Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pet care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Susmita Leonido, Owner of Nyabear, LLC., located in Lynchburg, VA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Nyabear is a new Dog supply store. Our products are for everyone, but it is designed for millennials and Gen-Z dog moms. Specifically for dog owners who conceal carry self-defense weapons. There was a funny TikTok trend of men and women that had captions such as "Why are you not scared walking alone at night" or "Reason why I'm not scared to go hiking alone." It would then switch to implying that they have armed protection as the reason. Some women doing this trend used waistline holsters, fanny packs, and purses. In the online market, there are utility/tactical fanny packs for concealed carry. There are also stylish fanny packs for women with dog-walking features. What if there was a dog-walking fanny pack and self-defense hybrid?

There is no 100% guarantee of safety. But we hope that when you grab the PawsOff Belt bag to walk your pup, it reminds you that even if you have to be cautious in this dangerous world, it is still yours to explore. Ms. Beyonce Knowles said it before. Who runs the world? GIRLS.

Tell us about yourself

I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. My first business venture was in elementary school, collecting "Salagubang" or beetles in a big jar. I would then roam around the streets to sell it to other little kids for 5 or 10 pesos. Why did I sell insects, you ask? Because you can tie a thread on their wings and fly them like a kite. (Pls don't tell anti-insect cruelty folks about me) As days went by, other rival kids started doing the same, which decreased my sales and saturated the market. My next business was Iced pops, also known as Iced candy in my country. Fruit Iced candy was already sold in my street. So I made chocolate-flavored Iced candy. It was made of brewed cacao tablets, water (because we did not have milk), and sugar. I already knew my market because I played with the kids I was selling to. Fast forward to my 20s, and I'm in the healthcare field in the US. Going to class from 8 am to 1 pm, then head to work from 5 am-7 am. My older sister and I took turns napping as the other one drove. The burnout did not stop because there was more work and more degrees to get. I gave myself permission to have a childlike viewpoint on what I wanted to achieve, and it reminded me of the younger me who was not scared to be different.

I can't avoid work, so if I'm going to overwork myself, I would rather overwork myself on my own terms for my own business rather than a big corporation that never learned to pronounce my first name properly.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is keeping a hopeful mindset and working through disappointments and mistakes rather than giving up.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

The first small business I tried was a party rental business or inflatable bounce house rentals. I would advertise online and in person, go to my customer's houses to set it up in the morning, and pick it back up at night. This business is seasonal and takes a while to expand. I wanted to try other business types. The hardest thing as a business owner is inconsistency. Realizing that your customers, goals, and businesses will need to be paused or pivot to something else for you to progress.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Start even when you don't know what to do and start even when you look stupid. You can't learn everything even when you take every course and read every book. You can't avoid embarrassment and judgment. So you might as well do it now.
  2. Get into radical acceptance that your ideas and ventures will fail, but you'll give it your all anyway. You have to rewire your mindset into thinking failure and success are not separate outcomes. You cannot get one without the other.
  3. Starting a business or entrepreneurship is not glamorous. Especially when you're starting out, be prepared for disappointment. There's a light at the end of the tunnel ... or so I heard.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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