Founder, J.Nichole Smith
My name is Nichole (well, technically, my name is Jessica), but you can call me Nic.
I have spent the last 10+ years Working with Dog. That journey has centered around a career as a commercial artist: a pet photographer & designer – but I have also owned a dog retail store, been a “staff photojournalist” and sold advertising for a dog magazine (and been published in countless others), co-founded and helped build a multi-million dollar dog brand from scratch, have been a marketing consultant for solopreneurs and billion dollar dog brands, designed products you see in your barkbox, booths you see at Superzoo and websites you probably visit often. I have had my sticky little paws all over the pet industry, for over a decade, in multiple countries, in all kinds of ways.
At this point in my career one thing has become ridiculously clear: I am a serial entrepreneur and also, I really like hanging out with people who are brave enough to take that leap into the self-employment abyss.
I light up in the presence of great ideas.
My great purpose and passion is to help create, polish and share brilliant ideas in clever and compelling ways. I love to do this for all kinds of people and brands, but I am especially inspired by the tenacious dreamers – the unstoppable force that is the highly-motivated entrepreneur.
Enter: Working with Dog.
I created working with dog as a way to funnel all of my experience, knowledge, skill, moxie, wisdom, creativity, kindness, contacts, mistakes, strategies and IDEAS into a place where they can be easily accessible, to help as many people as possible.
I’m not gonna hold anything back.
So I do hope you’ll join me for masterclasses and how-to’s, social media hacks and marketing swipe files, debates about growth, strategy & great branding, interviews with your personal pet heroes and a whole lot of support and celebration for your ongoing little victories… I know you will find something here that is useful and inspiring… something that is just what you need, right when you need it.
xx Nic & Charlie
J.Nichole Smith | Fancy Pro Bio.
J.Nichole Smith is a commercial pet photographer, marketing consultant and dog expert. In 2005 she founded dane + dane studios, a creative studio for pet businesses. In 2007 she co-founded Dog is Good, a lifestyle company for dog lovers, which is now a multi-million dollar business.
In addition to championing her own brands, Nichole has spent the last decade crafting creative strategies and campaigns for the most influential individuals and brands in the pet industry, including the likes of Purina, Petco and Victoria Stilwell.
In 2012, Nichole traded sunny California for swinging London. Later that year, her coffee table book ‘Puppyhood’ was released to critical acclaim. In 2014 Nichole graduated with Distinction from Kingston University’s MA Marketing program. Immediately following, Nichole opened Little & Large, a fine-art pet photography studio and dog boutique in SW London.
In 2016, Nichole sold her retail business and launched Working with Dog, a community based around providing petpreneuers with simple, actionable marketing strategies. Later in 2016, her book “Million Dollar Dog Brand – insights from the pet industry’s most inspiring startups” will be published. Nichole also keeps busy offering marketing courses, one-to-one consulting and keynote speeches (primarily to women) on topics relating to ‘marketing genius’ and entrepreneurship.
She currently works from London traveling often to the U.S. and various locations in France and Italy (traipsing from mountain to seaside with her husband, his cycle travel business and their ‘more-baby-than-dog’, Charleston).
Nichole was recently named one of Pet Age Magazines ’40 under 40′ …
“What inspired you to get into the pet industry? Like many petpreneurs, I was inspired by my dog*. I was 22, she was a Great Dane puppy, and from the instant I met her, I knew my life, career and sleeping arrangements would never be the same.
What do you feel is your biggest contribution to the pet industry? I think my great gift is the ability to quickly understand, interpret and make tangible that which my clients can’t quite verbalize. My experience in so many aspects of pet business: as a dog owner, dogpreneur, visual artist, author, journalist, salesperson, retail shop owner, consultant and dog marketing expert allows me to always have the big picture in mind.
What do you wish you had known earlier about the pet industry? I wish I had known how easy it is to reach out to fellow business owners – how similar all of our needs, concerns and victories are and how open most people are to connecting.
What would people be surprised to learn about you? My first animal passion was horses. As a child I would get the Sunday paper, circle the classified ads of all the horses I wanted, then set about drawing them fancy expansive stables and barns.”
* The big spotty lady you see here was the reason for my entire journey into the world of dogs and I owe any measure of any success I’ve found, to 11 years of her devotion, fearless spirit and not-so-quiet companionship. I said goodbye to her in the summer of 2015 and several weeks later I finally pulled myself together enough to compose the tribute she deserves, which lives here, if you’d like to read it. Needless to say, like all our heart dogs, she was somethin’ special.