We had the good fortune of connecting with Tricia Hrapmann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tricia, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I have always had the dream of owning my own clothing boutique but when I rescued Briggs, that dream changed to owning a business that has to do with dogs. I wanted to get out of the corporate world and dogs make everyone happy! After participating in Houston’s Lift Off Program, I decided that I needed to do something on my own to make residual income to further that goal. I came up with the idea of making bandanas and taught myself how to sew…I was delighted to find out that others loved the bandanas as much as I did. I pulled together a couple of ideas for the unique BNW bandanas that we have today. I can’t believe how much fun I am having making others smile; I had no idea I had this creativity inside of me. I will add on to the Briggs ‘n’ Wiggles product line and will now dream of Briggs ‘n’ Wiggles becoming a household name for those sweet fur babies.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have a sales and recruiting background and just felt like I was going through the motions every day. I started to think, if this was really how I wanted to live my life; feeling pretty worthless… so I did a lot of soul searching, looking for a change that would bring more value. As I mentioned, I participated in the Lift Off Program and during this time is when the story of Briggs ‘n’ Wiggles began; early 2019. I decided to take a leap of faith and just hold on tight.
My dog Briggs was a successful foster fail in December 2017. I taught myself to sew and started making him festive and fun dog bandanas. I love being festive and dressing sassy…it just makes me feel good! I thought, why not add something a little fun to Briggs’ everyday attire and now his signature mohawk. He got so many compliments and it always seemed to put a smile on someone’s face, which made my heart full of joy, so I decided to spread the joy and make these for others. This was it, I decided to develop a dog accessory company. I came up with the name Briggs ‘n’ Wiggles, after my pup because he does nothing but wiggle his butt.
We provide handmade reversible pet bandanas that go on your pets’ collar as well as a variety of collars. We offer a variety of style bandanas to fit each pet’s personality…preppy, sporty, festive for the holidays, and sassy. Dogs and cats of all sizes can wear these fun bandanas, they come in XXS to L. These bandanas just sit on your dog’s shoulder, the pet doesn’t even know that they are there; they do not fall off because they slip onto your pets’ collar, there is no tie. Some of our popular bandanas have a matching scrunchie for their hooman.
It has been quite the bumpy road, nothing smooth about it!
My first market was in December 2019 and was on-track for a banner first year in 2020. My mom came to help work a few markets in the Houston Heights with me in March 2020. The main market being the Heights Chamber of Commerce Crawfish Boil. This happened to be the week before the world shut down. Everyone was telling us that last year’s turnout was so much better…we didn’t know any better, we had a steady flow of customers the entire time. It was amazing to get a small glimpse of what could be. The next week COVID19 happened, and the world came to a standstill. Undeterred, I was determined to grow BNW through the pandemic with grit and hustle.
I remember thinking, I am online…but getting traffic to my website is tricky. Luckily a friend of mine, Jason Ruth has his own business, Site Ascension, where he is an internet marketer. He has helped me out tremendously by rebuilding my website as well as behind the scenes work such as SEO and backlinks. Let’s just say it is a work in progress.
As I am still trying to get traffic to my website, I participate in many markets around the Houston Area with Circa Real Estate’s Pup-A-Palooza on 19th Street, Feel Good Group, MKT Heights, MKT Sunset Market, Lace Markets, East End, Shop Local and a few others. I have also partnered with The Pup Stop on Wakefield and a few other rescue groups throughout town. You can also find Briggs ‘n’ Wiggles bandana’s at Yale Street Dog House Bakery and Three Dog Bakery Houston.
I have learned so many lessons along the way. The lessons that stand out the most is that work is life, and it’s too short to hate your work or fear failure. I’ve decided to just do it, no procrastination nor excuses. I’m learning not to take it personal if someone wants something that you don’t have. You can’t have every dog lover as your customer.
Briggs ‘n’ Wiggles offers one of a kind pet accessories that bring a splash of style to your fur babies. Our brand is based on love, laughter and lots of wiggles. I believe that dogs make us better humans. Their main jobs are to give us unconditional love, emotional support and constant cuddles. There is so much controversy going on in our world today, but with dogs it is peaceful and loving. It warms my heart to be a part of several different rescue organizations that help dogs find their forever homes.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well, to be honest, I haven’t had much time to hang out so this would be a treat and exploration for me as well. I have been dedicated to making Briggs ‘n’ Wiggles a success, so I am usually home sewing, cutting, completing administrative tasks, website updates or at a market (which have become my social outings, sad but true). But if I had a friend in town, we would eat Tex Mex of course (probably a couple of times), visit a dog park or two, spa day, visit one of the local breweries, a little sightseeing and a trip to MKT Heights to explore many of their new boutiques and restaurants, attend a farmers’ market to show her what it is all about and go to an Astros game if they are playing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many that have been involved in this dream of mine; either I have met them along the way or they have always been there to motivate me. There are some days I wake up asking if I am being delusional with this dream but other days I wake up and say, of course I can do this! The person that has been a huge supporter to me is my mom. We have had many brainstorming conversations; she has had so many great ideas, but I had to keep reminding her that I am only one person filling in every role of running a company. One magical day she decided that she would help me sew!!!! I couldn’t believe it. You’d better believe that I had a sewing machine on her front porch the next day! Even though she helps sew, I cut every piece of fabric and mail many to her, while I also diligently sew; she returns them completed in a timely manner. This is such a huge help in keeping my inventory up. I also want to give thanks to the City of Houston for the Lift Off Houston program: they really opened my eyes to help me get Briggs ‘n’ Wiggles started, UH Sure Program, as well as the Pup Stop at Wakefield are also important to starting my business. So many doors have opened because of these organizations. I have made many mistakes along the way, but apparently these mistakes were all a part of God’s plan for me. I have met so many amazing vendors who have introduced me to others which in turn has led me to partner to grow the Briggs ‘n’ Wiggles brand.
Other: TIK TOK: @briggsnwiggles Pinterst: https://www.pinterest.com/briggsnwiggles3
Jill Garrett Photography