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Rising Stars: Meet Ashley Lopez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Lopez.

Hi Ashley, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My coworker, Sam Whitelaw, and I were having a dull Monday morning at our corporate job. We always had talked about a crazy idea where we make dog treats and leashes to sell. COVID hit and sent us home to work remotely. We also hit our slow, seasonal months and decided to try out our crazy idea. We started with a few leashes and treats to give to our friends and family. Over a few months, we started getting a lot of likes and comments on our products. We then decided to make a Facebook page and see what happens. Because of COVID and quarantining, dog adoptions went up in our area. We took that opportunity to promote our personalized items and sell them online. Once vendor events started opening up, we signed up for as many as we could find to get our name out there.

As dog lovers, we wanted to provide pet owners with the best, most affordable, customizable products we could create. We offer homemade, personalized dog bakery items, custom leashes, and bandanas. All our bakery items are preservative-free and can be customized with sayings and names. All our leashes can be customized precisely as the customer requests, whether specific colors or rope widths and lengths. We also donate 10% of our profit to local animal shelters and organizations in St. Louis and the Metro East, IL area.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Like many adventures, there have been lots of challenges along the way. In the first year, we weren’t focused on turning a profit, just figuring out our groove. We had to figure out things like our logo, color schemes, product designs, prices, customer interests, and many other things. We had to take some time and think, “What would we like for our pups?” That helped us realize good, reasonable prices and design ideas for our products. At some points, it was discouraging. I also attended the University of Missouri- St. Louis while working full time, so Midwest Pup Club was another huge piece on my plate. Time management obstacles, family emergencies, work, school deadlines, and other small business competitors were some of the bumps along the way.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I work in Human Resources for a construction company in St. Louis. I also just celebrated the commencement of earning my bachelor’s in business administration and management from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I have worked full-time and attended college for the past 10 years! Since the start of my college career, I have changed my major about 4 times. Once I hit a certain point, I knew I had to finish what I had started. I’m most proud of my work ethic. I can honestly say I am ambitious and a hard worker. I strive to succeed and don’t take no for an answer. If there’s something I want to accomplish, I will. Now that college is over, and I have more time to spend on Midwest Pup Club. I love being able to provide a personalized product to a fellow dog lover and their furry best friend. If we can donate any extra funds to needy animals after the quarter is over, that’s an even more significant plus!

Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Midwest Pup Club would not be where it is today if I didn’t have my business partner, Samantha Whitelaw. She’s the master creator behind our adorable dog cakes and treats boxes. We have worked together at 2 different companies over the past 6 years. We attended the same high school but didn’t reconnect until a few years after graduating. Our love for dogs is what helped us come up with the idea of the Midwest Pup Club. We have worked really hard to acquire and keep new and repeat customers. We’re looking forward to being a part of a small-business collective next month. We will also be introducing new products, like koozies, t-shirts, and decorative towels, all dog-related!! We are thrilled to be able to expand our brand and grow as much as we can.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
The picture of my dogs and I was taken by Kate King, with Rust + Rays Photography.

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