MOUNT KISCO, N.Y. -- An avid dog lover has turned her painting passion into a pet portraiture business.
Laura Massari, a financial advisor and a huge dog person -- she has a Japanese/chin poodle mix -- said she always loved painting and drawing but stopped soon after high school. She took it up six months ago and has, through word of mouth and Etsy, picked up a ton of work painting other people's pets.
Her side business started by happenstance, when, at a painting and wine night, she did a quick painting of her puppy. "My in-laws were so impressed they encouraged me to offer pet portraits as a side business," said Massari.
Fees start at $250 for a single acrylic pet portrait and up to $350 for two pets. It normally takes from one to two weeks to complete (though the holidays are especially busy). She is also turning her paintings into greeting cards, some of which are sold at Little Joe's Books in Katonah. For pet portrait info, contact Massari via LLMassari@gmail.com or through her Etsy shop .
This is not Massari's only entrepreneurial venture, however. Along with her mom, Cindy Massari of Katonah she's also involved with a tote bag line called The Flip Flop Bitch . Massari calls the bag, which was featured on "The Today Show," and "Rachael Ray" a hobo style tote that comes folded up in a matching wristlet. There are sparkly totes for parties and vegan leather totes for everyday use.
"Most totes aren't dress or work appropriate," she explained. "And most are vinyl or canvas materials. Ours is a whole new genre; plus they are super lightweight."
The bag came into being after a night when the two Massari women had been in the City. Cindy had on high heels that had gotten uncomfortable and so had brought along flip flops in a sparkly tote she had made. Switching her shoes in the parking lot and dropping them into her sophisticated looking bag made the night go a lot smoother.
A friend who at that point was walking barefoot on Manhattan's sidewalks, saw Cindy doing this and said jealously, "What are you, a flip flop bitch?' And Cindy replied, 'That's exactly what I am!'"
And so, the name of the business was born. That was four years ago and the two now sell their wares via the website www.theflipflopbitch.com and on Etsy and Amazon Handmade.
Mother and daughter, in fact, recently co-authored a book called " Passionistas: Tips, Tales & Tweetables from Women Pursuing Their Dreams " geared towards budding entrepreneurs. The book was written along with 38 other women. The book is also sold locally at Little Joe's.
Said Massari: "It's been a wild ride so far and we're loving every minute of it!"