Let's start with an overview to get you caught up. First and foremost, I am an artist and a very serious animal lover (had several pets growing up). This started at birth and continued through tons of sketchbooks (drawing animals, of course), paper and tape, computer art and a career in graphic design. I spent 8 years learning design on the job, and probably about 4-5 years going through the debate of whether or not I needed to move on. After a lot of job stress, I decided I couldn't do it anymore. I jumped ship and found myself in the freelance/contract world.
Fast forward just a tad bit, and you'd have found me in my constantly-stressed freelance state, hopping back and forth between my city and my boyfriend's (Houston). Don't get me wrong: I would never have gone back, but it was a very tough transition phase for me. Well it hit a point when my dog-loving partner and I decided we wanted to add a dog to the family. Now, when I have my mind fixated on animals and fluffy things, it turns obsessive, and I was scouring rescue sites and Craigslist throughout the day.
I ended up finding a listing for a dog someone had picked up near a gas station after seeing him get dumped out of a truck and left. We went to meet the pup and were both sold by his odd but adorable cuddlebug personality. He quickly earned his name, Focus, from his funny behavior of zeroing in on things (ignoring even the most dog-distracting stuff: noises, food, other people.) Immediately, I couldn't imagine my life without him.
That's when the hard part came. Not only did he need to be fixed, he tested heartworm positive and showed signs of other ailments which took many trips to the vet to sort out. All the costs were adding up, however, and we still had yet to get through heartworm treatment.
That's when pmtexpo happened. The name and idea have sat in my head for a long time, but it took Focus' needs and my money-tightness to turn it into something real. Too many animals need more help and rack up higher bills, so how could I ask people to donate? I just couldn't. In this moment I finally came full circle in my life and passions. I began drawing and creating animal-inspired products that reflected my likes and random ideas in an attempt to support Focus' bills, with the goal of helping others like him always being at the heart of my new venture.
So that's the (shortened-long) back story (Yep. I edited it about a million times to shorten it.) pmtexpo has grown to be my personal boutique brand of quality, hands-on, witty and madness-infused products and projects aimed to bring a smile to your face and a helping hand to animals that find themselves in Focus' situation (and much worse.) I've been so fortunate to have made friendships through this. You all are an amazing community of like-minded individuals who actually do Give A Fl*ff about those in need, and it's all of you that support and allow me to sit and create something new and fresh and fluffy to send your way.
For once, despite working non-stop and still dealing with stress, I'm in love with what I do. pmtexpo has brought me back to my first love: drawing, creating and animals. Feel free to look around, shop, support our partnering rescues, or just shoot me a line or send me a picture of your furbaby. I will never object to that.
May your dreams outweigh your burdens. <3
Zhen, Focus, Crooks, & Fam