CHICAGO—In today's cities, an apartment building being “dog friendly” is about as important for most as having a washer and dryer in your unit and private garage parking. From what I’ve heard back in the 80s and 90s, this wasn’t the case. “Sure there were some buildings that were ‘K-9 kool’,” my mother and father point out. They had lived in the city from 1984 to 1998. “Thirty years later, you’re hard pressed not to see someone’s ‘four legged child’ panting down the street, or ridding stroller style looking for the perfect fire hydrant.”
Moving back to Chicago from New Orleans, where I lived from 2012-15, I've noticed this “Dog Friendly” trend between both cities. And, because the pooch is in the penthouse now there are all sorts of ways dogs are enjoying their new found acceptance aside from apartment buildings. I’ve seen Dachshunds and greyhounds grabbing coffee with their owners in the morning. Pugs and poodles acting as service dogs. Talking with friends who live in New York and Los Angeles, I’m even heard of terriers taking taxis and Frenchies eating French toast at brunch!
With all these dogs doing this and that, I’m lead to believe most American cities, are seeing an exponential growth in "pooch-related purchases”. I’m not just talking about the rise of all natural dog food, harness over leash, or "doggy day care services” but dog-related wall decor for owners homes, too! Whether it’s items for your dog or concerning him/her, there’s no denying the "dog friendly-ness" has created an amazing home decor market.
For us, it all started out with creating silhouettes of popular dog varieties based on the American Kennel Club "Top Ten Breeds of 2011" Ranking in the top five that year were: 1. Retriever (Labrador), 2. German Shepard, 3. Beagle, 4. Golden Retriever, and 5. Yorkshire "Yorkie” Terrier. So, we began doing the Labrador shape first, naturally. As they began to sell, we also were contacted by customers about doing a breed that wasn't in the top five, but made the top ten, the English Bulldog. Dachshunds, and German Shepards owners were also eager to mount wall decor in their homes based on their breed.
Another specific item we offer, that's a result of this trend, is our Labrador Leash Hook. It's become a super popular best-seller on Etsy over the last few years. Essentially, it's a silhouette of a lab standing atop a bar with three small hooks. Dog owners hang the piece next to or near their entryway doors. On a side note, this was one of the first pieces where the art also became functional, adding a whole new dimension of value. Customers enjoy color customization based on their Lab's coat or any one of our 27 unique, fun colors.
Another leash hook we offer is the shape of a Bone where, we will custom paint on your dog's name. We also will paint the French Flag on Large French "Frenchie” Bull Dogs or the Union Jack Flag on large English Bull Dogs which customers also get a kick out of.
So popular are the dog silhouettes where you enjoy them alone or as a hook, we have now added four more breeds, Golden Retriever, Beagle, English Bulldog and of course a Pug.
"Dog Talk” is our fun new line of doggy words leash hooks. Some examples include: ruff, growl, bark, whoof, and snort. We so wish we had a little Dr. Doolittle in us to know what they were saying. It's funny to think, depending on your breed, what their words would sound like with all their K-9 accents. We, being Pug owners, hear a lot of snorts and sniffles as oppose to a Lab per say. Y'all might hear a lot more serious barks and ruffs, and maybe the occtional growl. The idea behind "Dog Talk" is you pick what you hear the most from one of our fun new leash hooks.
One particular order I remember we all had a lot of fun making at the Haven Studios was a combination of nine different dog breeds, all in our Barnwood Red color for a Veterinarians office. It was a lot of fun because we actually scaled them to the dog's true life-size.
I'd like to sign off this blog with one adorable face of my K-9 companion in and around the streets of downtown Chicago, IL.
Special thanks to my neighbors for letting me take snaps of them and the pooch's.