It ain’t easy, but canine fashion crafter works to make a name for herself in Chico
Starting a business these days is no easy venture. I’d wager that starting a business based on a craft while working full time is even more difficult. And, in fact, I know from experience how much effort it takes to not only create merchandise, but also market it and sell it and turn that raw material into a profit. So a big kudos to all of you out there who find the time and energy—and have the talent!—to make it work.
Jessica Pothier is a 26-year-old Chicoan who works two jobs—at PetSmart and as a sign-twirler—but in her spare time she sews adorable dog collars and leashes. I spied her business card tacked to the bulletin board while waiting for an order of fries at Burger Hut the other day and had to take it home with me. She first hooked me with the picture of the dog (I’ll pretty much stop whatever I’m doing if there’s a dog to be looked at or, better yet, pet and played with) and then with her business name: The Geeky Dog. Love it!
Unfortunately for Pothier, I’m one of the rare ones—business hasn’t been so good. But in talking with her and looking at her designs, I like what she does. I also like where it’s coming from, both from her love of her rescued dachshund, Zeek, and her desire to create things with her hands. I have a feeling she just hasn’t made it yet.
The first thing that makes me jump to that conclusion is the craftsmanship and style of her creations. She uses bold colors and fun designs for her collars, decorated with everything from pink and red hearts to black and white skulls. She also has a line of “bag buddies,” which snap onto a leash and can carry waste-removal bags or treats. Cute—and practical.
The second reason I think Pothier has a winner here is her commitment to the community. Chico loves to get behind local businesses and causes and Pothier has taken a step many aren’t willing to: She donates a full 25 percent of each sale to local pet-centric charities. Right on, Jessica!
The third and final reason I’m jumping on the Geeky Dog bandwagon is that I was once in Pothier’s shoes. I didn’t know much about marketing, about paperwork and all the details that go into creating a business. It was a steep learning curve but with some good advice from people in the know and some help from family, friends and local businesses, I was able to make it work. I think with similar support, people like Pothier—I know she’s not alone out there—also can make a serious go at a home craft business here in Chico.
Pothier doesn’t yet sell her wares in local stores—though she’d like to—so her stuff is exclusively online (www.thegeekydog.com). So, if you’re an animal lover or you know one, check it out.