Becoming a Disney Creator: Disney Business Owner

Are you a Disney fan looking for a way to share your love of the Mouse? Disney fans across the globe have learned ways that they can share their love of The Walt Disney Company with others, with many of them finding ways to earn money in the process.

Each month I highlight a “Disney Creator” – a Disney fan who has taken their love of Disney and turned it into something even more. This monthly blog series showcases diverse creators, visionaries, and business owners who are making magic through their social media accounts, on podcasts and YouTube, in their own stores, and even by planning other people’s vacations. What each of these individuals has in common is their love of The Walt Disney Company and their desire to share their creations with other Disney fans across the globe.

To read past months’ features, visit the pages below:

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Disney dog bandanas
Credit: @bentleyjackthelab

PolkaDotPaws by Abbey – Disney Business Owner

SHOP | INSTAGRAM

If you love Disney and have a pet, you’re going to want to keep reading. Abbey, owner of PolkaDotPaws by Abbey is a Disney fan who turned her love of the Happiest Place on Earth and her sweet dog, Obi (after her favorite Jedi of course), into a business. PolkaDotPaws by Abbey is your one-stop-shop for Disney dog and cat bandanas and other accessories for your pets. Learn how Abbey found her niche in the Disney handmade market below.

How to start a Disney Etsy Shop
Credit: Victoria Wade
How did PolkaDotPaws by Abbey begin? 

Funny story, I was actually considering starting an ear shop! In 2016, for my honeymoon to Walt Disney World, I made myself a pair of ears that had interchangeable bows themed to different characters so that I wouldn’t have to pack five separate pairs of ears. After that, I considered starting an Etsy shop with that idea.

One day when I was shopping for craft supplies I saw some Star Wars fabric. Our dog is named Obi, after our favorite Jedi, so I bought that fabric with no real idea what to do with it. I don’t exactly remember how the idea came about, but I ended up deciding to make it into a bandana for Obi. I didn’t want to just tie it around his neck so I thought maybe I could make it so that it fit onto his collar, and from there I practiced sewing and refined my design and size options and started setting up my shop!

It started out as just a small hobby on the weekends, however it has definitely grown over the years into a second job! I would love for it to be my full time job, but right now it functions as a second income for our family and a creative outlet for me.

Disney Etsy Shop
Credit: Polka Dot Paws by Abbey
Why did you decide to create Disney apparel for pets?

What I love about the Disney small shop community is the creativity and originality! I try to do what I think a lot of small shop owners do, which is make the kinds of designs I would want to buy that I don’t currently see on the market. I know that a lot of people, myself included, like to name their pets after their favorite Disney characters but I wasn’t seeing a lot of accessories that reflected that aside from some generic merchandise. I love to see the joy it brings when someone is able to find a bandana for that obscure character that they are so passionate about but have a hard time finding merchandise for!

I try to do what I think a lot of small shop owners do, which is make the kinds of designs I would want to buy that I don’t currently see on the market.

PolkaDotPaws by Abbey

When I first started I was trying to appeal to a wider audience, so I picked out generic patterns and prints and just made a lot of basic bandanas. And I sold a few here and there. But Disney is my passion and when I started making items that reflected that is when I really started to see my business take off! When I found that niche market of people who loved Disney and loved to accessorize their pets, I found my people! I also started to get more creative with my designs because I was having more fun. I started a line of character inspired cosplay bandanas which has become my signature style in my shop. Think of it like DisneyBounding for pets! I also started making mouse ears for dogs, which are really popular for Service Dogs who attend the parks with their handlers to help them dress up for the magic.

Disney dog bandana
Credit: PolkaDotPaws by Abbey
What advice do you have for other Disney Creators? 

My number one piece of advice is to find your place in the market! Make sure what you are making or selling is uniquely you! And make sure you love it, because it is a lot of work but it can be fun if it’s something you really love doing. If you are making something you love, it will show through to your customers.

I have never paid for advertising or marketing of any kind. I developed relationships and opportunities organically by just being myself and making what I love. You cannot do it for the numbers or for the money.

And always lead with kindness. My customer service style is, obviously, inspired by Disney. I have found that the kinder you are to your customers the kinder they will be to you. I love to go above and beyond for my customers and spread extra magic whenever I can.

Abbey from PolkaDotPaws by Abbey
Credit: PolkaDotPaws by Abbey
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I am hoping to start a family soon, and if I am blessed to be able to do so, I hope that I can continue my shop as a hobby! I think you can definitely expect some matching dog and baby items in the future if that happens! I really love making Disney items and connecting with other Disney lovers so I hope that I can continue doing this as long as possible!

Free Printable Branding Worksheet
Download this BRANDING WORKSHEET to get your business started!
Get to Know Abbey

Favorite Disney Character? If I could only pick one, I would choose Mickey! Bonus answers: My favorite princess is Belle, and my favorite sidekick is Pascal!

Favorite Disney Park? I’m a Disneyland girl through and through!

Disney Bucket List Item? My ultimate bucket list is to visit every Disney park around the world! But if I could only pick one that I haven’t visited yet, it would be Tokyo DisneySEA for sure!

Tips to Start a Disney Business

Do you or someone you know want to be featured on “Becoming a Disney Creator”? Email me at kelly@karmankismetdesigns.com to be considered!