Some people like to adorn their dogs with clothes and accessories; others prefer to stick to only functional gear. Whichever camp you fall into, there are two essential items that allow room for some fun and expression of taste: a dog's collar and leash.
At our Christmas craft fair last year at School For The Dogs, our clients went nuts for the cute and cheeky printed hemp collars and leashes made by the young company, Shed Brooklyn. There are simply no other products on the market like their eyebrow-raising gear, which features original motifs you're not likely to find on any other dog wear. Boobs, poop-icons, granny panties, and dollar signs are just not among the kinds of things you'd expect to find on a dog gear! We asked Kiah Vidyarthi, one half of the Shed team, to tell us about the products.
How did this business come about?
We started out making hand-stamped collars as holiday gifts for friends and family in 2014. Kristen and I are best friends, and we're both obsessed with our dogs. She has a background in business, and I've worked in art and textiles, and we are both suckers for cute stuff.
After making a few batches, we pretty quickly had a long list of friends who wanted them, so in early 2015 we decided to up our game by adding more designs, starting to screen print each collar. Our vision was to make dog accessories that are cute, affordable, ethically made, vegan and locally-made.
The process took some trial and error! Screen printing can be a tricky process when you're using a textured material. We came up with a bunch of ideas for designs that we felt personified the (weird and charming) pups in our lives. In terms of images, we like things that are a little odd and things that give a nod to our '90s childhoods and pop culture. We have emojis, snacks, girly stuff, and some cool new artist collaborations coming very soon.
Do you have a favorite?
All of our collars and leashes are mix-and-match. My favorite leash is probably the forties. I like to keep it classy and pair it with the boobies collar.
Right now, it's just collars and leashes but we have big plans - beds, goodies, toys, and more! We also just launched our Mom Jeans (recycled denim) collection, which comes in four washes. Acid wash is pretty cool.
How did “Shed” get its name?
We came up with the name Shed when were just sitting around my kitchen table, brainstorming. We were getting lost in some pretty embarrassing puns and then it hit us: Shed! We loved that it was a sort of double-entendre, with dog hair shedding and a structure that could contain lots of things.
Now, the most important part of this interview: Tell us about your dog!
Tuna! Formally known as Petunia, is a 4ish year old pittie and she's the most wonderful monster in the world. I adopted her when she was about 10 months old from the pound in Jersey City. As she got older, she developed some behavioral issues and decided that she is extremely picky about her dog friends, absolutely hates skateboards, and runs the neighborhood cat-watch. She's forever a work in progress, but she's definitely my canine soulmate.
You've done a lot of training with Tuna. If you could impart one tip to other dog owners, what would it be?
Recognize your dog's individual needs! For the first several years, I couldn't accept that Tuna could lead a happy, fulfilled life if she wasn't running around off leash at the dog park with all the happy-go-lucky dogs. I spent so much time, tears, and not to mention tons of money trying to change the fact that she just isn't one of those dogs. In reality, Tuna has two or three dog friends that she enjoys playing with for a little bit, but she's happiest when she's in the company of her humans. Once I finally accepted it and let her live her truth as a couch-potato, we were all much happier.