Founder Of Norbert

I caught up with Julie Freyermuth, Founder of Norbert. Their story, images and intention will have you falling in love with the two of them.

What inspired you to create Norbert?

When I adopted Norbert in 2009, I knew he was a special dog, but I never anticipated he would become such a symbol of joy, hope and inspiration to so many people. Norbert makes people smile wherever he goes just by being himself. As such, Norbert was not created. His role as a therapy dog and presence on social media transpired organically over the past eight years.

Did you have any challenges in launching your company? If so, what were they and how did you over come?

In starting our company, Polly Parker Press, there were a variety of challenges which we viewed as opportunities to learn and grow. Initially, our main focus was publishing beautiful picture books to be treasured and loved by the young and young at heart. We educated ourselves about an entire industry, all new to us. This included the formation of the business, the writing and illustration of books, book design, prepress, publication, marketing, philanthropic efforts, and more.

What does your support team look like?

In addition to Norbert and myself, our team includes my mother, Dr. Virginia Freyermuth. As co-owners of Polly Parker Press, we have had the pleasure of working closely together for the past 7 years to bring our creative ideas to life and spread Norbert’s mission of kindness and compassion to people across the globe.

About two years ago I met my now husband, Mark Steines, host of Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family Show. Mark has become an advocate for our work and is also responsible for many of the exquisite Norbert photos we share on social media. 

Also, we are grateful to work with an amazing publicist, Hope Diamond, who helps us navigate the world of media and further spread Norbert’s messages.

Did you have moments where you didn’t believe this would be successful? How did you get through?

I believe we were successful from the start because we were following our dreams and bringing our creative ideas to life, grounded with a foundation of giving back and spreading smiles. During challenging times, reading comments, emails and letters from people who follow Norbert on social media was more than enough to remind us of the important work we are doing.

You have an amazing social media community. What are 3 top ways you feel others can get a large following as well?

Our social media community, known as the Norberthood, is an incredible group of people who, like Norbert, believe “you don’t have to be big to make a big difference in the world.” The Norberthood has grown slowly over the past eight years. I can’t provide advice on how to grow a social media following, but three of the values that are fundamental to our social media presence are:

1.      share positive & inspiring messages

2.      create consistently high-quality images

3.      find meaningful ways to connect with our audience

Any Mentors that helped you along the way?

We are fortunate to have family and friends who encouraged us to follow our hearts.

Favorite inspirational book?

We find inspiration in many places—books, movies, museums, the natural world. We find ongoing inspiration in the people we meet along the way– so many good people who inspire us with their courage, goodness, and generosity. 

What is your positive mantra?

“Art is not a thing; it is a way.” – Elbert Hubbard 

Julie’s Instagram is

Norbert’s socials are :



Twitter  @NorbertDog        


More information on Norbert and ‘Norberthood for Good’ can be found at


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Violette is the Founder of FemCity // an online global network featuring business and lifestyle trends with over 70 local communities designed exclusively for women. Violette is also a motivational speaker, small business consultant, writer and mother of three. As a serial entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience, Violette is passionate about supporting women entrepreneurs through business growth, big vision strategies and positivity along the way. For more inspiration and business tips, visit and Follow Violette de Ayala // @violettedeayala