An SOTB!!! Interview with Stephany Henderson of Loki's Lifestyle

Continuing in the line of my interview with Alex Banks of TRUTH Outfitters and Team DAR's Shokus Apollo, I've sought out another Baltimorean who's got that entrepreneurial spirit (and also graduated from my high school alma mater of Baltimore City College. Go Knights!). Today's SOTB!!! Interview is with Stephany Henderson of Loki's Lifestyle, a dog treat business out of Baltimore which promises all natural, vegetarian treats that aim to break the stereotype of dogs being strictly carnivorous.

Speed: For those who are unaware of who you are and what you do, could you give us an introduction?

Stephany Henderson: Well, to start, my name is Stephany Henderson. I am a native of Baltimore, MD. I am an accountant by trade and a baker by hobby. I graduate from Baltimore City College in 2008, matriculated my BS in Accounting from Towson University in 2012 and completed my MBA from University of Baltimore this year. I started Loki’s about a year ago.

Speed: And what exactly is Loki’s? I tried to get the gist down, but I’d love for you to explain it more in your own words.

Henderson: Loki’s is an all-natural vegan dog treat business that raises awareness of the inhumane treatment of slaughterhouse animals and their by-product in animal feed and pet food.

Speed: How did the idea come about? It’s a unique concept for sure.

Henderson: The idea of Loki’s came from my hobby of baking dog treats for my dog, Loki. I am what you would call a “pet parent” and I take my duties as a pet parent very seriously. I noticed the dog treats that I gave Loki had preservatives and half of the ingredients I couldn’t even pronounce. One day, I decided why not save money while, at the same time make Loki something that I would feed myself. From there, one thing led to another and here I am, with Loki by my side.

Speed: Were there any previous other entrepreneurial efforts you undertook or is this the first? Essentially, what inspired you to go into business for yourself?

Henderson: You know, this is a hard question mainly because I never set out to become an entrepreneur. It just happened. Even now, the idea of calling myself an entrepreneur seems a little weird because it was just a hobby that I wanted to share with the world.

Speed: That’s how greatness starts at times.

Henderson: In the beginning, I didn’t really mirror anyone else’s effort. I think as I grow Loki’s, I want my business to mirror the efforts of Blake Mycoskie and TOMS. I am creating a business for a purpose. The first step is to start with something that matters and everything else will follow.

Speed: What were some of the first steps you took after you decided to begin the business?

Henderson: Some of the first steps I took were to find the purpose of Loki’s, the why. Once I figured that out, I knew everything else would fall into place. The why is more important that anything. That what makes some businesses successful and why others fail. I had to know why I started this business and the who’s and how’s would eventually come.

Speed: Who have been some of your influences in this journey?

Henderson: My biggest influence would have to be myself and the power of prayer. Like I said, I never set out to be an entrepreneur, it just happened. God ordered my footsteps and led me down this path.

Speed: Starting a business can be a bit stressful. Did you come across any roadblocks in those first few months or so after getting things running?

Henderson: It is extremely stressful. Even now, I am still facing problems with bottlenecks and marketing. Loki’s is still fairly new so I am sure I will have more roadblocks along the way. Oh and it is hard to start a business while pursuing a graduate degree or any degree for that matter. Starting a business is like a child; it requires 100% of your attention. When you have other obligations, somethings are bound to fall at the waist side.

Speed: Where has your product been showcased at?

Henderson: I have been featured at the farmer markets around town, Pawtimore, Prancing Pooches and my own website,

Speed: I noticed recently that you celebrated your third-year anniversary. What are some plans for year four?

Henderson: (laughs) No, that wasn’t Loki’s, the business’s, third anniversary. It was Loki, the dog’s, third birthday.

Speed: (laughs) Whoops, my mistake. Especially since you told me that when we first started. Well, happy birthday, paw-tner. Sorry, had to.

Henderson: For the next year, I’m hoping to link up with the local shelters in Baltimore in hopes to gaining more awareness of the animal population and homelessness here in Baltimore.

Speed: Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?

Henderson: In five years, I hope to see Loki’s as a foundation that provides education about the inhumane treatment of farm, feral and pet animals. Also, I want part of it to be a dog-friendly café that encourages people to be more involved about what they feed themselves and their pets.

Speed: What are some tips you’d give to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to buck trends?

Henderson: Never give up finding YOUR purpose and don’t let money be the driver. Money is tangible and fleeting. The ideas that you give the world are timeless. We remember legends by what they did/do, not by how much money they had/has. Remember that.

Speed: Where can people interested in your product—or those who would like to learn and/or show love to what you’re doing—reach you?

Henderson: They can reach me on my website, under the “Howl at Us" section on the home page.

Speed: Do you have anything parting words for the readers?

Henderson: Never do anything in life for money. You’ll be disappointed every time.

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