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Tennille Teague has always been drawn to storytelling. As a veteran producer, coming up with ideas, leading integrated productions for both national and global brands, and bringing them to life has been the foundation of her career. As a longtime animal advocate and pet parent, animal welfare has been a driving purpose for as long as Teague can recall. Combining her two passions, Teague recently launched Just Fred, a cruelty-free pet-accessories brand that helps support organizations that care for dogs in need of a home, especially older ones.

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Like many parents of city dogs, Teagues’ pets are very much a part of her life and often accompany her when out and about town. After an unsuccessful deep-dive search for a dog carrier that was chic, discreet, and, of course, comfortable for Mo her dachshund, Teague decided to design her own. From that dog carrier, Just Fred only expanded. But Teague intends for Just Fred to be a business that provides something more valuable beyond a product. A brand that “ensures genuine kindness in the way we exist and show up in the world.”

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A merit Teague is most proud of is the work that goes into ensuring all products are cruelty-free. An extensive amount of time is spent researching materials that were never tested on or made from animals while maintaining standards for excellent quality. Inspired by her own dogs, Mo and Rizzo, Just Fred is also committed to enriching the lives of dogs that, “oftentimes are overlooked due to their age or conditions.” A portion of every purchase is given to select organizations to ensure that homeless dogs, particularly senior ones, are loved and nurtured. “We feel passionate about raising awareness and comfortability around the adoption of homeless dogs, especially the older ones,” Teague says.

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COVID-19 brought challenges “from a short-term business perspective.” However, Teague has noticed that during this time, the number of people adopting or fostering dogs has grown exponentially. “Long-term, we are seeing an evolution of how people view the inclusion of a dog in their lives,” she says.

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Teague hopes to continue expanding Just Fred’s community with more pet-related content. As for advice to other creators, Teague emphasizes staying focused and keeping your eye on targeted goals. “Staying focused on your key business objectives will strengthen your business in the way it needs,” she notes. Teague credits being an early riser and the app Trello to helping days stay organized and productive.

While many exciting things are on the horizon for Teague, running a business while having a full-time job is a challenging endeavor. When life gets overwhelming and she’s “moving through multiple things at once,” Teague finds clarity by “honestly asking myself, ‘What do I want?’ ‘How do I want to be engaging with our community?’ ‘Why are these things important to me?’” “Silencing the noise and truly listening to what you need is super important.”

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