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Name: Sheila Duncan

Company: Larkin Ltd., Trouble the Dog, a stuffed animal made for children

Industry: Children’s Goods & Services

Location:  Marblehead, Massachusetts, US

Reason for Starting: We had three cancer losses in a row in my family; in response, my then 12 year old niece wanted to do something to help kids going through tough times. She drew a little grey stray dog and  named him Trouble. When I saw the reactions to this character, I decided his mission of helping children needed to be global. Trouble’s slogans say it all: “Where There’s Trouble, There’s Hope” and “When Trouble Comes, You’re Never Alone.”

Read our  profile of Trouble the Dog in our Gifts That Give Back series. 

How do you define success?: To date, Trouble the Dog is in the arms of thousands of children all over the world; that’s success to me. Trouble has a little spirit about him that kids can feel–he has the ability to comfort them and make them smile. So many kids today are being bullied, facing poverty, having difficulty at school and are more stressed than any previous generation; therefore, Trouble the Dog is more relevant and important than ever before.

Biggest Success: Most recently, I have been successful in having all of our Trouble products made completely  in the USA. It was a huge challenge, much more difficult than I ever imagined, but I persevered and got it done!

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?:  It’s a challenge to balance my time. Any entrepreneur will tell you that they wear many hats and often it’s difficult to find “down time.”  I’m still working on that!

Who is your most important role model?: My dad was an entrepreneur, so I believe I got my work ethic from him, and I get my inspiration from my mother. She didn’t necessarily understand why I felt the need to “do my own thing” but knew I’d be successful and was behind me every step of the way.

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Edited by The Story Exchange