One custom pet pillow takes between four and five hours to complete, though Frank usually has a handful going at once. Clients send Frank photos of their pet, then she makes sketches of the animal and transfers the final sketch to fabric. She hand embroiders the outline and completes the image of the pet with a sewing machine.
When Frank quit her job as an assistant in December 2015, she was pretty sure that if her business flopped, she would be able to get another job in her field. At the time she was making $24,000 a year. In 2016, the first year she worked on Hyla F. full-time, Frank brought in $35,000 in revenue. This year, she's on track to bring in $80,000. Frank tells CNBC Make It that her profits, after the cost of supplies, are about half of what she brings in.
Now 26, Frank has not had to return to a 9-to-5 job. Not only is she earning more money, she says she's got more freedom in her schedule. "I usually do work about eight hours a day. The difference between my schedule and let's say a 9-to-5 schedule is just that I can choose whatever hours I want that to be. So I will usually do a hike with my dogs in the morning, get to work around 9 a.m. and then take a little break in the middle of the day. Sometimes I'll go to the gym in the afternoon and then I'll usually do some work at night."
Hyla's F.'s success is due in part to the fact that celebrity dog-owners are among Frank's biggest fans on social media. Lauren Conrad, the 32-year-old reality television star, and Zoey Deutch, a 23-year-old actress, model and activist have both declared their love for Frank's custom pet pillows. In a 2015 Instagram post, Deutch claimed the pillow she ordered brought her to tears. "Only the best for queen Maybelle," Deutch writes. "No but actually I cried when I got this in the mail. @hyla_f you are a GENIUS, and this pillow is now my second most prized possession, first being the alive dog."