We had the good fortune of connecting with Silvia Baffone and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Silvia, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted a dog. I am the embodiment of the quote “I stalk dogs on Instagram”. Animals have always been my happy place, you see, I have mental health problems and this year has been very rough for the majority of us, especially those of us who have had to endure these hard times along with said mental health problems. In the beginning of the year I lost my job due to COVID and that combined with the uncertainty of the pandemic and the isolation of quarantine, I reached a point where my feelings of hopelessness were unbearable. I would spend most of my days overthinking like any person with anxiety does, which caused my husband to worry for my mental health. Let’s just say I wasn’t doing very well. One day, he surprised me with the best companion I could have ever asked for, a maltipoo puppy! The day I became Nuggie’s mommy was the best day of my life! He inspired me to follow my dreams and brought light into my life again. Having Nuggie and seeing just how much dogs are reliant on us made me realize how many dogs are at shelters waiting for people to love them as much as I’ve had the privilege to love Nuggie. That realization is what gave me the idea to open NuggiePAWshop, an eco-friendly pet supply shop that focuses on helping dogs that are in local shelters find their forever homes while also supporting independent artists and local small businesses.
I learned that the best place to begin making a change is within your community; and that’s precisely what I’m doing.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
That’s a long list! My day consists mostly of collaborating with artists. Everything in my store is curated and has a specific meaning behind it. I collaborate with independent artists in many ways, from matching accessories to bandana designs; and that’s a lot of work!
From designing the fabric we use for our bandanas to designing our eco-friendly packaging and running our social media; as a small biz owner I basically do it all, so I’m always on zoom meetings with artists or simply busy creating or doing administrative work for the shop.
In my spare time I go to paws 4 You, one of our shelter friends, and do photo shoots of senior dogs sporting our Bandanas. You might have seen them on my social media and website, I made a commitment to use shelter dogs as models for our brand because I want to shed light on how desperately they need and DESERVE a home!
Oh! And of course I need to have at least one hour of cuddle time with Nuggie, because I mean he is the boss after all!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Hmmm… so many places that I Love, but if I’m planning a great weekend I would say, breakfast at Aguacate Sanctuary of Love restaurant, then walk around Coconut Grove! Visit some local artist at the vegan market (Saturday) then a walk on the beach! On Sunday we have brunch! (Duh!) “All Day” restaurant has the best food! Their French toast is incredible! Afterwards, we could have a nice walk in the Design District’s new Sunday farmers market, which is pretty amazing!!! And to close the perfect day… watch the sunset at Bayfront park!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I don’t like to play favorites but, definitely PAWS4you Rescue.They are a non-profit, volunteer, donor-subsidized animal rescue organization based in Miami, Florida. Over the last 11 years, they have served the vital need of sheltering, fostering, and placing dogs in the southern part of Miami-Dade County. They offer life-saving services and employ various strategies to place and keep animals in loving, lifelong homes.
I’ve seen in person how amazing they are and the amazing work they do, when I started this crazy dream and reached out to them and they gave me their full support and for that I’m very grateful!
Other: TikTok @nuggiepawshop