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Meet Genevieve Mariani of Wild Dogs

Today we’d like to introduce you to Genevieve Mariani.

Genevieve, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am a professional artist, I went to art school in Minnesota, where I graduated with a BFA in illustration. I have always been an animal welfare advocate, interested mainly in wildlife and the issues surrounding humans interacting with wild animals. Since childhood, I have been enamored with non-human animals, especially large carnivores.

My dreams as a kid always involved working with animals – but I was really only good at one thing – art. Thus I wound up at an amazing art school and became a professional illustrator. It was easiest to work as an advocate, rather than pursue another career in any kind of animal sciences.

I moved to Southern California in 2013, and many of my dreams came to fruition upon doing so (due to my own action). I was introduced to the motorcycle community, which changed my life for the better more than I could ever say. I got to reconnect with a somewhat lost career in professional art and began teaching as well as working as a freelance artist. Another sleeping dream awakened, a dream of working with animals.

I began volunteering at Wolf Connection (a non-profit wolf and wolfdog rescue), which quickly turned into a job. I’ve been there for the last three years, working with rescued animals, at-risk youth, and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. In addition to this, I started teaching art privately. I now run my own Wilderness Painting Class, as well as teaching on various other platforms.

All these different avenues in my life come together in Wild Dogs. The ultimate dream is to create my own rescue/educational ranch – providing a home for animals with no chances left, education and outreach for at-risk youth, art classes tying wilderness and therapy all together. Perhaps it contains a campground, hopefully, it can provide jobs as well as education… ultimately, Wild Dogs is not just a clothing brand, and I think we have already proven that.

Along with our Wilderness Painting Class, we have now held three community events, two fundraisers benefiting National Parks, and one an art show celebrating and uplifting artists in our community. It is an indescribably magical thing to see people coming together to make these events happen, people willing to give back.

At this point, all I can say is, I don’t entirely know where I’m headed – but I promise it won’t be boring. Together we can be of service using each of our own unique talents.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has NOT been a smooth road.

I started Wild Dogs Co. after yes, dreaming of it for a long time – but with no real plan other than a vision based in dreams. I had been working in motorcycle sales at Harley-Davidson, spending all my extra time at Wolf Connection – and almost no time doing artwork. I quit suddenly, and start my company with barely any money, and no certainly no knowledge of how to run a business.

I learned how to do EVERYTHING, from filling out government paperwork to screen-printing, by asking for help. I need to especially call out Matt from MNKR and Trinia and Jolene from Hinterland Empire – without their advice and help, it would have been an even rockier road.

Money has been the biggest issue. I don’t have investors, I didn’t have a bankroll or a financial plan (yeah, that’s my fault) – and it’s literally impossible to make merchandise without money. I do what I can, but it is certainly frustrating to have ideas and dreams that cannot currently come to fruition.

My other hurdle is a more personal one – comparison. Some of this is based on my financial means, but I do find myself a victim of “compare and despair.” I look at other companies who started around the same time as me or companies who are doing what I’d ultimately like to be doing. This is something I am currently, and may always be, working on.

Please tell us about Wild Dogs Co.
Wild Dogs Co. is a clothing company – on paper. We make and sell hand-printed tees with our own artwork on them, all themed in adventure & awareness. You’ll see a lot of animals and motorcycles.

We just started a consignment section of our store – where people can sell and buy used motorcycle gear. I found that when I started riding, it was extremely difficult to find used gear that was actually protective. Now that I’ve been riding for years – I find that I have a lot of gear that I don’t use, and would be happy for it to go to someone who needs it.

Most importantly, Wild Dogs is a community platform. We host events, classes, and facilitate education based on things we believe in. Whether that is painting, National Parks, motorcycles, or rock-climbing – we aim to teach and get people together.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I think that is just simply being at my childhood home. I grew up in a somewhat remote area near the Mississippi River in Minnesota. We had land with trees, fields, ponds, and a marsh.

My dad and I built a fire pit, and I spent countless hours roaming the area with my border collie mix – Sam. From climbing trees to showing my mom the voles and frogs, I held hostage (she always made me let them go) – the entire thing, anything that happened there.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
John Ryan Herbert, Joshua Montez, Jessie Gentry, Cadencia Photography, Cadencia Photography, Monster Rally

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