MONUMENT • Every year David and Nicole Myers’ children look for a project to do over the summer vacation to keep them entertained and possibly make a little money.
However, for summer of 2020, in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic prevention measures, their efforts to start a new business were taken to a new level that also expanded their learning.
The family have two black poodles named Beau and Lucy. The pair of canines have become a subject of fun and community for Lauren Myers, 13, and Jillian Myers, 11, who interact with other dog owners through Instagram. These social media communities are known to share pet photos, products and care tips.
Soon the Myers’ started to get requests from pet accessory companies to have their dogs model different products and pose for different photography projects. They used their presence in the online community to help support dog accessory businesses, and eventually Lauren and Jillian had the idea to start a business of their own.
By the time winter rolled around, the girls, along with their mother Nicole Meyer, launched Bear & Bea Co., an online business selling cute dog and cat accessories. However, their business idea went beyond creating a website and selling a couple items for pets to wear.
Given the quarantine at the time the idea and desire for the project came to light, parents David and Nicole decided this project would be a bona fide e-commerce business and a way to educate their children in all facets of what business development and management entails.
The family took on an entrepreneurial attitude, helped by the business acumen of David Myers, who owns a software business and is launching another new endeavor soon.
It was David and Nicole’s intent for the girls to get an education with this business idea, to include learning the financing, designing, manufacturing, marketing and every other staple of owning and managing a business.
“I told them if they were going to start this business, it was going to be a real one,” David Myers said. “We were all at home, spending a lot of time together. You don’t want your kids sitting on video games the whole time, so if we could funnel this idea into a learning experience, why not?”
Nicole Myers said they did not want their kids to feel limited by their age. She hoped it would be a learning experience to teach them about business. In addition, it was important for the girls to learn every aspect of running the business, even though they may not like doing every aspect.
The girls decided their dog-and-cat accessory business would launch with a few collections of bandanas.
“We thought the business would be cool because Lucy and Beau love to wear their bandanas from other companies,” Lauren Myers said. “They were something fun and easy for us to make. We just thought it would be a good starting point to the business.
“It has been a great distraction from COVID and a great learning experience.”
Nicole Myers said the girls have always been very hands on when it comes to projects. Even when they were younger, they were into creating with their hands and had a very artistic and creative approach.
“Coming up with some sort of project business, this just filled the need for that,” she said.
While the designing of Bear & Bea Co. products involves the input of everyone in the family, it is Jillian and Nicole who perform the manufacturing involved. Jillian also manages the shipping of online orders.
Each member of the family was designated roles within the company once everyone learned all the aspects of involved — an additional lesson in efficiency.
While the family has adopted an effort to recycle, it decided minimizing its carbon footprint would also be important to its operations.
“We think it’s important because we know how much waste can get put into the earth, and we don’t want to contribute to that a whole lot,” Lauren Myers said.
In addition, Nicole Myers said the business is focused on using only local resources for materials, using all-natural and 100% cotton fabrics. Even the packaging has been designed to leave very little waste. Every shipment comes complete with “thank you” cards and complimentary all-natural dog treats.
Lauren, who as of this semester is getting middle-school elective credit for her role in the endeavor, was the creator of the business website (bearandbeaco.com) and e-commerce platform. Until then, she had no prior website development experience. David Myers said he helped by fielding some questions in the process, but the online store was created at the hands of the 13-year-old.
The business name is a hybrid of Bear and Beatrice, the middle names of the family’s two beloved poodles.
Jillian Myers said the most exciting part of creating Bear & Bea Co. was learning all aspects of it and working with customers online. She said orders have come from all over the U.S., and from both coastal regions, including from the states of Washington, California and Florida.
Their marketing strategy thus far has been through social media networking among the online pet communities.
Being responsible for shipping, has thus far been the most challenging task for Jillian. She had to learn how to ship products to Canada as international orders began to be a reality. She is also excited to start expanding the business’ inventory.
“I’m really excited to start sewing different things,” she said. “I’m really excited to start doing matching scrunchies and bow ties for dogs.”
David Myers said he’s excited to see what he has seen in his own entrepreneurial endeavors start to trickle down to his children.
“Their business meetings are often in pajamas over breakfast,” David Myers said. “Even if the business doesn’t ‘explode,’ my daughters have learned a whole lot and most importantly they learned that they are not limited by their age or experience. That’s one of the best things about watching them do this.”
In addition to their website, Bear & Bea Co. can be found on social media platforms, including Instagram (instagram.com/bearandbeaco), Facebook (facebook.com/Bearandbeaco) and Tik Tok (by searching BearandBeaCo.).