“I’m one of those people that will stand up for anybody; I guess that’s the New Yorker in me. I see something. I say something. I’m up in people’s faces.”
Owner of Hotdogs and Poodles.
Creator of handmade accessories, body products and vintage clothing.
“I love living here in Vancouver. Most of my friends here, have never interacted with or have had a Black friend in their entire lives. Some have never spoken to a Black person before. And it just opens their eyes.’
“Non-POC friends are finally speaking up about racism. I’ve never seen it before. And any non-POC friend that has posted on social media, I’ve responded to them to say don’t ever be afraid to speak up if you think something is wrong. I’m your friend and I’d want you to defend me and you’re defending me right now.”
And perhaps this is what will make this Anti-Racism movement stronger than what it ever has before.
When Black, Brown, Indigenous and People of Color are empowered to create change in everyday conversations and situations, we can also empower non-BIPOC folk to speak up and stand up.
LaShay is one of the few Black women I have known for the majority of the time I have lived in Vancouver. We met at her dance class that she teaches with her husband Ty @tyandshaypics where I may have ‘borrowed’ a few of their dance moves, but also kept an eye out for how she styles her hair!
Working full time in film and teaching Hip Hop Fit, this New Yorker studied Industrial Design (Product Design) at Syracuse, then realized that it’s not where the future of art was going.
“I’m a woman of the future, I need to learn 3D or graphics, or an industry that’s going to pay well!”
So she enrolled at F.I.T’s (Fashion Institute of Technology), Masters of Arts and Exhibition Design.
“I love the energy of NYC, the rush, the energy of being around people, just the fashion scene. I don’t think I’m fashionable, but I love being surrounded by it. I remember the first day of class, I was like, I’ma dress up because I know everyone else is gonna come real hard.
Fashion was out of control!
Instead of competing, I just took it all in”
It wasn’t until she moved to Albuquerque due to Ty’s work, that Shay found something that really piqued her interest.
“We had decided to get married. I had a dress and I was looking for a hair piece. But I wanted a nice hair piece and I only found expensive, ugly pieces.”
So she decided to make her own.
“At the wedding, everyone kept asking about it, even the wedding photographer! I’m like, I made it! I did this for fun!”
And Hotdogs and Poodles was created.
After three months of selling her handmade accessories on Etsy, Shay decided to reach out to hair bloggers and decided to try giveaways as a way to promote her store.
“That was it. I was getting so much traffic and sales. And then more sales!
Pretty much every day for the next few months. I was up all day and night trying to figure things out. It was a really good run for three years.”
And then they moved to Australia for six months.
But the Etsy shop momentum was too good to stop. Even though sales slowed down, Shay found it was still worthwhile to keep the shop open.
After moving to Vancouver in 2012, and re-opening her shop, Shay thought that it would be just the same as the US for running her business, but “Shipping is crazy expensive here.” And that’s what crushed the business online.
Moving her business to in-person markets at the beginning of 2020, Shay did her first market in 8 years and after a couple of great events, decided that this was the path to go down, and it meant that she could also sell her body products. This was the plan for 2020.
That was until COVID hit.
Then everything moved back online.
So for now you can find Hotdogs and Poodles on Instagram here.
Or on Etsy here.
Or bust a move at Hip Hop Fit here.