Today we’d like to introduce you to Bridget Levine.
Bridget, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have always been a creative person, and had a passion for fashion since I was a young child. However, I kept putting my passion on the back burner because I was always encouraged to “get a degree in something that will give you a good income”. Naturally, I chose to study Biology and Chemistry for a career in the healthcare field, but I always longed and dreamed of doing something creative in fashion. I was finishing my degree in biology and chemistry and realized I couldn’t put my passion and love on the back burner any longer. I wanted to do something that was ME. My sister came home for Christmas with her new baby french bulldog that year. I instantly fell in love and wanted to build a brand that incorporated my love for this dog and my eye for style and trends. At the time, there were no other dog brands that had fashionable harnesses or apparel. The choices were very limited as far as prints went, and there were no harnesses or clothing that fit this breed of dogs correctly, everything was either too small or 5 sizes too big.
We invented a reversible harness that fit this breed LIKE A GLOVE. From there we realized that a lot of other breeds were also dealing with the same issue of poor fitting harnesses and have found that our harnesses are a perfect fit for all small to medium sized dogs. I put together a group of influencers on instagram (before influencer was even a term) to stand behind our brand as a team, people that loved our harnesses and believe in the brand. This team has grown since the start but we still have almost all of our original influencers. We call our influencers FRIENDCHIES, because they are our friends first. I believe in a relationship first. Give first. Love first. I grew our instagram account and would promote our products and our brand on social media as much as possible (all day everyday). I also hosted meetups, where our customers and followers would meet in real life and we could all build relationships, make new friends and build this amazing community. I still do these meetups, all over the world, where our online customers and followers meet offline. We have one coming up in NYC on October 6th!
We have grown so much since the very beginning and so much has transformed. We now sell reversible harnesses (which we have improved since our first design and have a patent pending on), strap harnesses, comfort collars, comfort leashes, ID tags, cooling bandanas, bow ties, and the cutest and best fitting dog hoodies on the market.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has never been a smooth road. That is life, and that is the beauty of life. We are on this journey and right when we think it’s “all good” something happens, and something needs to change, and we have an opportunity to GROW. Like Tony Robbins says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” I want to grow. It’s not easy, but that is what growing is, changing, learning, and practicing what you have learned. When I first started the @frenchie_bulldog Instagram account, I was on it all day every day, all night, every night. I knew it was how I was going to grow my business, and I wanted to reach as many people as possible. It was a struggle the first year because I had no idea what I was doing, I was constantly learning. I wanted immediate results, but it wasn’t immediate at all. It took SO MUCH TIME and SO MANY HOURS, DAYS, YEARS to get it where it is today. The key here is to NEVER GIVE UP, and BE CONSISTENT.
If you are just starting your brand or Instagram account for your business, this would be my advice: Make a plan. How many times a day and times of day you are going to post. No exceptions, this is a MUST DO task to post at these times/days. Consistency is KEY. Know that this should take up a good chunk of your time. On Instagram, you should be engaging, building relationships, being SOCIAL, building trust, and being CONSISTENT.
The other recent struggle is seeing so many other brands try to copy our designs and our brand. And it took a while for me to grow and learn from this. (The Four Agreements was a great book that helped me tremendously throughout this time). But, I grew. SO MUCH. The first lesson would be to protect yourself. We did not have a patent on our original design (which is now being used by many brands now) but we did get a patent pending on our latest design which is an updated and improved design. Always patent, even if someone tells you otherwise, find a way, and do it. The second lesson I learned and would encourage everyone to learn is “don’t take things personally”. Even if you feel something is personal, it really has nothing to do with you and only to do with the person it is coming from. If you don’t take things personally, it gives you immunity from feeding into negative mind talk, which can quickly snowball if it’s not noticed and stopped. The third lesson is to focus on YOU and YOUR brand. There is a quote I love, “Winners focus on winning and losers focus on winners.” People are bound to copy you if you are creating something unique and special. Focus on improving YOUR brand and YOURSELF, and you will always be ahead of the game.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Frenchie Bulldog story. Tell us more about the business.
We are the inventors of the first-ever reversible harness. Frenchie is a brand that specializes in the best fitting and coolest looking harnesses and apparel for all small to medium-sized dogs. I personally do a lot of everything in the business because we have a small team. Some of my favorite things are organizing meetups around the world and meeting our customers and followers in person, and designing the prints for each season. As a brand, I am proud of being first to new designs, products, prints, fit, always being at the forefront. I think what makes us different and what we are really known for us our community. We are a brand AND a community, we are friends with our customers and followers, we help when we see someone needs help. Every month we donate to a different charity or rescue and give a portion of our sales to this cause. I think what sets us apart from all there rest is that we are always striving to improve and I have high expectations of myself and my brand to bring the best of the best. We value quality, comfort, safety, and style. We are unique because we focus on our community on and offline and on a personal level.
It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Favorite books include The Four Agreements, The One Thing, Tools of Titans (anything Tim Ferriss I am into!).
Apps that I use regularly include: Instagram (duh!), Tezza, Darkroom, Lightroom and Evernote for photo editing.
Podcasts: Tim Ferriss, Gary V, Aubrey Marcus, and the Skinny Confidential!
- $9.99 – $42.99
- Website: https://frenchiebulldog.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/frenchie_bulldog/