Our content intern and resident fashion designer @internodie achieved a #careergoal when she interviewed doggy superstar @lifeofjinkee earlier this week. The two talked dog-friendly things to do in Melbourne, cafes and Jinkee’s side hustle – PinstaPals. Enough from us, Odie – over to you!
Jinkee it is such an honour to be interviewing you, I know I speak for many pups out there when I say that you are such an inspiration. How did your Insta journey start? Did your pawrents suspect you had the “X factor” from day one?
My mum felt an irresistible urge to share me with the world, but my Dad wasn’t so sure. He told her not to post a million photos of me on her own account, the way people do when they have new babies, because her followers look to her for food and travel recommendations. He also said that starting a separate account for me would be a little bit lame. My mum held off for about 72 hours before she caved. Now dad is my number one Instagram fan!
In a situation that’s not dissimilar to Kris and Kim, you’re regularly spotted enjoying Melbourne with your mum-ager Sofia Levin. I’d love to know your favourite pup-friendly activities to do together?
This is true! Because I’m so small, I get to go everywhere with her. She writes about Melbourne for a living, so whenever there is a dog-friendly spot, I get to go along for the ride. We love our local area in Collingwood and the inner-north. The farmer’s market at Collingwood Children’s Farm is a favourite on weekends, but you can find me every week at the Victoria Market doing the grocery shopping. When it’s warm, I help my humans kick off their evening with a drink out the back at Drinkwell, the seasonal Bar Liberty pop-up, before they drop me home to bed and continue on their way. A picnic in Edinburgh Gardens and walks in Fitzroy Gardens are also favourites.
I am LOVING your bespoke pin brand PinstaPals. Can you please tell us a bit about the brand?
Of course! They are enamel pins that humans collect and wear on their denim (or wherever they see fit) and pups pin to their neckerchiefs. There are currently nine designs — all different breeds of dog with a favourite food item. For example, there’s a pug in a doughnut, ‘chow chow mien’ and my personal favourite, the fried chicken puppy in what looks a lot like a KFC bucket — and also has an uncanny resemblance to yours truly. Better yet, $2 from each one goes to the good people and animals at Lort Smith Animal Hospital, where I’m a registered therapy dog.
What was your motivation for starting PinstaPals? Did you always dream of being an entrepawneur?
Being a little bit famous, I get sent a lot of goodies in the mail. Most of it I end up donating to less fortunate dogs — there’s only so much food a little girl like me can eat, and only so many outfits one needs (who am I kidding, I love clothes). But seriously, I thought I could do something useful. So instead of simply design Life of Jinkee merch, my mum designed these pins, had them manufactured and started selling them on Shopify and Etsy — the goal being to raise some money for Lort Smith.
Last but not least, I’d love to know your top five Melbourne cafes to stop off at for a puppacino?
I have too many, sorry, can’t stick to five!
Farm Cafe, Abbotsford — for the outdoor setting that feels a million miles from the CBD (and also the animals I can bark at)
Dr. Morse, Abbotsford — for hanging out with hipsters drinking batch brew in the morning and staying for a beer in the evening
STREAT, Collingwood — a wonderful social enterprise with amazing food and lots of grassy space
Industry Beans, Fitzroy — creative menu for the humans and a covered outdoor area that’s always heated when it’s cold
Grub, Fitzroy — a quirky garden setting and the only cafe I know where pups are allowed inside (they also have treats)
Ciao Cucina, Port Melbourne — pizza and spritz near the bay in a spacious, dog-friendly courtyard that’s completely enclosed and heated in cooler months
West Beach Bathers Pavilion, St Kilda — the food won’t change your life, but it’s a decent spot for fish and chips before a run around on the sand (also plenty of seaweed to roll in)