio behind The Little Collar are driven by the desire to give back, to help, to make a difference, and they recently donated all their profits from Aug. 30-31 to Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts. A social media post that got over 100,000 views on Imgur brought in enough sales that the company raised more than $1,000 toward the cause.
Notes from Chris
Today’s story features two computer scientists who happen to be sisters and one of their boyfriends who join together to create a side hustle for the greater dog world. Every dog has its day, and today you’ll hear about a social good story (that also makes money, of course). Combine a love of dogs with a motivation to make a difference plus passion to succeed and what do you get? The Little Collar—a business built from the love of man’s best friend. The Little Collar wristbands that looks like small pet collars yet are worn by humans looking to show solidarity with the homeless and hungry dogs in developing countries. For with every little collar sold, the company provides a day of food to a dog in need. The Little Collar is a new side hustle by our listeners—two sisters Julia Spehlmann and Erika Spehlmann, both who are computer science students earning second bachelor degrees, and Rick Chrisos, a full-time software salesman and Julia’s boyfriend. The idea came to Julia during her trip to Ecuador to visit family. Over the years, she witnessed the hardships, overpopulation, and cruelty faced by stray dogs, but was always left with the question “how do I help?” Unlike in the US, there is a lack of animal shelters in Ecuador. Homeless, hungry dogs roam the streets. Years later, when she discovered a newly formed shelter, Julia realized what she could do and The Little Collar was formed. She borrowed her Dad’s old Singer sewing machine and power-watched YouTube tutorials on the basics of sewing to create her first little collar. Profits fluctuate, depending on the cost of materials and labor, but they’re currently about $500 a month. And since April, the business has generated enough money to cover more than a year’s worth of food for one dog—or 365 days of food for 365 dogs.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- The Little Collar: Find your little collar on the trio's website and help a hungry dog in need!
- LegalZoom: The company Julia, Erika, and Rick used to get their LLC and all of their legal paperwork set up
- What is an LLC?: Learn more about the pros and cons of starting your own LLC here!
- "Airbnb for Dogs": Woman Hosts Pets at Her Home for $200/Day: After moving to the states to be with her new husband, a nutritionist from Spain decides to host other people's pets in her home
- Dog Lover Turns At-Home Baking Into Barking Business: A Michigan-based dog owner uses her baking hobby to launch a gourmet, healthy dog treat business, and her dogs make no bones about how much they love them!
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