February 12, 2013
Julia is always reminding herself to keep her obsessive love of dogs in check. To not be too crazy.
For example, “Don’t eat that dog treat.”
ARRFSCARF makes locally sourced dog treats and they look amazing. Read on to learn more about the company and its owner!
Q. What was the motivation behind opening Arrfscarf? Or what initially motivated you to become a small business owner?
A. That old saying “do what you love” is true. I believe that ARRFSCARF represents who I am and what I love: design, fashion, cooking, and animals. I’ve been evolving as an entrepreneur ever since high school when I started designing and selling jewelry. My dream was always to own my own company. I just didn’t know why. Now, I have a clear vision and goal. I want to make dogs happy even if it’s just one dog at a time
Q. Tell us about your background- your education, work experience, and how your got started in this business.
A. My degree is in fashion and jewelry design with a minor in marketing. This background helped me launch my business and create a boutique pet company that is very custom-oriented. I want to be able to give my customers something special that they can’t get from other pet stores. I have worked luxury high-end retail for years so I draw on that experience to create my product lines and keep ahead of the trends. Our company began with one treat and a scarf. The scarf was actually designed for a person, but I thought “what if I tried this on Ms. Maru?” She does get cold, and nothing covers her neck. Then that expanded into what I’m known for in the Chicago area, our specialty dog ice cream. I want ARRFSCARF to be a brand known for locally sourced quality ingredients and materials, this is very important to us.
Q. What’s your favorite part of the job?
A. My favorite part is working with dogs and giving back to the community. It’s very important for me to help those dogs that aren’t lucky to have good homes. This business lets my creativity soar with endless possibilities. And, the best part is knowing that what I create makes life a little better for someone.
Q. What is the best thing about running an at-home pet related business? What is the most challenging?
A. The best part is that I can work any time day or night. The bad part is that I’m always working day and night plus my day job so that I can run a business. Just like other home-based business owners, it’s hard to stay disciplined and you answer only to yourself and hope you’ve made the right decisions along the way. One of the biggest challenges is living in a small space and having your business take over that space. Right now I have two commercial freezers in my dining room and my little red ice cream cart is parked next to my fireplace all year round.
Q. What’s your average day look like while running Arrfscarf? Are you doing this work full-time or in addition to another job?
A. I run my business while working a full time job which means I work 24/7. I have a giant to-do list every day. On breaks, I might be ordering supplies, picking up a print order, or finishing up an ice cream order for a client while on a lunch hour. Plus, there’s the hundreds of emails that have to be answered. I am lucky that I have a full-time assistant and partner. We each have our own special job and bring something different to the table. What’s great is the synergy we have between us. That’s what has helped grow the company and made being a business owner such a positive experience.
Q. Tell me more about your pets? What do you enjoy doing with your pets? How do they make life better for you?
A. Right now, I have one dog named Ms. Maru who has been with me for eight years. SUKI, my second rescue dog was hit by a truck four years ago. I was devastated and still think about her every day, 100 times a day. Her spirit lives on with the company. Ms. Maru is the pretty princess who likes to pose for photos. She’s all about fashion and fun and still has the high energy of a pup. She is my baby and coming home to her is one of the best parts of my day. We go on runs through downtown Chicago and along Lake Michigan. She loves to ride in the car. Unfortunately, she is aggressive so there’s no social meet-ups for her. But, that’s okay. She’s my best friend and a part of me.
Q. Tell me more about the rescue partnerships you’re working to establish?
A. In the past we would choose local and out-of-state rescues to donate treats. Recently, we launched a campaign called “Little Not Perfects”. We ask people to let us know which shelters could use extra treats and once a month we send them our “not so perfect” treats.
What does that mean? Since we hand make all our treats, sometimes the batches don’t come out perfect looking. They still taste great but we can’t sell them. So, these shelter dogs get our fabulous treats and we don’t throw away good food.
ARRFSCARF is getting ready to launch a subscription model for their customers to pay monthly to get their treats delivered automatically to their door. It includes a special treat that rotates monthly. This is great for busy dog owners and a nice surprise for your pup. Get on the list!
Right now, their ice cream business is more seasonal running from April to October. Their “little red ice cream cart” debuts each spring and it’s always on the move. They do lots of dog events in downtown Chicago and suburbs… private parties, food truck gatherings, small business/corporate promotional events, as well as catering.
And coming soon: the original Arrfscarf that was part of the launch of their company has remained special order only until now. It is going to be on their site in the next few weeks and will allow customers to still pick their own colors and adornments. Think luxurious… Baby Alpaca and Peruvian wool to keep your pups extra warm in the winter.
You can check out more by visiting arrfscarf.com to read their blog, find them on Facebook, and follow Andreana on Twitter, or Instagram- arrfscarf. Arrfscarf product is available at 4 Legs Pet Products and Sam and Willy’s or you can order direct on their site. If you live within a 2-mile radius of Old Town, they will do FREE delivery to your door!