Running a business is never a walk in the park. Here are several insights, tips, and advice from real entrepreneurs who are winning in their constant battles of running a business every day.
Christopher Cargnoni, the owner and founder of a pet streetwear fashion brand named Fresh Pawz, shared his experiences running a business that stemmed from his needs in finding chic and fashion-forward pieces for the beloved pets.
When asked about his inspiration to launch his brand, Cargnoni shared that he realized how more younger people own and walk their dogs on the streets. During that time, he felt that he was not ready to take care of a dog by himself. But he still considers the family dogs he grew up with as a big part of his life. Since he was working in the retail industry, he was very passionate about building brands and developing products that the public can connect with, so he began researching the pet market.
While researching, Cargnoni noticed that most of the articles are about how millennials are changing the pet industry’s landscape or how they become the biggest consumers in the pet industry. But when he tried to look for products and brands that cater to the millennial generation, he could not find anything that he could buy to capture his interest as a millennial. That is when he realized a big gap that needs to be filled in the pet industry.
He also shared that the biggest realization that he learned when running his brand is always to stay true to the original concept. Anyone can quickly shift and made various kinds of products for the market, but it will only make the brand just like the others and will no longer have a high level of authenticity. If he creates other products that are not part of his core plan, he will not reach his business goals. Part of his vision is to connect with all the major retailers in the country and attract them to carry a unique brand like what he established. So he decided to stay on track and produce good enough items so the retailers would want to carry his products. Now three years after the launch, there are Fresh Pawz products sold in most major retailers nationwide.
Cargnoni also shared the hardest hurdle he had to face when running his business. He started Fresh Pawz in January 2018 and planned to get funds using the salary that he gets from his regular job. But due to conflict of interest, he was let go by his boss a month after launching the brand. He had a choice to close his brand or look for another day job. But when he realized that he never intended to spend all his time or talents in building someone else’s fortune and net worth instead of his own, he decided to make the big leap and chose to keep the business. Now, he can look back and say that getting fired from his regular job was the best thing ever happened in his life as an entrepreneur.
To share advice to other entrepreneurs regarding fundraising, Cargnoni mentioned that investors are more interested in seeing businesses established using the owner’s handwork. It will prompt them to consider funding the business and show their support to see the brand grow to better heights. He also suggested that entrepreneurs must always stay true to themselves. They must never try to fit into something that they are not or do anything that may not contradict their values to get fundings from an investor.
Before closing the interview, Cargnoni shared the lyrics from the rap song “Used to This” by Future and Drake. The line goes: “Beat The Odds, Do Numbers, Remain Humble.” He said that the line struck him the most because it represents what he is all about. He believed that every person needs to will to face all the challenges in life. He also said that staying humble is part of his identity. According to the pet street fashion creator, arrogance could keep a person down when he falls. So the person must always humble himself, stand back up, and continue beating the odds in business and life.