Student gains motivation, direction through business

Jasmine Smith promotes Paws in Texas at local flea markets. Photo courtesy of Jasmine Smith.
By JASMINE RODGERS

@TheEtCetera

Business major Jasmine Smith was failing almost all of her classes at Eastfield, moving homes and working two jobs when she decided to start her dog bandanna company, Paws In Texas, last August.

Since starting the business, Smith has found a new inspiration for school. She was originally an undecided major, but she’s now pursuing an associate degree in business and plans to transfer to a four-year university.

While Paws In Texas has only been operating since August, the business has been quite successful. With loyal customers and secured spots at local flea markets, Smith is adjusting well to being a college student and business owner.

“[The fall] semester actually hasn’t been that bad,” Smith said. “I’ve been doing a lot better in comparison to last semester.”

Smith said it was her dog Charlie that influenced her to begin the pet apparel company.

“I had spent so much money buying him bandannas, I just thought it’d be easier if I made them myself,” she said. 

With some fabric and a sewing machine, that’s exactly what she did.

Smith then enlisted her sister-in-law Jessica Martinez to run the online pet apparel business with her. 

While Smith and Jessica were able to find designs at local fabric stores, they needed the help of Smith’s mother-in-law, Gabrielle Martinez. It is Martinez who sews the fabric together and customizes the bandannas to the customer’s liking.

Paws In Texas offers designs inspired by movies, sports teams, seasons      and holidays. Customers also have a choice in bandanna style, from tie-on to Velcro. 

Smith takes the lead in the daily running of the business. She manages the Instagram page, updates the website and hosts giveaways.

Although Paws In Texas is an online business, Jessica is working on making their products more accessible with booths at flea markets and fairs.

While Smith interacts with customers, Jessica reaches out to vendors and other small businesses for opportunities for exposure.

“I am making sure that everything is up to date on the website, our Instagram page and I am making sure all of our fabric and sewing machines are good and ready to go,” Smith said. 

Along with making sure inventory is up to sale expectations, the business owners are also looking to add more patterns to their website. From superheroes to cupid hearts, the Paws In Texas girls guarantee to have your pet the best dressed in the room.

Catherine Gutierrez, a high school friend to Smith, is a regular Paws In Texas customers. 

“Jasmine has always been the creative type,” Gutierrez said. “She was always vlogging or making something, so her being in the pet apparel business is not surprising.”

Gutierrez, a mother of two cats and three dogs, has bought several sets of bandannas for her furry children. 

Smith said she is lucky to have loyal customers that keep Paws In Texas running. Smith added that the business would not be what it is without Jessica’s help.

Both being dog moms who love to dress their pets, Smith and Jessica were similar in their desire to create something unique for their pets. 

Working together not only allows them to create stylish accessories for their pets, but it also acts as an outlet for their expressiveness.

“When you’re an adult paying bills and everything, there is no time for creativity,” Jessica said. “Doing Paws In Texas has allowed me to do something with my creative skills and make some money while I do it.”

When Smith and Jessica presented the idea to Martinez, she was immediately up for it. 

Though Martinez works behind the scenes, her craftsmanship and efforts speak for themselves. 

“Being able to make something with my family is a blessing,” Martinez said. “[Smith’s] creativity and work ethic is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, especially from a young person just figuring everything out.” 

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