Lessons from a Thriving Power Couple, With Daniel Jacob Horine and Dr Areni Arslanian of Pop Fly Pop Shop

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine
Published in
10 min readApr 10, 2022


Fluid Communication: Our business is a 24/7 undertaking, and key to our success both as a couple and as business partners is constant communication. In addition to communicating regular updates, it’s so important to discuss your hopes for the future and how you want your legacy to continue.

As a part of our series about lessons from Thriving Power Couples, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel Jacob Horine and Dr. Areni Arslanian, co-founders of Pop Fly Pop Shop, a pandemic hobby-turned-small-business specializing in nostalgic, sports-themed collectible art popular with a rapidly growing fan base. Since its inception in 2020, Pop Fly Pop Shop has published more than 80 original prints in the style of comic book covers, featuring some of baseball’s greatest players including Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Don Mattingly and Nolan Ryan. With limited edition prints that are only available to purchase for one week at a time, the works are coveted collectibles.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you two to your respective career paths?

Daniel: For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been drawing. As a small child I’d been blessed with an aptitude and passion for art. I’d draw on anything, with anything, at any time. There is no other field I could ever see myself in other than the arts.

Areni: I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit, even when I was little. I’ve also been drawn to psychology and helping others. When I got older, I received my doctorate in organizational psychology which combines these worlds together.

Daniel: We also both experienced great hardship early on in our childhoods that molded us into the individuals that we are today. I grew up unhoused and navigating the foster care system during my early childhood, and Areni experienced near-deafness that went undiagnosed until the age 12. We both share the common bond that these early childhood hardships have pushed us toward success and have motivated us to defy the odds against us.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you two got married?

Daniel: Founding Pop Fly Pop Shop is by far the most interesting story that has happened since we got married. The company’s success is a dream come true and represents many, many years of trials and disappointments. Areni has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and with my drive to create, we’ve tried many ideas over the 19 years we’ve been together, but none of them got any traction. We treasure it because of how hard we worked to get here and how long the road was.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Daniel: This business was accidental in every way. There was a lot of “Ready! Fire! Aim!”, especially in the beginning. It was indeed a project before it was a business, but we’ve learned so much along the way, including pricing, merchandising, shipping, logistics, and marketing.

In 2019 I signed up to be a vendor at my first convention. It was a creator convention called DesignerCon. I had no idea what I would sell at the convention, but I signed up to put myself on the hook to figure it out. In thinking about what to present I thought, “What if I did comic book prints of baseball players?” then quickly dismissed the idea because I thought to myself, “Who would want that?” I ultimately decided on another creative direction which (spoiler alert) didn’t sell well at all. I came back home from the convention with everything I left with. It wasn’t until over a year later that I approached the sports/comic mashup again and lo and behold that’s what lead to the creation of Pop Fly Pop Shop.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Daniel: Many things! At Pop Fly Pop Shop, we offer a unique, nostalgic experience; a trip down memory lane for those wanting to tap into their childhood with comic book collectibles. I spent a large portion of my childhood drawing, playing Little League, and at LA Dodgers games. When I started Pop Fly Pop Shop, I wanted to combine my passions for art and baseball and share those with the world in a way that would bring people that much closer to their childhood.

The overall experience is also something that we put a lot of care into and has helped make this project special. The artwork is important, but how it’s received is just as important to us. We want it to feel immediately familiar as soon as you open it. We want it to feel like a time machine, from the comic-book sleeve that the artwork comes in, the kraft paper bag like one you may have received from a comic shop as a kid, the business card that looks like a vintage sports ticket, and the ancient 30+-year-old packs of cards we include in each box.

Areni: And then there’s the community. The community that has been built around collecting our artwork is one of our favorite and most treasured things and we’re honored to be a part of it. We’ve been very intentional about being involved and accessible in the community and that’s made a huge difference — in both directions — for us and Pop Fly’s fans (they’ve called themselves ‘Pop Flyers’). The internet is not known for bringing out the best in people, but this pocket of collectors astonishes us with their kindness, generosity, and altruism. It truly is a remarkable thing and it’s part of what makes this very special.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Daniel: Yes! There are certainly exciting things ahead for Pop Fly. As an artist, it’s exciting to take risks, explore new mediums, and try new things and that’s exactly what we’re doing. While Pop Fly Pop Shop is a business, it is still very much about the artwork and telling stories with the art. As my friend and fellow artist Matthew Lee Rosen says, “I don’t want to make decorations.” I love that sentiment and I truly want my work to evoke certain sentiments and tell stories. I want to also grow and evolve as an artist too.

Currently, Pop Fly Pop Shop is branching into other sports, including football, and recently launched the series by featuring the incomparable Vince Lombardi. It has been incredibly fulfilling to see that this new undertaking has been so well received by our community of supporters.

Areni: We’re feeding off of the energy of the community and that energy is branching off into different ideas. We’re looking to grow Pop Fly Pop Shop as a brand, and foster the growth of the community by bringing new experiences. And as a core part of our company ethos, we are always looking for ways to partner with charities and find new ways to give back.

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Areni: People are motivated by effective leaders, so lead by being a positive and resolute force to those around you. Providing ongoing feedback eliminates anxiety, and increases overall job retention and satisfaction. Feedback should be a two-way street, in that for every piece of constructive criticism, there should be eight pieces of positive feedback to offer.

Leaders should be mindful of what is being reinforced in their workplaces, and should always question protocols as they relate to end goals and outcomes.

If I had advice for other CEOs and founders, it would be to be aware of their self-dialog and the narrative they’re crafting in their own minds and to help others be aware of their own self dialogue because all manifestations begin in the mind first.

How do you define “Leadership”?

Daniel: I would define leadership and an effective leader as someone who is thinking toward the future, and an individual who has a highly collective mindset. Leadership means taking care of others around you as they help you aim and work toward your vision.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Daniel: For me, it would be my parents and my wife Areni. My parents, and my father in particular, fostered a love for baseball and artwork, however the real lessons were in humanity. My folks took in nearly 70 foster children over the years, and I was one of them. They built hospitals and schools in other countries to serve the communities there. I honestly can’t begin to share the fullness of their story adequately, but they modeled steadfast, quiet service and the importance of “doing good anyway” despite adversity or opposition.

And of my wife Areni — the best way for any small business to succeed is to have an Areni in it. She has been a champion for me and in my corner since day one. She always has had so much vision and so much hope for my career even when I did not. She is truly the most driven and ambitious human I’ve ever met and she’s dreamed big for me when my own dreams for myself weren’t big enough.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Areni: Part of our personal mantra, and that of Pop Fly Pop Shop, is to always give back. We frequently donate a portion of proceeds to organizations that are close to our heart, such as the Roberto Clemente Foundation, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Autism Speaks, Operation Smile, and many others.

What are the “5 Things You Need To Thrive As A Couple”? Please share a story or example for each.

Fluid Communication: Our business is a 24/7 undertaking, and key to our success both as a couple and as business partners is constant communication. In addition to communicating regular updates, it’s so important to discuss your hopes for the future and how you want your legacy to continue.

Mutual Respect: While we both have different areas of Pop Fly Pop Shop that we’re responsible for, a mutual respect for one another’s ideas is critical. Whether it be a lofty goal that seems out of reach, or a new business venture into uncharted territory, listening to one another and respecting our differing opinions is what helps us to grow, both personally and professionally.

A Common Motivation, Goal, and Drive: Our shared passion for Pop Fly Pop Shop is what keeps us going every day — no matter how challenging things may get. We’re constantly setting new goals for ourselves and our business and working together to achieve those goals is incredibly powerful.

Flexibility: As a business partnership, and as a couple, flexibility and the ability to pivot when life throws you curveballs is essential. Recognizing that no one day looks the same, we look forward to taking on any challenges as a team.

Trust: Trust in yourself and your partner is crucial to the success of any relationship or business. We’re constantly taking risks and need to fully trust each other’s intuition and vision every step of the way.

You are people of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Areni: I would say to be mindful of your pain, and of your struggles, and use that energy towards good to drive yourself forward. Pain can be a powerful motivator, and it’s up to each of us to determine how that manifests. Do we point that engine towards the sky or down towards the ground? Both impact the world, but only one is for good. We teach our young son that in moments of disappointment and anger, we can use those feelings to become bitter or we can use them to become better.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Areni: “A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd” — Max Lucado.

This quote has resonated with me since my undergraduate days. It has meant different things to me at different stages in my life, but each one has been significant with every new meaning.

This quote hones in on a special kind of focus: quieting the peripheral, trusting my own path and vision, not ones prescribed for me. In hindsight, the evolution of this thought process was preparing me for leadership.

Daniel: “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself.” — artist Chuck Close

Like Areni, this quote has meant different things to me in different seasons. For many years, I’d been waiting for those lightning bolts, but in reality, we don’t have that kind of time on this earth. This is real life and it’s happening right now so the present is our time to make, to create, to do. Done is a beautiful thing. Turning this corner has been the number one biggest game-changer for my work. And it’s so true about the best ideas coming out of the process. My favorite time to work on my next piece is immediately after finishing the last one.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them :-)

Daniel: Can I name a few? It would be hard to narrow it down, but a few baseball heroes who immediately come to mind are Bo Jackson, Willie Mays, and Vin Scully. Bo Jackson, simply put, is one of the greatest all-around athletes to have ever lived. In addition, he has several incredible charities that he’s founded like “Bo Bikes Bama” and the “Give Me a Chance Foundation”. Willie Mays of course, is a living legend and, for my money, he is the greatest all-around baseball player who’s ever lived. He also has his “Say Hey Foundation” which gives underprivileged youth positive opportunities and safer communities. And Vin Scully — no better voice to call a game. How could any kid not fall in love with baseball when it’s narrated by a voice like his?

How can our readers follow your work online?

On the web at PopFlyPopShop.com, on our Pop Fly Pop Shop Community Group and Facebook page, and on Instagram @PopFlyPopShop.

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.



Candice Georgiadis
Authority Magazine

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.