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Community Highlights: Meet Yang Shen of Nayothecorgi and Petorama

Today we’d like to introduce you to Yang Shen.

Hi Yang, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
In 2016 at the age of 27, I landed at Los Angeles International Airport with my corgi “Nayo” who was then a five months old puppy. I am here to pursue my study at USC studying Master of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. I have always been wanting to have my own business since a child and I was excited to start this new journey on this new land with my corgi as my only friend.

I am always known as “Nayo’s mom” in school and around my friends because he is always the one attracting all the attention. I also love him with all my heart. He is a very special corgi as he appears to be naughty, arrogant and stubborn but the real him is very sweet and thoughtful. There are always a lot of things going around in his tiny brain. One day, I suddenly has an urge to get myself a new phone case with corgi print on top but it was such a painful experience trying to find a phone case I like all over the internet. To many people, that might just be another piece of gift item but to me, that is a way for me to express and show my love for my corgi. That was the moment where I realized the importance of pet-centric products. They are not just gifts but very special gifts that could represent and enhance the bonds between pets and their owners.

Within weeks, I came out with some design ideas and launched my first product online and within months, I sold hundreds of them. At that time, I was working on a project at USC and I shared my idea with my professor. He encouraged me to use my idea for my project and I ended up turning this idea into a real business I love. At the initial stage of the business, just like everyone else, I did many self-learning and I hand-picked and packaged all my products for my customers with care and heart. I even thought about putting a foot stamp of my corgi on the thank you card to show how much I appreciate their businesses. I was a tiny little girl weigh around 100 lbs and I had to move all the boxes weigh 50 lb by myself. I did build a lot of muscles for free during that time. I even drove my own SUV to the distribution warehouse at the port and stand in line with all the giant truck drivers wondering why I was there.

Even though a lot of hard work was done at the beginning, at that moment, I feel strong sense of fulfillment where people actually love what I am working hard for.

I started the company inspired by my corgi “Nayo” and of course, I named the brand “Nayothecorgi”. Initially, we only have a few corgi-centric products and that helped me meet many awesome corgi-loving people as customers and partners. I have met Kelly and Dan McLemore, the king and queen of corgis, who have become my friends for life. With the support of our customers, we started to receive requests asking for products for other dog breeds and now, there are more than 1000 different products for many dog breeds under Nayothecorgi brand and we even launched a customization line to provide people the unique piece of gift just for their special pets.

To honor and appreciate my first group of customers, Nayothecorgi brand also started the first and the only corgi-theme cafe shop at Alhambra.

Nayothecorgi is a brand that works hard “For pet & For YOU”.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Starting your own business is never an easy job. We did face many obstacles along the way.

One of the struggles that we face is lack of financial support. While I have trucks of products in inventory, the initial cash flow is not enough for me to hire anyone with reasonable pay. At that time, I had to take care of all areas of the business with limited time such as warehousing, customer service, accounting, sales, even manager and etc. Many of the tasks are so new that I had to force myself out of the comfortable zone just to expose myself to all the uncertainty and unknowns. Time and stress management is really important.

Another big obstacle is staying confident and keep fighting. There are good and bad times along the way that could significantly affect my emotions and thoughts. There are definitely times where I feel there is a huge obstacle in front of me which I am too exhausted to overcome and at the same time, not even sure what will happen after I got to the top. However, after a while, I realized that we need to learn not to be over arrogant to overlook the risks in front but stay confident and get ready to face the risks with respect. Finding the balance is really important.

Last but not least, the COVID situation has changed the lives of many entrepreneurs and we also not the special one, Our cafe shop was hit badly during this time but we have tried our best to stay around. Unexpected external events like this are also normal for businesses and we need to get ready to face them.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Nayothecorgi and Petorama?
Nayothecorgi is an online brand offering pet-centric products for pet lovers and pet owners. We have the most comprehensive line of corgi products in the market and we are now offering products for other breeds like pug, French bulldog, dachshund, poodle, pomeranian and etc. We also offer a customization line that allows you to print your pet on different things just is unique for you only. We have also opened the first and the only corgi-themed cafe at Alhambra. To provide corgi-loving people with an overall experiences, we have input corgi elements in everything we could: decoration, utensils, drinks, food, mystery boxes and full wall of merchandise. You could bring your dogs with you, enjoy delicious souffle pancakes with corgi marshmallow drinks during weekend with your friends. In order to help society to reduce the number of homeless dogs, we also invite rescue groups to our shop to do adoption and also help and educate the crowd to have pets responsibly.

Petorama is an online high-end brand offering 100% handmade pet-figurine, available for color customization. The products are collectable standards with super detailed crafting and coloring.

Our brands are very special as we are the one-stop shop for pet-centric gifts in the US. If you want to get pet-centric gifts, we are the one. We have the most unique product designs that no one in the market have and we put quality as our top priority. Our brand is direct to customers so we could offer the best quality with the most affordable price in the market. We are definitely proud of our customer service as we appreciate every support from our customers.

How do you define success?
Success is when I could use my capability and resources to create certain value for the society and that value are recognized by the society. A brand bringing values to consumers in need and consumers support the brand to provide more values. That success becomes even more desirable when I am passionate in the value I am creating and enjoying it.

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