Bitch!

Jan 18, 2011 1 Comment

“Even Super Women needs a manicure once in awhile,” states one very confident, hard working Stacy Braverman. This mom of three, multi-tasking maven owns and operates the online pet boutique BitchNewYork.com. She shared some of her life experiences (both business and personal) with us, along with invaluable knowledge and what it takes to get the “job” done. Read how this entrepreneur runs her household, her business, manages life’s curve balls and still finds time for pretty pleasures.

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Tell us a little bit about yourself and what led you to open up this company?

SB: I am a single mother of 3 wonderful kids. I am also an animal lover. I have always had dogs and about 6 years ago, I got my first chihuahua. Her name was Lola. I could not get over how little and adorable she was. I decided that she needed to be dressed up and adorned with jewels, like a princess! I had already done it with my daughter years ago, but let’s face it, she was 15 now and didn’t want me picking out her clothes anymore! When I started to shop around for gorgeous dog clothing and accessories, I was disappointed. I found little to nothing spectacular. So I sat up every night scouring the internet, trying to find those hidden gems that you wouldn’t find by just googling “rhinestone dog collars.” I did this for about a year and had compiled quite a list of places to purchase what I considered luxury pet items. One day my daughter suggested that she could build me a website. I felt that if I had a hard time finding these things, so did a lot of other people. So I took her up on it and Bitch New York was born.

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How long did it take you to come up with the name Bitch New York, and were you hesitant about it and why?

SB: At the time, Paris Hilton was all over the tabloids and TV with Tinkerbell, her chihuahua. I figured that if she were on the red carpet one day with her dog and someone asked her what her dog was wearing, she would probably love to be able to say something outrageous in response. Being that I have been called a “bitch” one or two times in my life (and by the way, I am proud of it!) and a female dog is a “bitch”, I thought it would be perfect. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and have always been proud of that so “Bitch New York” was first on the list. I ran it by some people and got a very positive reaction. Most people thought it was brilliant (and I still hear that almost once a day). There were a few people that felt it was a little risqué but I thought it was worth the shock value.

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How long have you been in business now and how did you get your name out there?

SB: We started 6 years ago with no money, just some money I loaned from my credit cards. So we had to make the most of everything we did. I did some select print ads in the dog publications that I loved to read like Modern Dog. My ex-husband jumped on board and did a bit of guerilla marketing by going to dog parks, events and escorting me to trade shows. I talked to every vendor in person so that I was not just another empty internet presence. I made great relationships and things just moved naturally forward. Everything having to do with marketing (SEO, Social Network Marketing, PR) I have done myself until we had enough money to hire a professional to do it.

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How do people usually react to the quirky name of your company?

SB: People love it! If I wear a Bitch New York t-shirt in the streets people stop me to ask me where they can get one. Most people think it’s clever, edgy and bold – like me!

Did you always know you wanted to own a company like this? What did you do before having this company?

SB: Not at all. I have a business degree with a concentration in marketing and a minor in Criminal Justice. I always wanted to be a lawyer. Instead, I got married right out of college and worked in an advertising agency for a bit until I opened a Kitchen Design Studio because my husband was in construction and he did the installations (so essentially, he worked for me!). It was a huge success but we weren’t. So when we got divorced I gave it to him and went my own way. Then my mother begged me to open a business for my brother who was a personal trainer and according to her, would never be able to support a family without my help. So I got 3 personal training degrees and opened up a Luxury Personal Training Studio for us. I tried to make him the star and just stay in the background but he didn’t really want to work that hard and one day he just moved to Florida. So I closed it. Went through another divorce and found myself with another boyfriend who installed flooring. So I bought a box truck on Ebay, turned it into a mobile showroom and gave him a business called the Art of Carpet. He had some medical problems that ended up leaving him unable to work so he closed it and we split. After that I decided to stop wasting my talent on everyone else and put it to some good use for my kids and myself! And here I am.

What was the first five major steps to opening up your company?

SB:

  • Incorporation.
  • Trademark the name.
  • Buy the domain name.
  • Build the website.
  • Learn the art Search Engine Optimization and apply it.

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Tell us about a difficult or unsure time that you overcame and are proud of.

SB: I think my life has been a series of difficult and unsure times. One divorce is never easy but two is worse. All of my 3 children have had medical issues with the worst being that my baby was diagnosed as autistic at 16 months. I spent the next 2 years monitoring and assisting in his therapy and being an advocate for him and ultimately he is now mainstreamed and earning straight A’s in a private school. I think that is the best accomplishment of my life.

How do celebrities know about your company?

SB: Same as anything else… we work at it. We attend events where celebrities are invited. We participate in gift bags for the major awards shows. We send out samples to celebrities with dog. You name it we try it. We are active in all the charity and rescue organizations that we can get our hands on. I have a need to give back and take care of things and dogs are no exception. If I could save all the dogs on the planet (and all the children, by the way) I would do it. There are a lot of celebrities that feel the same way, so we cross paths quite often.

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What do you possess as an individual that you feel makes your company successful?

SB: I work very hard. I am a perfectionist and that’s a blessing and a curse. But I think the inner drive to be the best will make you very successful (of course, if you start out with the basic tools like common sense and intelligence!).

What keeps you motivated every day?

SB: My kids first and foremost are my motivation. I want to give them the best of everything and in order to do that, I have to be the best at what I do and grow this company into something that will be able to provide for them until they can provide for themselves. Then of course, there is always the pride that I have in what I have created something that people love! It’s like having another child you are proud of!

If you could teach other current or future entrepreneurs something that you feel have learned about and others could learn from, what would it be?

SB: Be prepared to work very, very hard. It takes about 5 years to see any real profits from a new company and in that 5 years you may have to work 22 hours a day/7 days a week. It’s not for everyone. People like my brother expect to open a company and then sit back and collect the profits and it definitely doesn’t work like that. Be prepared to let other people take some of the responsibility off your shoulders where you can. You don’t want to be a “jack of all trades, master of none.”

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In the beginning where did you keep your merchandise? How about now?

SB: We don’t actually stock any of the merchandise. We list the products on our website by taking the photographs from our vendors and making them look as good as possible. Then as we get the orders, they are forwarded to the vendors for fulfillment. It has its advantages and disadvantages.

How has your company evolved since you first started?

SB: We started out with a small website with several hundred products listed and now we have over 16,000 products. I have two assistants that work on adding products and updating products and pricing. We couldn’t even optimize the website because of the way we had set ourselves up with a shopping cart. I would hand write each of the orders and email them to the vendors myself. Now it is all done automatically. We have come a long way but I had a great web designer that helped me to see what was wrong with the way we were doing things and show me what was possible with a little imagination.

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What is your greatest marketing tactic?

SB: When I studied marketing it was before everyone was on the internet. We learned that brand recognition is the key – get your name any where and everywhere – so that people would see it and not know where and how but they have definitely heard of you before! I think you have to incorporate Facebook and Twitter into your marketing these days so now you just have to get your name in all the places that are possible on the internet as opposed to print (thought I wouldn’t miss out on that in some way.)

What great developments can we expect to see from “Bitch New York” in 2011?

SB: We are always working to become a household name in all the households with pets. It started out as an office joke but I used to say that I’d like to be big enough to be approached by P.Diddy with an offer…maybe it will actually happen!?

How many orders do you get per week?

SB: I don’t really like to look at those things. I am very superstitious and I feel like I don’t want to jinx it. I just know it’s enough to keep me working day and night and in need of more help! For me it’s all about what’s in the bank account when I go to it.

What is your best selling item?

SB: I don’t see a particular item as the best seller. In the winter we sell a lot of coats and sweaters. People love to buy pajamas for the small dogs as well as carriers.

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What would you say makes your company as a whole unique and different from all other Doggie Shops out there?

SB: First, we are the largest Luxury Pet Boutique online. We import many of our products from all over the world – Paris, Italy, The Netherlands, Australia, just to name a few. Many other website owners don’t want to deal with the headaches that come with that but I like to have the most unique selection. The biggest thing that sets us apart from the others is our customer service. When you call or email Bitch New York, you get to talk to me, the owner. I answer emails 24/7 unless I am sleeping. I go the extra mile to make sure that our customers get what they want and need. If it can be done, I will get it done.

Are you working on anything new and interesting we should know about?

SB: We have been working on our own fragrances for dogs, so I hope to launch that in 2011.

What do you LOVE the most about having “Bitch New York?”

SB: I love being able to make people happy. For my customer’s I make dreams happen. There are customer’s that may want a dress for a special occasion or they have a hard to fit pet and I find out what the wish list is and have it made by one of my designers. But better yet, I get to help the lives of pets in need. I give products that we get as samples or returns to different rescue groups and charities and they use them as give always for events or auction items to generate money for their cause.

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Give us 5 Amazing Tips!

SB:

  • Stay Positive! Don’t ever put negative things into the Universe.
  • Have confidence in yourself! You can do anything you set your mind to.
  • Never bad mouth your competition, just tell everyone what is great about you. They will figure out the rest on their own.
  • Make sure you appreciate the people that help you become successful. You can’t build a castle without a solid foundation!
  • Make sure to take time out for your family and to energize yourself. Even Superwoman needs a pedicure once in a while!  🙂

Edited by: Bridgette

BITCH NEW YORK

www.BitchNewYork.com

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One Response to “Bitch!”

  1. Cecilia Bryer says:

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