Inspiration can come from anywhere—for senior Nyah Gray, it came from simple walking her neighbor’s dog around the block. Her neighbor asked if she would be willing to walk her dog, and Gray agreed to. After returning from the walk, she became inspired to start browsing different dog accessories but, since she didn’t have a dog of her own, her mom wouldn’t allow her.
“I wanted to buy [the accessories] but my mom said no because it’s not my dog, so I thought I would make them for her,” Gray said. “I started posting them, people started liking them, and then it kind of grew from there.”
And so, Gray started her business, “Gray and Hound.” Fast forward to today, and she makes a living making and selling leather bound dog collars and leashes, along with an assortment of other accessories and add ons. She has sold to 2,201 customers on Etsy, with sales exceeding 4,300.
Since starting in 2013, her business has gone through many changes, most notably the materials she uses. In the beginning she used Paracord, to make the collars, a type of nylon rope used most typically used with parachute strings. That worked in the beginning, however it proved to be cumbersome after a while.
“I started off with Paracord, which is a military cord and I kind of braided them together,” Gray said. “But then I hated doing that so I switched to fabric and taught myself how to sew and kind of went from there.”
Using social media, Gray has been able to grow her business significantly since its start in 2013. In the beginning, she had to do everything herself- make her own collars and accessories, package them herself, ship them herself, and everything in between.
“It was hard for a while in middle school… I’d be up until 3 in the morning sewing, then I would have homework that was due, and I would focus on the business instead of the homework.” Gray said.
Now, due to the success of her business, she’s been able to get some help. Instead of making everything herself, she has been able to outsource her production. That way, all she has to do is ship out her products. Working smarter, along with the increasing workload of high school, has helped Gray and her business tremendously.
After high school, Gray plans on continuing her passion and growing her business. She hopes to grow it to the point where she doesn’t have to ship in general, and she can work on being more hands-off. This will be especially beneficial when college gets up and running- Gray has proven she can run her business through middle and high school, and she plans to do the same in college. The money she earns can support her through college, along with building upon the solid foundation she has now.
Gray’s business has grown significantly since it’s start, and her passion is evident in all she does. Follow your passion, and check out Gray and Hound on Etsy.