Made in Brooklyn
I was shopping online for some things for Bodhi recently and noticed something interesting: there’s a robust industry for high-end, high-quality dog-related products and services in Brooklyn. At first I was surprised at how many companies I found, but once I stopped to think about it for a moment, it totally made sense that there’d be so many companies there. Brooklyn is the start-up epicenter of New York City and the city has a huge appetite for dog products. I’ll bet you didn’t know there are more dogs in the Big Apple than there are children!
To satisfy my curiosity I thought I’d check some of these companies out. Here are just a few of them…
I met the owners of Mr. Dog, Matthew Morris and John Mason, at the NY Now show a few weeks back. They offer a complete line of items, including bowls, toys, leashes, totes, and — my favorite — bedding. I asked them what made Brooklyn special for their business. Matthew said they ended up there because they were able to find a studio space that was large enough to get their business started, but had rent low enough that it wouldn’t gobble up their initial seed money. He added that all of Mr. Dog’s manufacturing partners are pretty much based within a 20-mile radius of their studio. He said: “We couldn’t think of a better place to base our operations. The sourcing, manufacturing, production, and talent available to us in Brooklyn is staggering.” John has a Brussels Griffon named Dexter and Matthew has a Frenchie named Thurston.
Here’s a link to the Mr. Dog website.
Ware of the Dog
Ware of the Dog produces a luxury accessory collection created by Jackie Rosenthal. Jackie, whose background is in fashion, lived in Paris for ten years where she worked for Comme des Garcons. She says she started Ware of the Dog four years ago because she wanted to do something fun and light-hearted. She began with sweaters and hit it big right from the start: Barneys placed the first order that ever she received! After sweaters, Ware of the Dog expanded to leashes, collars, raincoats, and toys. I got to see samples of her products at the NY Now show. They were all great.
Jackie moved to Brooklyn around ten years ago. Her business is located there because she appreciates the sense of community it affords. She is the owner of a Coton de Tulear named Hugo. He does double duty as a fit model!
Follow this link to the Ware of the Dog site.
The story of Dog Parker couldn’t be any more “Brooklyn.” Chelsea Brownridge got the idea for high-tech, shareable dog houses while walking her dog Winston on the borough’s streets. She and her boyfriend Todd Schecter started working on a business plan and a prototype in their Brooklyn apartment and in a garage in Bed-Stuy. They had a short stint in Manhattan where they further developed their concept. Soon after that, they moved to an amazing New Lab space in the Brooklyn Navy Yards. Chelsea says she couldn’t be happier now that she commutes to work from Prospect Heights.
Chelsea writes on the Dog Parker website:
The inspiration for Dog Parker started with my dog, Winston, a terrier mix rescue who lives with me in Brooklyn. For a long time, it was difficult taking Winston around the city with me because so many places don’t allow dogs inside. I wouldn’t tie him up because, like many, I worried he’d get loose, get scared, or be stolen. I realized if Winston and I faced these challenges, then millions of other pet parents shared this experience when it came to spending more time with their dogs. As a solution, I created the Dog Parker — a shareable dog house — so that the Winstons of the world can enjoy exploring the city life more with their owners. The Dog Parker combines dog-first design with technology to create a safe and comfortable house for dogs.
I think it’s best to think of Dog Parkers as short-term pod hotels for dogs. There are currently 35 Dog Parkers deployed throughout Brooklyn; two will be stationed in Manhattan soon. I watched one family happen across a Dog Parker just when they needed a place to leave their pooch while they grabbed a bite to eat (see the photo above.) They quickly downloaded the app and checked their Frenchie in for a brief stay. I popped in on him a short while later and he looked perfectly chill while his owners chowed down.
Visit the Dog Parker website to see how it all works.
LoveThyBeast is another company that got its start in Brooklyn. It arose from founder Tiziana Agnello’s need for an ideal pet carrier for her aging Pug, Gzigzia. Tiziana’s work in prop-styling served her well when she stitched together a custom tote to carry her pooch around. People on the street noticed it. A local pet store ordered a small initial batch of them. They sold out within a week. The rest is history. Seven years later, LoveThyBeast offers a full line of products including clothes, toys, beds, collars, and leashes.
I visited LoveThyBeast’s flagship store recently. (It’s not in Brooklyn. They jumped across the river to establish a foothold in Manhattan.) While all the products there were really great, I fell in love with the originals: the totes! Also check out her newest line of leashes and collars. I saw them at the NY Now show and I liked them a lot.
The store is located at 300 East 5th Street, between First and Second Avenues in the East Village. And to shop online, click here.
Found My Animal
There’s one company from Brooklyn whose products are seemingly ubiquitous: Found My Animal. Bodhi has a Found My Animal leash (It’s a beautiful, vibrant orange! Check it out here.) I also think it’s safe to say I’ve seen their products in pretty much every high-end pet shop I’ve ever visited. I’ve even seen Found My Animal gear at West Elm, CB2, and The Standard Hotel in Miami Beach.
Check out Found My Animal’s full product line on their website.
And for more products from companies that started in Brooklyn check out: BTW Ceramics (bowls); Waggo (full line of products); Bau Hound (apparel); Citizen x Hound (collars and leashes); and Howl and Hound (bandanas.) And if you Urban Doggers know of any more Brooklyn-based companies, let me know in the comments below.