Erin Mastopietro from Dope Dog – CEO Interview
When did you know you wanted to start your own company?
Since a young age I was always experimenting with small businesses, some more embarrassing than others. When I was around 10 years old, my neighbor and I started taking in and out our neighbors trash cans on trash day for $2 a bin. Later on, I started a pet sitting business in my neighborhood that ended up being rather lucrative. I eventually passed it along to my two younger sisters when I left for college.
What was your original idea for this company, and are you still doing that (or did you pivot, if so, what is the new focus and why)?
Dope Dog was an iteration of an earlier idea. It wasn’t until we saw the amazing affects that CBD had on our own dog James that we knew we had to bring a product to life for other dogs out there. That’s when it all clicked and Dope Dog was born.
How long did it take you to finally take the leap, and what was it that pushed you over the fence?
But to be completely honest, it wasn’t until the corporate company I worked for closed it’s doors and left me jobless that was I actually able to seize the opportunity to go all in on starting Dope Dog full time. It was the push I needed.
Who inspired you to pursue your dream, and why do you think they believed in you?
My mom always supported my business ideas, no matter how crazy. To this day she will always be my biggest fan.
Who is your favorite mentor and why?
I look to other founders who have started more than one business and have real stories to share. I am a fan of Nik Sharma, founder of Sharma Brands. He helps DTC brands grow and scale. He sends weekly tips via text which are helpful and inspiring.
What was the hardest thing about starting your company, and what did you do to make it through the first stage?
Many of the challenges we face are related to the nature of our product, as CBD is still a regulated substance. With the laws and regulations always changing, it is tough to navigate the red tape that is common in the cannabis industry. Finding good partners in our industry has helped us get started and make some key decisions early on.
What has been the hardest lesson to learn?
You must embrace change, constantly. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but sometimes I need to be reminded. When you choose to build something, it is always evolving and is never complete. Change needs to become your best friend.
What has been the most amazing thing you have experience while running this company?
The most amazing experience I get while running this company is the fact that I get to meet cute dogs everyday. Our entire mission is making dogs happy, and that never gets old.
What is the weirdest thing you have experienced while running this company, and how did you react to it?
I wouldn’t call this weird, but I think it is fascinating how many tools are available to anyone looking to start a business, specifically an online business. I love taking advantage of all that is available to us in this digital age, while also being careful not to become inundated with tech overload. It’s got to be a balance.
What is the best decision you’ve ever made while running this company?
The best decision I made was deciding to co-found Dope Dog with my business partner and now husband, Michael Benatar. He is a perfect counterpart and we both bring complimentary and necessary skills to the company.
What is the biggest mistake you made while running this company, and why do you think it happened?
I make mistakes all the time, but in a startup that’s kind of the point. You need to be constantly experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. Although I am sure certain decisions I have made might not have the best, I cannot think of a particular decision that I would deem a “big mistake.”
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your company?
We have been fortunate enough to have a majority of our business online so we did not feel a serious effect from coronavirus. So far, production has been stable as well.
What keeps you passionate about your company?
Taking any customer service call or email motivates me the most because I know I am making an impact on someone’s life.
What daily routine have you developed to help you take care of your mind, body, and soul?
I don’t mess around when it comes to my early morning routine. Bulletproof coffee, gratitude journal, and non-fiction reading. For workout it’s a combo of strength and yoga as much as possible. I am grateful that there are no shortage of wonderful yoga instructors in Los Angeles.
What one thing would you like people to take away from this interview?
If you have an idea, just start! Nothing happens unless you do, so stop wondering and planning and just throw something out into the universe. Only then will progress happen.
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On the podcast, Sean talks with entrepreneurs about the reality of their struggle to succeed, as well as answering questions from the community, and sharing nuggets of wisdom from his own life.
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Sean is an entrepreneur, investor, and advisor based in SE Asia for over 12 years. He is passionate about Psychology and helping others improve themselves.