4 min read

In conversation: Nikki Star on founding and family life with Weston and Fira

In conversation: Nikki Star on founding and family life with Weston and Fira

We're longtime fans of dog products that marry design with function, so when we stumbled on Saint Rue a few months ago, we immediately fell in love with the edgy and bold leashes, collars and harnesses. Saint Rue products stand out and make a statement without screaming. This week, we were lucky enough to chat with Saint Rue's founder, Nikki Star. Nikki is a founder with a total eye for design, mom to famous Frenchies Weston and Fira and a blogger in her own right. We chatted about all those things in a short conversation and were blown away.

You’re both an entrepreneur and a blogger. What got you started with Where’s the Frenchie and what’s the most fun part of running the blog and creating content?

I was getting a lot of questions on their Instagram about how to fly with a dog, what to bring, where the best dog-friendly spots were, etc. So I thought it would be a good idea to have everything in one place and sort of curate all this information for dog moms looking to travel! It’s naturally evolved into more lifestyle with dog food recipes + DIY ideas. The best part is sharing something I get excited about and hearing that it’s helped someone and their pup!

You have two pretty famous dogs, Weston and Fira. What’s it like to have dogs who are pseudo-celebrities?

Lol, the funniest part is when people have recognized them in public. That is so funny to me--people actually knowing these 2 little frenchies names and all their little quirks!

Weston and Fira are both really sophisticated names for dogs. How did you land on those names?

I honestly don’t remember how I thought of Weston (it’s been 10 years!) but I had the name Fira chosen for years. It’s the capitol of Santorini (an island in Greece) and I just thought that was the most gorgeous and unique name for a girl.

Weston and Fira

How would you describe their personalities? In what ways do they complement one another?

Weston is very, very expressive. He gets bored easily, frustrated and can complain a lot. He expresses this by “booping.” He does an “ugh” sound continually as he’s backing his butt up. He does this constantly! When Fira came into the picture, she started to bite his ankles which made him boop even more. I got it on video and that’s actually how they went viral on IG!

They complement each other SO well. Fira is very chill and calms him down. She also snaps at him when he’s fussing too much, lol.

I imagine Weston and Fira were your inspiration behind Saint Rue. Can you tell us a bit about what got Saint Rue started and what the journey has been like so far?

We live in LA but would travel with the pups to NYC, Paris + London (for work) a lot so, being in cities, I noticed leashes were just too long for crowded streets. They would get tangled or you’d have to wrap them around your wrist a few times. I wanted to create the perfect City Leash and have a streetwear edge to it, making sure it was bold yet classic. The best part of Saint Rue is that there are matching products for the dog and human--collar and leash with a matching waist belt bag for you or matching shoe laces.

You have an amazing eye for design and have impeccable style. What brands do you most admire or go to for inspiration?

I just love Parisian style--the perfect mix of edgy yet feminine and always effortless. Isabel Marant, IRO, The Kooples, Off-White are some of my favorite designers and places of inspo.

We’re also a female-founded and run brand. What’s the most challenging part of running your own business and what’s the part you wouldn’t trade for anything?

DOING EVERYTHING ON YOUR OWN--in the beginning, at least. But I honestly prefer it that way. I like to know and learn every aspect of building a business, from designing, packing + shipping, marketing and the boring stuff like creating line sheets or SKUs. That way, when I’m working with others and bringing people in, I know what’s going on and can still have my hands in it somewhat. That’s the problem with most entrepreneurs--we can’t let go of the reins. Lol.

What are your mornings like with two dogs? What’s your typical morning routine - calm and relaxing or totally chaotic?

It depends but most mornings are my husband and I opening our eyes and checking our phones (eek), ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the pups (they look so cute when they just wake up, don’t they?), having a cuddle with them and taking them out for potty time. It’s so nice having that moment playing with the pups before all the craziness of the day!

What’s the one thing you always bring with you when you’re taking Weston and Fira along? And what are one or two things you always bring with you in your bag for yourself?

I always have a travel bag for them already packed and ready to go. We just have to throw in their food--easy! It always has their nose butter (DIY recipe on my blog). For me, I always bring at least 4 lip balms (a must) and because frenchies are notorious shedders, a lint roller!