If there is one thing I love, its finding new products/businesses that I get super excited about. That overwhelming, crazy, exciting feeling came when I came across Jessica’s website/business silhouPETte.
I knew the minute I laid eyes on this site, I HAD to have a replica of my sweet Lucy girl.
silhouPETte is a place where you can create a lasting memory of your precious furry friend. Jessica creates custom charm necklaces and portraits that are just beautiful. The process to having your very own silhouPETte is so super easy. You send in a profile picture of your pet and the team hand-outlines their silhouette to create a perfect replica. Jessica will also talk with you to get a feel for your thoughts and a better understanding of how you see your pet.
Also-if you would like your charm necklace right away, 25 of the top pet breeds are available for immediate purchase. Go here to see all available!
I asked Jessica a couple of questions so you can get to know her better and she what an amazingly wonderful person she is + how fabulous silhouPETte is!
How did you come up with the idea to start silhouPETte?
It was Christmas time, and I was looking for creative gift ideas for my best friends, and I realized that all of them were pet parents! I spent a lot of searching but nothing seemed to have the balance of personal, elegant, and understated. My then 16-year-old kitty, Silkey, was sitting next to me at my desk and the idea emerged! I took a snapshot of her profile and created my first digital silhouette on my computer that night. I immediately called all my besties and asked them for profile pictures of their pets – that Christmas, I made 4 custom pet silhouette portraits and purchased the domain “silhouPETte” the next day. I spent maybe 2 seconds thinking about the name… Just like when you start a new relationship that’s “right,” everything just fell into place organically and magically.
Tell us about the girl behind silhouPETte and your precious pets.
I’m from San Francisco, originally, and I will always be a San Franciscan at heart. My creativity is inspired by my upbringing and experiences there. In elementary school, we took field trips to the painted ladies and were given free-hand sketch assignments to draw what we saw. I immediately fell in love with the architecture and the Victorian era, in general.
From the heartwarming stories, to progressive design, technology, and business approaches, Walt Disney has also greatly inspired me. And Walt also was a fan of the Victorian era! Early family vacations to Disneyland included silhouette portrait sittings on Main Street – they would fit my entire family in one frame! Even at the young age of 8, I thought it was the coolest thing. That’s around the time I became obsessed with profiles. I loved how the artist perfectly captured every detail that I loved and knew my family best for.
(Now you’re probably seeing that it’s no coincidence that I chose to create Victorian-style silhouette busts!)
I spent most of my day-off after UNIQUE LA rescuing a fledgling crow, who ultimately didn’t make it. I was so sad! I called my dad for reassurance and we spent a few minutes reflecting about everything I’ve rescued and rehabilitated throughout my life (others include hamsters, mice, small birds, fish, and of course cats and dogs). My husband, Mark, and I later had a burial service for him – Mark played the Elvis version of “Amazing Grace” on his iPhone. I was crying as we buried the little guy but laughed when I heard the music. My heart filled with love… I have a seriously incredible life partner…
Getting to my current loves who fulfill my life: first, my husband, Mark. He is my heart, energy, and soul. Mark is the biggest supporter of everything I’m passionate about and really knows how to push me outside my comfort zone so that I’m able to see paths toward accomplishing my goals. He totally gets my love of animals and he indulges me when I go nuts over them (he even set up a Facetime call with Figaro and Dixon while I was missing them during a vacation in Greece!). I’m blessed to share this life with such an amazing and understanding partner.
Our babies are Dixon, a 5 year-old lab/pit/shar pei, and Figaro, our 2 year-old tuxedo kitty. Dixon is pure love. Our friends who sit for us while we’re away say that he mopes around because he’s sad that we’re gone. He has mastered the puppy-dog-eyes and it starts the moment we start to pack for vacations. He’s part old man-the way he snores/grunts, stretches, and the looks he gives us-and part puppy-he dashes from room to room with extreme energy and excitement and gives crazy-puppy wide-eyes!
He and his little feline brother follow me around the house together from the moment I get home. They especially love the guest room (it used to be Silkey’s favorite room, too) so occasionally I’ll work from home with them there. They play around and under the bed together. They cuddle and clean each other. And when they’re tuckered out from horsing around all day, they take naps under the sun together. We occasionally spy on them using a camera set up in our house and an app on our iPhones and catch them doing things like sitting side-by-side at the window, watching the world go by… chasing each other on our furniture… cuddling in a love seat. It kills me how cute they are. And it makes me so happy they have each other. This is the type of relationship I dreamed they would have when we adopted Figs.
Figaro would like you to think he’s a classic independent kitty but he hasn’t fooled me. From the moment he hears me stir in the morning, he won’t leave my side. He does that thing that infants do when they want “up” and even starts to pick his hind leg up as if he were going to climb up my legs if I don’t pick him up. Morning time is his special cuddle time with mom. Mark is such a patient guy that he accepts my bad habits of letting Figaro sit on my lap at the breakfast table (after I’m done eating, but still!). Figaro still kitten meows when it’s feeding time but likes to be treated like a big boy when others are around.
What is the most rewarding thing about owning/operating silhouPETte? And tell us about some of your accomplishments (like being featured in Martha Stewart!)
The cool thing about the Martha connection is that they contacted me pretty immediately after I started doing PR outreach and research. I came across a blog about PR methods that claimed the best way to get coverage is to have a really cool and interesting product so that “they [editors] reach out to you.” Literally two days later, I got an email from the MSL editor. I freaked out and called my husband right away! They were amazing to work with and had such tact and respect for what I do. It was absolutely flattering that they “got it” right off the bat.
Through our business, what I love most is that we are able to capture the unique relationship people share with their animal-companions. I believe our bond with animals is an access point to experience love unconditionally. It takes a different kind of communication and respect that is unlike any human relationship.
Do you have any memorable client experiences after they received their product?
I was blown away when I gave one of my best friends and her twin sister a portrait of their then 16 year-old Pomeranian, Snowball. They both burst into tears and couldn’t take their eyes off the portrait of the little sweetheart they had since middle school. It was one of the defining moments for me with silhouPETte – squealing or tears became the standard we had to work to achieve with each and every portrait or charm we made.
I love it when someone creates a custom piece as a surprise for their partner. It just shows how much they understand and appreciate that special bond… last Christmas, a customer, Erin, sent me a video of her boyfriend opening a portrait we created for him featuring a silhouette of his little boxer. He was literally speechless and tears came to his eyes when he opened the package… without saying anything, he hugged Erin with all his might and kissed her relentlessly, saying that this was the coolest gift he had ever received.
I’ve been active on Facebook and most of our amazing customers have found us there. As we launched the Labrador charm on our page, we had many requests for a black lab. I was touched by the enthusiasm over it so I instantly took pre-orders for the charm and started producing a black-rhodium plated silver Labrador (we even managed to sell out of that within two days!).
Jennifer was one of the first people to reach out to me about it. She had recently lost her sweetheart black lab, Bull, and was completely torn up. She had some questions about the ordering process so we set up a phone call and it turned into a 25 minute call on what the charm means to her now that Bull was gone. He was the beat to her heart and they had one of those “different” bonds that are extremely rare. I knew exactly how she felt as I experienced this kind of loss with Silkey. We bonded the entire time and as the conversation came to an end, she thanked me for giving her the space to talk about this. She said that some don’t understand what she’s going through and that it was refreshing to connect as it gave her space to heal. I got another phone call when she received the charm… and a few messages from her since reminding me how much she loves the necklace… wears it everyday… and that she sees Bull’s image every time she wears the charm. This is music to my heart!