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Meet Jill Lin and Ryan Lee of TigerPig

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jill Lin and Ryan Lee.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Hi, we’re Jill and Ryan. We’re the founders of TigerPig & Co, a design-focused pet accessories company with a mission to be a good friend to all animals by giving back to animals in need. We named the company after our dog, Harvey, also known as “Tiger Pig” thanks to his piglike stature and brindle stripes.

For the past five years, TigerPig & Co was just an idea we tossed around. We are huge animal lovers, but also incredibly busy, so we did what most people did and put this on hold.

In 2017, we promised each other that we’d take a year off to cross off things on the bucket list and TigerPig & Co was one of them.

We are both creative directors and  Jill is also the fashion illustrator behind PplOfFashion and Ryan is one of the co-founders of Depicteur, so we knew design would play an important role in TigerPig & Co. When we launched 5 months ago, we started with dog bandanas, curating the prints and even designing a few of them ourselves, and have since expanded to partnering up with like-minded companies to co-create handwoven pet beds.

We do almost everything ourselves -photoshoots, branding, design, copy, etc. But we’re also incredibly lucky to have friends who can help advise and connect us to other companies in LA, because teaming up with local vendors was important for us. As a small business it meant that paying more upfront for production, but we loved being able to build the type of company we’d like to see out in the world.

We run everything we do through a filter of, would a good friend do this? And that’s why we created a model where we team up a different NPO each month, tell their story on our platform, and donate a portion of our profits we made to them.

We’ve given back to 2 nonprofits so far, Road Dogs in Los Angeles and The Sato Project in New York. Currently, we’re working to help raise funds for TigerFrances in Los Angeles, a nonprofit that not only rescues animals but helps educate children on the importance of empathy and love, in hopes that it helps decrease the amount of animal abuse in the future.

Has it been a smooth road?

As a two-person company, both of whom are newcomers to this industry, there were definitely struggles along the way. We had to learn the in’s and out’s of fashion production in a very short period of time.

We actually left our first production company that handles a lot of major brands because we noticed a lot of mistakes were being made just in producing samples and we weren’t getting the type of guidance we needed.

We’ve since moved on to a smaller production company in East Los Angeles and it has made all the difference. The chemistry between people we work with is important. We look at everyone as partners. That means, if we have an idea, they will get a say, and we want to hear what they have to say. It’s not a black and white transaction for us.

As silly as this sounds, we also learned how important it is to team up with people who share your passion. The difference between working with someone who has a dog or a cat or who loves animals and one who doesn’t is insane. The people who get and love what we’re doing put that love into the partnership, and that’s when it doesn’t feel like work, it just feels like we’re a bunch of people trying to do something good for our fur friends.

We’d love to hear more about your organization.
We specialize in creating well-designed accessories for animals that also give back to animals in need. As a relatively young company, we’re most proud of the heart of the company, the foundation.

There are a lot of pet accessories companies out there, and some of them do have a charitable angle, but we created this company so that it could give back.

We’re a for-profit company, but after speaking to a few nonprofits, we quickly realized that this little two-person company is giving back way more of its profits than some of the larger companies out there and that makes us super proud.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
We think Los Angeles is a great place for TigerPig & Co.

Jill: Part of the reason I wanted to launch TigerPig & Co in Los Angeles (as opposed to New York, where we used to live) is because I was born and raised here. I grew up with the type of dad who would bring home strays he found near where he worked. We would feed them and take care of them until they were reunited with their owners. As a child, I really thought that was the norm and that’s what people did.  To come back to Los Angeles and build this company that is centered around helping animals felt absolutely right.

Ryan: We discovered you can usually find someone to help you with any sort of business need in Los Angeles. We spent a lot of time in the fashion district when we were getting samples made and if there was something specific we needed to have done that couldn’t be done there, we were usually pointed to someone who could. It’s amazing to have a network like that.

Pricing:

  • bandanas -$29
  • limited-edition bandanas -$35
  • Handwoven Pet Beds with cushions (small – $200, medium $215)

Contact Info:

  • Website: tigerpigandco.com
  • Email: hello@tigerpigandco.com
  • Instagram: tigerpigandco

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