Sarah from Squeak dreams is our next feature in our spotlight series. Read on to find out more…
For women’s day, we wanted to reach out and spotlight seven amazing women who are leading the way in the guinea pig industry.
Introducing Sarah who is the face behind the Squeak Dreams YouTube channel and Etsy shop. You may be familiar with Sarah's piggies Lyra, Pedro, Phoebe, and Roxy! As a content creator, Sarah creates educational and entertaining videos about her own guinea pigs in an effort to inspire fellow owners and to educate those who are considering owning one. Sarah also has an online Etsy shop where she designs and produces cosy guinea pig items and sewing patterns.
We caught up with Sarah to find out how they fell in love with guinea pigs and began their incredible journey making waves in the online space!
When did you first fall in love with Guinea Pigs and Why?
I first got guinea pigs when I was 16 years old; I'd been wanting a dog and guinea pigs were the compromise. How grateful I am for that now! I loved my first pair of guinea pigs, however, I'll admit that I didn't start to discover the online guinea pig community or do thorough research into guinea pig care until I got my second pair of guinea pigs whilst I was at university. Doing that research, fixing my mistakes, and seeing the benefits is what further increased my love for piggies, to the point where I would now find it very hard to imagine myself without them in my life.
What do you think the future of the Guinea Pig space looks like and the role of women within it?
I think the awareness of proper guinea pig care and presence of a solid, supportive online community will continue to grow over time. From my perspective as an online creator, I feel a strong influence from other women online who start up social media accounts devoted to their guinea pigs (as well as other small pets), which then grow and evolve into businesses, and I hope more women will be inspired to do the same.
Traditionally, guinea pigs are viewed as "starter pets" who belong in a hutch outside, easy to care for but don't interact with humans that much. It's a constant battle against this often deeply embedded impression of piggies.
What are your future plans and goals regarding your career?
My goal is to continue to grow on YouTube and help raise awareness of proper guinea pig care. I am also working towards releasing more digital and actual products for like-minded guinea pig owners.
What advice would you give to other women wanting to follow in your footsteps?
The most important thing is to have a genuine passion for your pets and a want to inspire and help others. This should always come first in giving you the motivation to put in those hours to learn new skills and build an audience. It might be slow to start with, but you will get there, just don't give in!
With the Guinea Pig space being so niche, what challenges have you faced and overcome in your career?
A niche topic can make building an audience more challenging, but only if you look at it that way. Another way to look at it is as an opportunity to create searchable content, to focus on and become an expert on that topic, and to really help people looking to learn more. For me, it took years to build up a following in the beginning, posting videos with hardly anyone watching them! But now the channel has over 60K subscribers and I feel that by purely focusing on guinea pigs, people are more likely to revisit the channel whenever they want to learn something new about their piggies.
Videos posted by women may not be appreciated or taken seriously as those posted by men.
What barriers do you feel are still left to overcome personally as a woman in business and in the Guinea Pig space?
I was going to state that I don't see myself as a "woman in business". However, this in itself demonstrates a barrier! Not acknowledging success, along with being apprehensive about a new venture, fear of failure and lacking in confidence, are all things that affect female entrepreneurs more than their male counterparts. I believe the guinea pig space can present similar barriers. For example, whenever people ask me in person about my YouTube channel I tend to feel embarrassed, answer briefly, shrug it off as "not a big deal", and get incredibly apprehensive about their reaction... particularly if it is someone I know and they've just found out. Will they laugh and say they can't believe so many weirdos are obsessed with some pointless rodents?! Or will they be genuinely impressed and want to hear more about the online guinea pig community? Fortunately these days it's usually the latter, and for me, being able to speak confidently about what I do, even to complete strangers, is something I'm determined to get better at!
What misconceptions and stigmas were you faced with? One as a woman and two in the guinea pig space?
Like any person advocating the proper care of small pets will know, there are so many misconceptions out there. Traditionally, guinea pigs are viewed as "starter pets" who belong in a hutch outside, easy to care for but don't interact with humans that much. It's a constant battle against this often deeply embedded impression of piggies. By creating basic care videos and videos for new owners, I hope to pull outsiders into the wonderful world of keeping guinea pigs as companions! As a woman and content creator on YouTube, I agree that there is a stigma around educational content on the platform, in that videos posted by women may not be appreciated or taken as seriously as those presented by men. However, the abundance of female creators in the small pet community combats this stigma, and I'm proud to be one of them!
I don't see myself as a "woman in business". This in itself demonstrates a barrier! Not acknowledging success, along with being apprehensive about a new venture, fear of failure and lacking in confidence, are all things that affect female entrepreneurs more than their male counterparts.
Is there anything you would do differently looking back on your career?
Yes, I would not give up! Whilst everyone needs a break at times, I let a 'short' break extend into years of not creating any content, partly because I failed to realise that people were learning from and appreciating my videos. Lacking the ability to see this self-worth means I neglected to give time to something I was passionate about. If you are ever uncertain about pursuing something you think could be good and might help people in the future - go for it!
Name one woman who inspires you and why?
Cathrin Manning is a fellow YouTuber and has inspired me greatly! Her channel grew in the YouTube tips niche, where she stood out as a confident and knowledgeable woman in a subsection of YouTube dominated by men. Recently she has switched to fully focusing on vlogging and lifestyle content, which has made me appreciate vlogging as an alternative way to gain value from online creators (and partly why I started publishing monthly vlogs!). Seeing her overcome challenges and grow her brand whilst maintaining a close connection with her audience inspires me to do the same.
We absolutely loved interviewing Sarah for our spotlight feature and we wanted to say a huge thank you for taking part. To follow Sarah visit Sarah from SqueakDreams.
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