So to Speak is beginning a new series of interviews entitled: Starring Local Feminists featuring people in the Virginia and Washington D.C. neck of the woods who exemplify wonderful will of strength and promote equality while following their passions.
So I figured, what better opportunity to kick-start the series than with a Virginia Tech grad starting her own business?! Following are some words by Lara Tal on her new business, Pupcakes,and some thoughts on the stresses and excitements of working for one’s self and one’s passions. Pupcakes is an online store selling tasty treats for dogs and cats (I particularly like the cat part) alike! It is always important to remember that while we feminists strive for equality among men and women and people of various ethnic backgrounds and life styles, we also fight for the good care of animals ensuring that they, too, are healthy and safe from maltreatment.
Before I started Pupcakes, I had been toying with the idea of a Doggie bakery for a while. I knew I loved to bake, and I knew I loved dogs, and the two just seemed to fit. The fact that I definitely don’t need to be eating everything I bake helped, too! The whole process was overall a lot more complicated than I expected it to be. The reason I decided to do an online business was because I thought it would be easier than a real bakery. Well, it obviously was, but it was still more than I expected. It took a ton of research to find out what forms I had to fill out; different permits, tax forms… tons of stuff. But even though the process was long and drawn out, it was definitely a learning experience. I have a Blog post about it here!
You can ask Dan (my boyfriend)– I was a basket case a lot of the time. I always felt like I had to get whatever I was working on RIGHT this minute. Obviously, that wasn’t the case, since it took me almost 6 months to get up and running. I think the most stressful part was that I didn’t get instant gratification. In fact, that’s still the hardest part. I knew it would be slow to start, but I had no idea how slow.
I really want to help people have happy puppies! I love baking and so far, all the pups have loved my treats. Eventually, I want to learn to be a dog trainer and expand into a bakery/training business. I really just want to spend my time doing things that I like that have a positive impact on people and pets. I think there’s a lot to be learned and the pet care business is just getting tapped, and growing so quickly so I think it’s a really great and unique market to be in.
I don’t know if I consider myself a feminist, by strict definition, but I love the idea that feminism is about equality – even for animals! My family has always treated our pets like family… my dad even says when he dies he wants to come back as a dog in our family, because they truly are part of the family. My dog sleeps in my bed, under the covers! I’m not saying that everyone should spoil their pets rotten (like I do…) but, I think there’s a huge problem with the amount of pets that go uncared for and badly cared for. There is this misconception that the only “good” dogs are the purebred ones, but I say adopt! Jameson was a rescue dog and he is the best dog I could ask for. If you do want a purebred dog, don’t get them from pet stores – a lot of times these puppies are crossbred and can have a lot of health issues (due to puppy mills.) if you want a purebred dog, go through a certified breeder.
Like I said, I want to study to become a trainer too, so this stuff fascinates me. A lot of dogs get a bad reputation -pit bulls, boxers, German Shepherds… they are all known as “rowdy” or “dangerous” and “violent.” What people don’t understand is it’s the way a dog is raised and trained, not always the type of dog that breeds bad behavior.
Anyway… that’s my soap box. I can step down for a moment to get back to your other questions.
As far as my connection with animals, like I said, they’ve always been a huge part of my life and family. The only time I didn’t have a pet was throughout college, and I can’t imagine not having one now! I’m not sure why I chose to “work” with them. It’s just always been something I was interested in.
My bakery is different from others because I try to stick with healthy, all natural products. Lots of whole wheat, fruit, and not a lot of sugar and NO preservatives. Of course it’s different because it’s run out of my kitchen, and the taste tester is my pup, Jameson!
All photos in this post are from www.pupcak.es
As always, So to Speak welcomes your comments and thoughts! If you have a local feminist you would like to tell us about email email@example.com with the subject heading Starring Local Feminists.