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The Hustle

Name: Lara Warn (Pup Active)

Posted By Kendel Burke

Those who are “dog friendly” probably know about Pup Active, a St. Pete-based clothing line made especially for dog lovers. Founder Lara Warn launched Pup Active in 2016 with the goal of creating fun apparel that helps to protect dogs; Warn is passionate about rescue, and a portion of sales goes to animal rescue initiatives. Pup Active stamps its creative brands on different materials, from hats and T-shirts to stickers and pins. The clothing line also makes apparel for dogs (of course), including bandanas, dog bowls and dog tags. Warn’s late pup Charlie’s paw print is printed onto every piece, and she promises that people can feel his kind and happy spirit when they wear the brand.

Years in Tampa Bay

16

Hustle (job)

Founder - Pup Active Founder - That Dog Ice Cream

What do you do?  

I own/manage Pup Active. We're an honest and edgy lifestyle apparel brand for dog people. We also donate 5 percent of sales to dog rescue initiatives. We've also started Rescue Dog yoga classes in St. Pete and they have been STELLAR! So fun! Check out our website for more info.

Why do you do it?

I wanted to create a life on my own terms and build a business that gives back. Make cool shirts while saving dogs? Yes, please.

What was your Catalyst? (How did you get started?)

I was in the bar business for a million years and then took a stab at corporate America. I was in my early 30s and doing what I thought I was supposed to do. And I hated it. Like, really hated it. I started thinking about what I would do if I could do anything and realized I would hang out with dogs. So, I decided to start a dog walking/pet sitting business. Quickly, our book filled up and it stayed full for a couple of years. It was AWESOME. Somewhere in there, we launched a couple of shirt designs and started vending at local markets. In early 2018, we sold the dog walking/pet sitting portion of the business and started focusing on apparel.

What’s a common misconception or unknown aspect of what you do?

It seems that a common misconception is that it's easy. Or that it doesn't require much work. The amount of work/hustle that goes into owning a small business is mind blowing. Truly. I had no idea.

What’s the most challenging part of your Hustle?

Making my brain shut off from business mode. Literally. It's pinging away up there all the time and as all entrepreneurs know, it can be exhausting.

What’s the most valuable piece of business advice/insight that’s helped you?

Someone once told me that you don't have to know what you're doing to get started. Just start. So, that's what I did. You don't have to know or understand all the pieces of what you want to do. Just start. Know your WHY and START. Baby steps are better than no steps.

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