Carole Allman is the founder and designer of Huggable Hound, an independent online shop that sells unique collars and the occasional leash. Based in Ottawa, Carole and her trusty sidekick, Chai the Greyhound, work together to create a little sumthin’ sumthin’ different in the pet world. Here’s a peek into their studio!
1) What is your typical work day like with your pet?
I spend an equal amount of my day searching for fabric online, sourcing materials, connecting via Facebook and Etsy and sewing. Chai is never far behind, she follows me from room to room, always waiting for ear scratches or a tummy rub.
2) Does Chai help model the collars that you make?
Chai definitely is my ‘go to girl’ for all of my collar modelling needs, even the boy patterns! She always makes me laugh because she really doesn’t like it when I take her collar off and always wiggles into a new design when I hold it up in front of her. Crazy as it sounds, I do believe she really likes trying on new collars.
3) How do you get started in the morning/what is your morning routine with your pet?
First priority, a double espresso cappuccino and snuggles with Chai. Then she has her breakfast and a half hour walk. Walks are always interesting with Chai because I always have to be on the lookout for squirrels and neighbourhood cats. Most times she sees a critter long before I do (I have the sore shoulder to prove that!)
Next it’s onto social networking. Facebook first. I always post pictures of my new fabrics and collar designs there and follow up with requests for donations to rescue and adoption groups. Then onto my Etsy shop where I check for any questions or messages. I’m beginning to have lots of repeat orders and custom requests, because people are looking for a specific colour or pattern and I’m always happy when I can successfully match a request with a find. My most recent custom request was for pretzel fabric for a lady with a Greyhound named Pretzel. She was thrilled with her 2″ inch pretzel buckle collar and matching leash and I was very happy to be able to cater to her custom request.
4) What is your favourite thing to do during work breaks with your pet?
Chai determines the work breaks around here. When she wants to play, she will come into my sewing room and do whatever it takes to make me take a break. She will try to get her paws on my legs or manoeuvres her head under my arm, until eventually I give in and take a break. There is only one thing we love to do during break time. Stuffies! Chai is crazy about her stuffies and loves it when I throw them down the hall for her. She races down the hall before I even throw it, getting a head start, catches it and jumps on my bed. Then she goes through her ritual of shaking it (to death) or ripping its stuffing out. Then runs back down the hall — “again Momma?”
5) Where is your favorite place to work?
My favourite place to work is in my sewing room. I live on a very quiet street and have three 20-year-old maple trees right outside my window. I enjoy hearing the birds chirping and watching the squirrels, with Chai on her bed beside me. What could be better?
6) If Chai could talk, what do you think she would advise you to do when designing collars?
“Momma, you need more PINK collars!” Chai is all about PINK.
7) Where do you get your design inspiration from?
I’m always searching for new fabric trends, either on Etsy or Ebay. I have over 600 friends on facebook, most of them dog owners, and I have to say I get my inspiration from them. My customers have been great with their feedback, letting me know if they want to see more reds, more novelty fabrics or “my dog really looks great in turquoise, can you find something for her?” I’ve also been known to stop a nurse or two and ask them where they purchased their scrubs because I can picture that fabric on a martingale collar!
Thank you Carole and Chai for sharing about your creative process! If you’re a creative person with a pet and would like to be featured on Pawsh please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.