Dogs, Desserts, and Delight: An Interview with Lara Warn, Pet Industry EntrepreneurPosted on
Lara Warn is the fearless founder of two pup-centered businesses, Pup Active and That Dog Ice Cream. Pup Active's purpose is to "create sweet swag for dog lovers while giving back to animal rescue initiatives." That Dog Ice Cream creates handcrafted dairy/grain/gluten free frozen treats for pups.
What is your Current Gig/Passion Hustle:
My current gig and passion hustle, fortunately, are one in the same. I’m building businesses in order to give back to dog rescue initiatives:
Pup Active is a brand for the unapologetic dog enthusiast, whether you're a dog mom, dad or just love dogs from afar. All items can be found on our website, www.pupactive.com.
That Dog Ice Cream is a frozen dog treat that is dairy/grain/gluten free. It is currently sold in 20+ retailers, as well as, dog friendly bars and restaurants across three counties in West Florida. www.thatdogicecream.com
A percentage of sales from both business are donated directly to dog rescue initiatives.
Quote you live by:
"Fate loves the fearless." James Russell Lowell
What small thing will you do today to make your world/community a better place?
I’d buy flowers for my girlfriend just because, take my dogs for an afternoon walk (we have three), shop local, drink coffee local, visit dogs at my favorite local shelter (Pet Pal Animal Shelter). Local is EVERYTHING to me.
Walk us through a day in your life:
- I’m up around 5:30/6 and then I drink all the coffee
- I’ll go do crossfit/weightlifting after
- Then I settle into a coffee shop from 9am-11:30am for admin work on both Pup Active & That Dog Ice Cream
- Around 12pm-2pm I see existing clients (we started as a dog walking business in 2015 and although we stopped taking new clients several months ago, we have some that will be clients until we officially shut down that side of the business)
- Then the afternoon to early evening I resettle into a coffee shop for more admin work, follow up on customer/partnership leads, tweak website, social media management, etc. Currently, it's all a one woman show!
What has been your journey to get to where you are now in your life?
It has been a VERY curvy road to get here! In these 37 years of life it's been a road that included many lines of work (Info Tech, Project Management, Hospitality), finding sobriety in 2014 (that's for a whole other article!), failed relationships/business partnerships, cancer diagnosis in the end of 2017 (this battle continues) .. all of which led me to where I am today. And I am oh so grateful.
What was the inspiration for Pupactive and That Dog Ice Cream?
One of our dogs, Charlie, was the inspiration for Pupactive and That Dog Ice Cream! He’s an 11-year-old black lab that I rescued in 2006 when he was 8 weeks old. He is the four-legged love of my life. He changed my life in all ways. He is the logo for Pup Active. He also has a dairy intolerance and was a driving force behind why we crafted That Dog Ice Cream to be dairy free.
What was the biggest struggle you had to overcome?
Self-doubt. It's such a hardship to overcome in the entrepreneur world. Finding a family in CrossFit was such a catalyst for this; it may sound cheesy, but it's so true.
What was the driver for you to pursue your current career/passion side hustle?
I had enough of living life on someone else's terms. I was a little over one year sober, felt as though I had found my footing in my new found sober life and decided one day that enough was enough and I no longer wanted to punch someone else's time clock.
What is your favorite story from the work you’ve done?
We did a dog adoption event a bit ago and the community/marketing director for the shelter (the same shelter where I volunteer) asked me what dog she should bring from the shelter and I recommended a dog named Raven whom I had just met a few days prior.
A big bubbaloo with a heart of gold and past written from a horror novel. Gracie, Pet Pal event guru, brought Raven to the event. Two of my friends met her, fell in love and within a few hours were back to the shelter completing the interview/screening process. Raven is now the four-legged love of their life. That sweet baby can live the rest of her life knowing love, kindness and comfort.
THAT story sums up my WHY in the best way possible.
What prepared you the most for what you’re doing now?
Learning from past mistakes, finding comfort in being uncomfortable and not being afraid to look stupid or make mistakes.
What is your biggest fear?
I fight everyday to NOT live a fear-based life and for the most part I succeed with that. However, I do have a fear that comes in waves since my ovarian cancer diagnosis in December, that I may not have the time to do all I want to do, but I refuse to live like that.
The fear comes, I acknowledge it, and then I move on to the next good thing. Whether it's a workout with a friend, a date night with my girlfriend, or following up on an email with a new potential buyer for our new venture, That Dog Ice Cream. We all have some level of fear and it's normal and natural to feel that - the trick is acknowledging it and refusing to let it linger.
What do you wish more women would do for themselves?
Self-care! So many of us let our own self-care fall to the back burner (I am guilty of this sometimes too). There is nothing selfish about self-care; I wish all women realized this.
What is something you hope our readers will do after they read this interview?
Find comfort in knowing that it's okay to have flaws and fears. It's okay to have no idea what you're doing before you start. Just start. Fact is, as I have learned by being a business owner the past couple years, nobody really knows what they're doing (if they claim to have it all figured out, they're a liar). We are all going step by step, learning as we go and doing the best we can.
I hope that someone reading this will say, "Wait, if she can do it, why can't I?" That's right. You can. Just start.
What does it mean to be an everyday hero to you?
An everyday hero is someone who strives to live their best life for themselves, their family and their community. An everyday hero doesn't need acknowledgement for every act of kindness - they do it because it's how life should be.
"Character is who you are when no one is looking." Allan Williams
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
If anyone is interested in jumping into the world of dog rescue, carrying Pup Active Apparel or That Dog Ice Cream in their store/restaurant/bar, feel free to reach out! Or if you'd be interested in doing a dog adoption event in your city, contact me!