Welcome to our Spark! Meet the Founder series, where we introduce you to the amazing entrepreneurs who are participating in our 2022 Spring Spark! program with a quick Q&A!
Spark! is a small business accelerator that puts the right people, opportunities, and access in place for local entrepreneurs in Arkansas to take their venture to the next level.
Please meet Nicole Winstead, founder of WoofCat, an e-commerce pet treat company specializing in handcrafted, organic, limited-ingredient dog and cat treats.
The Venture Center: Why did you start WoofCat?
Nicole Winstead: I started WoofCat for so many reasons. The first reason was out of necessity, to save money. Handcrafting dog and cat treats saved me a ton of money annually. Secondly, I believed the strays that I was rescuing deserved healthier treats than the commercial treats I had been purchasing. And thirdly, I wanted to leave a job that was slowly suffocating the life out of me.
What are your biggest challenges as a business owner?
One of my biggest challenges is intention versus impact. I am often challenged by what I intended to communicate does not always have the impact I would like. I am also often challenged by speaking about myself as the owner. I was taught to be overly modest, and that speaking of oneself was boastful. So, it has been a challenge to unlearn those teachings. That’s why I use every opportunity to speak in public about my business and myself. My parents also said practice makes perfect.
My third challenge is checking in with myself and giving credit where credit is due. I often feel as though I have accomplished very little when, in actuality, I have created and mastered some very important milestones.
What do you hope for the future of your business?
I hope to become an industry leader in the diversification of the pet industry and pet communities in the U.S.
What are you proudest of so far?
Winning two pitch competitions within one year and creating and sustaining a business I really adore!
What do you hope to gain from Spark!?
Business maturity, like bookkeeping, structuring of the day, sales, and the like. I still consider the business to be in its infancy stage. I am ready for it to grow up.
I would also like assistance in coming up with strategies to approach businesses for B2B relationships. I hope to gain knowledge and help to create a marketplace while maintaining the handcrafting side of the business. Additionally, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to gain contacts through networking.
Huge thanks to Nicole Winstead for participating in Spark! We can’t wait to see your business grow! Sign up for our newsletter and follow The Venture Center on social media to keep up with our Spark! 2022 cohort!