Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriella Santos.
Hi Gabriella, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Home With Hound really is just a combination of my favorite things: photography, knitting, dogs. Both knitting and photography have been a part of my life since I was a young girl, and in 2017 my husband and I brought home our first puppy, a Miniature Australian Shepherd named Lindy. In 2018 while living in California, I connected with a small local dog business called Hundenfolk. I really liked their products so I asked to team up with them to take some of their product photography. Ultimately, the deal was photography practice for me, and free photos for them. The relationship became this really wonderful friendship, and we are still friends today. It was a neat experience to be able to watch someone working to grow their small business. I would attend all of their pop ups for photos and support, and meanwhile, at home, I had been knitting these dog sweaters. At first it was just for my pup, but then when my friends saw them they offered to have me sell them at one of their pop up shop events, which was how Home With Hound was born. In 2019 my husband and I relocated to Austin, which was the inevitable branching off of HWH. I spent a lot of 2020 really trying to figure out the direction and lay the groundwork for HWH. It’s been a lot of fun to figure things out on my own, but still be able to call my friends and say “help! I need advice!”, they have been nothing but gracious and it’s been a huge motivator as I find my own footing as a small business owner. But, when your business revolves around your favorite things, it’s a really great motivator to work towards building it up.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I don’t think that much in life can be considered a “smooth road”, but where is the fun in a smooth road? After relocating to TX in late 2019, Home With Hound went on a small hiatus as everything settled down after such a big life change. Unfortunately, shortly after moving I broke my ankle, and almost as soon as I was able to get my boot off and get back to normal, March 2020 hit and Covid shut the entire world down. When I look back on everything, the timing is pretty incredible, you couldn’t have planned it better if you’d tried. There were plenty of challenges that came with 2020, but I was very fortunate to have a creative outlet like Home With Hound to put my focus on. It’s kind of ironic that once I found my footing, once I felt “ready” to really put Home With Hound out there into the world, that the world was shut down. But that’s OK, it’s given me more time to refine, to learn, and to develop everything, which is likely for the best.
We’ve been impressed with Home With Hound, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Home With Hound is a small business that focuses on goods for you and the dogs that make your house a home. I have two Australian Shepherds, a 3 year old Mini Aussie named Lindy, and a 1 year old Standard Aussie named Samba. Originally Home With Hound started solely with hand knit dog sweaters for my Mini Aussie, but I’ve since added other matching knit sets and handmade bandanas. Everything I make at HWH is something I’d put on my own dogs and something I hope others would want to put on their dogs as well. Your dog doesn’t have to be “overdressed”, and a bandana is a really easy way to keep it classy. I’m hoping to add more dog accessories like collars and leashes to our catalogue by the end of the year, but for now, I’m focusing on bandanas and hand knit goods.
Is there a quality that you most attribute to your success?
I think it’s important to be both determined but also pliable when building and nurturing a business. You have to have a lot of grit and determination to keep trying and failing over and over again until you figure out what works and what is the best course of action for both you and your business. And along with that has to come a willingness to step back and say: “ok, this wasn’t efficient, how can I do that better moving forward?” Or “where can I better ask for help when a similar situation comes up again in the future?”. Part of that pliability means being willing to humble yourself and to ask for outside help, which can be really hard for business owners, especially when the brand is your baby! I have a really great set of second eyes in my husband, who has been really instrumental in being an encouraging voice, and a set of second, more “neutral” eyes when it comes to the business side of things. If I could just spend all day being creative, you know, making things, working with my hands, I would do just that. He’s really been great at helping me take a step back, helping me put into place more efficient systems, and kind of shifting my focus to the logistical side of things, not just the creative side. That’s been really key to helping HWH grow towards being more successful.
- Bandanas: $22
- Sweaters: $50-$75
- Matching Sets: $70
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.homewithhound.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/homewithhound
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/homewithhound