Name: Jane Lee
Location: San Francisco, CA
When Jane Lee adopted her “little mutt” from the San Francisco SPCA in 2010 she was inspired to create hipper, more chic dog accessories than the ones she was currently seeing on the market. She put her product-design background to work and launched Wildebeest in 2011, offering collars, leashes, treat bags and more via her online store and in numerous locations throughout the world.
Hi Jane! Tell us about your business.
In 2010 I adopted Shelby, a little mutt from the SPCA and was suddenly exposed to this market filled with underwhelming selection of dog accessories. I never thought I would get into the dog product business, but I made this shaggy bed for Shelby and she loved it. I thought I could share more unique designs with the pet world. I just decided to go for it! I had no previous experience in running a business, so you could say Wildebeest was born out of 99% passion!
What’s one thing you know now that you wish you’d known when you were starting out in business?
I think if I had known more at the beginning, it actually would have been harder for me to start a business. I've learned a ton as I go, and I think continuing to learn on the job is a fine way to grow and evolve my business.
What has been most satisfying about starting and running your own business?
First and foremost, I love being able to create the products I believe in. Seeing how those creations integrate into other people's lives is rewarding and humbling at the same time.
What has been most challenging or surprising about starting and running your own business?
Being a sole owner can be tough. Sometimes I wish I had a business partner who I could bounce ideas off of and make decisions with. It’s been a huge blessing to add a couple of employees over the years. It can be crazy and overwhelming when you’re spread so thin trying to do a million things operating a business.
Entrepreneurs tend to think “differently” from people who work a traditional 9-5 job. Tell us about your “mindset” as a self-employed person.
As an entrepreneur, I think you work harder and become more resilient. You build this sense of pride, and you also feel responsible for keeping your business healthy. In my case, I often working overtime or tinker with different ideas in my free time. I enjoy it, and I’m a workaholic, so working for myself suits me!
How are you gearing up now for the busy holiday season ahead?
We're planning a big production of all our products to ramp up our inventory. We’re also trying to come up with one more new design for the winter season. Fingers crossed!
Jane, what do you hope to gain from attending QuickBooks Connect?
I’m looking forward to more brand and product exposure. We love doing events where we can directly engage with customers because we can learn so much. It’s valuable to find out what customers are looking for and what products work and don't work. And it's always fun to have customers show us their pup's photos!
QB Community members, how long did it take you to turn your idea into an official business? What steps did you take to make it happen?
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