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Check Out Nikki Star’s Story

Hi Nikki, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
My dogs Weston + Fira @WTFrenchie have enabled me to meet and connect with so many great people through Instagram, work + more. I’ve been able to experience so many things, not only because of the Instagram but because they give me the courage to be more open up and connect with others. They have literally helped me through so much of my own social anxiety and depression. So, I wanted to create a brand that reflected who I am. I wanted it to be dog-related, fashion-forward and bold in spirit but it also had to encourage and inspire others to talk honestly about mental health. I love being able to be creative and design while also connecting with others and the best part: working from home with my pups. #introvertlife 🙂

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I think since the beginning trying to weave in mental health with dog products was kind of difficult at first. But I’ve realized that even if it’s just “dog products”, people also connect to the person and story behind it. It’s allowed so many others to share their stories with me too and what honestly keeps me going!

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I do a lot of work on commercials (on the production side), so I love putting things together and creating a beautiful, cohesive end result. As @WTFrenchie (Instagram) grew, I created a blog + merch, which then eventually led to my brand SAINT RUE. I love the challenges + opportunities with e-commerce and am thinking of launching another brand very soon. I also have an e-course coming out end of the year teaching others how to build their own e-commerce and pet brand (@whowhatwag). 🙂 I spent my 20s not really knowing what I was “suppose” to do and tried my hand in a hundred different things–makeup, writing, painting, etc. There were lots of “failures”. But you don’t realize til you’re older that all those skills add up and shape what you do later. I’m most proud of being able to have a brand I stand behind–donating to mental health programs and encouraging others to share openly. Depression was a huge part of my life and will always be a part of me, but to be able to use that energy to help others!

Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
Planoly (app). All kinds of webinars (Shopify is a good place to start; Privy has great ones). Unofficial Shopify podcast. Honestly, I’ve learned so much watching small business owners on Tiktok–they are so helpful and open to sharing.

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