Meet the Maker is a new blog series on The Dapple featuring Q&As with small businesses, creatives, and makers who are crafting unique products for dogs and dog lovers.
Prepare to be inspired by today's Meet the Maker feature: Jenna, Paige, and Bekki McMakin of Pearls for Pups Co. This mother-daughter team runs a non-profit that creates beautiful jewelry and donates 100% of the profits to rescue organizations. We talked to them about designing jewelry, partnering with rescue organizations, and working with family.
What is Pearls for Pups Co.?
Pearls for Pups Co. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) started with a goal of saving as many dogs' lives as possible. Our designs raise money for rescue organizations and shelters to help them fulfill their missions—from providing veterinary care to finding forever homes for abandoned dogs. Our pearls come in a rainbow of colors, but all are plated with gold, named after a dog breed, and handmade with love. At the end of the day, our true purpose is to better the lives of pets and their people—because life is better with a dog!
What inspired you to start Pearls for Pups Co.?
Having two rescue pups in our own family, we felt the need to do our part. We saw so many rescue organizations and rescue advocates doing amazing work, and we wanted to find our niche and use it to support them.
What initially started as making and selling a few pairs of earrings to raise money for local shelters has grown into a full-blown passion project; this is what we do in the hours after our “real jobs.” Even though it takes an enormous amount of effort, it never feels like work.
I'm so impressed that you donate 100% of your proceeds to helping rescue dogs—how do you choose your partner organizations?
Thank you! Originally we chose some of our local rescue friends, but eventually, we learned about other organizations—either by word of mouth or social media—and decided to reach out! We now have a form on our website that allows folks to request a fundraiser on behalf of an organization. We simply require that they are a nonprofit dog rescue or shelter-type organization.
Tell us about your current partner organizations.
We have fundraisers scheduled with organizations through November, but we are very excited about one upcoming in September for Lucky Dog Rescue in Washington, D.C. They are doing some amazing work and we are excited to collaborate! Another organization, Rescue Strong, will also be partnering with us to host a giveaway and they will be donating a portion of proceeds from their sales that weekend, too.
What's your process like for creating your jewelry?
Well, we dream big! Most of our jewelry ideas start out shooting for the stars. Then we actually have to be realistic with what we can do and what makes sense for the business, but we always keep it fun.
Right now, in our second year of operation, we’re really trying to expand our offerings to incorporate more pearl designs (which are named after breeds) and crystal designs (which are named after puppy friends).
I love that you guys are a mother-daughter team. What is it like working so closely with your family members?
Two words: the best. We’re extremely close and each bring our own strength to the table. Bouncing ideas off of each other is where all of our big plans begin!
If you had to pick, which is your favorite item you sell?
Any exciting upcoming plans for Pearls for Pups Co.?
Absolutely! We're launching 10+ new pearl colors and 10+ crystal colors within the next few weeks. We're excited to be able to finally offer people more "breeds" in pearl colors! The crystals have also been tremendously popular lately, so we're launching some fantastic colors for the fall and holiday season.
How can our readers support your mission?
Share, share, share! Our biggest hurdle has been getting our organization out there and in front of new people, so we would love for readers to share and network our organization and cause.
What has been the most rewarding part of running your own non-profit?
We can’t name just one! The most obvious is donating to an organization that truly needs the funds—it is the best feeling we could imagine. Knowing that we’re able to help a rescue or shelter do more good in the world is so unbelievably rewarding. These organizations are the boots on the ground doing the nitty-gritty work of saving dogs, so if we can give them one less thing to worry about—like paying off a medical bill—then we have succeeded.
Secondly, we have loved creating a community of dog lovers around Pearls for Pups Co. Finding other people invested in this cause and rallying everyone together for a common purpose has been so rewarding.
And lastly this is a creative outlet for us, which makes it so fun and rewarding. We handle everything ourselves and we want it all to be amazing—from the shipping packaging to swag to the website to the pearls themselves.