We had the good fortune of connecting with Carissa Gould and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Carissa , any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
First and foremost, never give up on your dreams or yourself. Life will throw you curveballs in every aspect of your life. When that happens you readjust, reevaluate, simplify, straighten your crown, and keep on moving full speed ahead like the boss you were made to be. It’s wise to dive deep within yourself and discover what’s working for you and what’s not. If it no longer serves you to the highest good, then go ahead and let it go. The way you run your business today is most likely not the way you ran it your first year. Evaluate yourself and your business, and adjust accordingly. Remember, you want to work smarter, not harder. Do things your way because that will always be the best way. No one else has been in your shoes. Your journey is yours and every misstep along the way will help you persevere. It’s ok to take a step back and slow down to readjust your footing and come out stronger. Keep going, believe in yourself, be honest with yourself and others, and never ever give up.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Mama’s Dogs has been a wonderful exciting adventure. There have been a few blurps along the way, but for the most part it’s been so much fun and there isn’t anything else that I’d rather be doing right now. I started my business in May of 2012 shortly after my twins turned 1. As a single mother of 3 little boys at the time, it was necessary to be a financial provider as well as a great mom. I’m so grateful that I created my business the way that I did so I could still be a very hands on mom and spend a lot of time with my boys. At the beginning I was dragging my boys to various restaurant suppliers to pick up items, and they’d go to work with me at times. Sometimes I look back and wonder how I did it all, but somehow I made it through each day. You just keep getting up every day, you do your best, and you get the job done. I have 4 sons now that are all in school so things have gotten easier. Many of the stores that I shop at for my business always ask about my boys. They got used to seeing this Mama dragging in 4 wild little boys everywhere she went. What a journey it’s been!! Many people ask me…why a hot dog cart? Well, I always dreamt of running a small cafe, bed n breakfast, or some sort of food business. When I first moved to Arizona from Nebraska in 1998, I saw the hot dog carts by the baseball park and thought to myself…I can do this, and I’ve got a really good idea! Then, from 2000-2002 I lived in New Hampshire and went to New York City frequently for work. Those NYC hot dog vendors were a bit of inspiration too. Let me tell you, 14 years after that original thought, a former career as a commercial and corporate flight attendant, and 3 babies later……I finally bought a hot dog cart and Mama’s Dogs was created with love, grit, and grace! Mama’s Dogs is unique in every aspect. This is not your typical hot dog stand. Mama’s Dogs will bring life to your party and an unforgettable experience. I specialize in creating a fun inviting “down home” feeling with every event. I’m mobile and will bring all of my beautiful creative decor to fit in with the theme of your party. I will dress the part in one of my cute pin up style aprons that are designed and sewn by me. At Mama’s Dogs it’s not just about the weenie, it’s about the whole package! I use Vienna Beef hot dogs and polish dogs served alongside a variety of fresh delicious condiments. My gourmet homemade cookies, freshly squeezed lemonade, and gourmet hot cocoa served with edible toppings are just a few additional items that I offer. Every little thing here is homemade with love.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
These days life is so different as a single mama to 4 young sons. I love to support local businesses. Finding a low key cozy restaurant or bar for dinner and drinks would be ideal. This city is so spread out and the options are not limited. A must see place for friends and family visiting is The Buffalo Chip in Cave Creek. It’s a super fun restaurant/bar that is sure to entertain any and all guests. They have live bull riding on Wednesday and Friday nights, line dancing lessons throughout the week, a mechanical bull, and live music. You’re stepping out into the wild wild west when you walk into this bar. I grew up in a small town in the middle of Nebraska so, The Buffalo Chip feels like a piece of home when I walk through the door. You will find a variety of people there. Tourists and locals love this place. Downtown and Uptown Phoenix have really blown up with the foodie scene. One of my favorites that is still around is Dick’s Hideaway. I’ve taken all of my favorite people to that place. I love to catch live concerts at smaller venues downtown (The Van Buren, Crescent Ballroom). Outdoor concerts/festivals are the best. Recently, I went to the M3Fest (100% nonprofit music festival). They had amazing line ups each day. I got to see Bon Iver, one of my favorite bands. Arizona has a lot of fun things to offer, and I’m always up for a roadtrip. A must see is Jerome. Definitely my favorite quirky cool place to go. There’s fine dining (The Asylum) up there, fun bars (The Spirit Room), and wine tasting rooms (Merkin Vineyards by Maynard Keenan from Tool). You can continue on up through Cottonwood, Clarkdale, Cornville, and Page Springs to visit some amazing wineries. My boys and I love camping at Lo Lo Mai campground. Although, the city has so much to offer, it’s definitely fun to get away for an adventure. You can be in a variety of settings in less than 2 hours. I love meeting new people. Adventure time always leads to surprises and new friendships.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to express a very heartfelt sincere thank you to my 4 sons who inspired me to start my business. They keep inspiring me daily and hold my whole heart. I named my company Mama’s Dogs after them. Also, a huge shout out to all of my customers, clients, family, friends, and fans that have supported me throughout the years. I appreciate each and every single one of you. There have been so many laughs, smiles, full bellies, and full hearts throughout the years. I’m looking forward to many more.

Website: www.mamasdogs.com
Instagram: mamasdogs
Facebook: Mama’s Dogs LLC
Other: 602.321.1265