by William Foss
Think about you’re strolling by way of the South Coast Botanic Backyard. You introduced your canine. You are able to do that on the final Sunday of the month. Up forward you see a brilliant blue pop-up and on it are the phrases, Artwork of a Canine.
Right here you’ll discover canine collars studded with glittering Swarovski crystals, and handcrafted canine leases, all bearing a metallic appeal displaying a coronary heart topped by a crown. They’re the work of Redondo Seashore artist and businesswoman Terry Gonzales.
“It was a childhood dream of mine to do one thing involving canine,” she mentioned. “Initially, I wished to be a veterinarian, however that didn’t work out. I spent over 20 years within the magnificence merchandise trade as a substitute. However I nonetheless wished to encompass myself with canine and do one thing for them, that was the dream.”
The Artwork of A Canine got here out of the age of COVID, when many individuals have been rethinking their careers. Distributing magnificence merchandise for individuals got here to a halt when girls have been carrying masks as a substitute of make-up.
“I used to be speaking with my greatest buddy, and we have been saying, ‘What can we wish to do for the remainder of our lives?’ And I wished to be hands-on with canine, and listen to individuals’s tales about their canine, and everybody was getting canine throughout COVID – the canine adoption locations have been truly working low, which was nice – a lot of canine acquired houses and love. So, this was the best time to start out this enterprise.”
These are usually not collars and leashes that you just purchase at chain shops – it’s actually extra like elegant however practical jewellery. Many of the items are designed to order. Canine homeowners choose the supplies and look, Terry does the remainder.
“I don’t wish to simply do that by e-commerce – it’s concerning the particular person canine and particular person proprietor. I prefer to color-match the collar with the canine’s coat, have it the best width to look excellent, make the canine look their greatest.”
About half the purchasers are males, whose canine collars function metal or bronze decorations. A ‘vegan’ leather-based is an possibility for people who find themselves allergic to tanned leather-based or don’t wish to purchase animal-derived merchandise.
The picture of a coronary heart topped by a crown on the appeal has a particular that means to Gonzales, and to the various canine homeowners who outfit their furry relations with the jewellery. “It’s a logo of the loyalty and love of a canine. Many individuals have them engraved with the canine’s title or issues like ‘Finest in Breed’ – no matter individuals need. A few of them are for canine which have already gone to doggie heaven and are worn by the individuals who keep in mind them.”
And sure, some homeowners get matching jewellery, in order that they will have the identical fashion as their pooch. Will there quickly be earrings for individuals to match their pup’s fashion? “No,” Gonzales mentioned firmly. “It isn’t about individuals, it’s all concerning the canine.”
Some individuals do purchase her collars and put on them as bracelets or ask for human-sized necklaces that can match their canine. She’ll make these, however there received’t be a clothes line for individuals.
All the supplies are domestically sourced. “I don’t wish to simply purchase issues from China and put them collectively. To make the charms with the crown I discovered a husband-and-wife jeweler who do customized casting and plating in L.A., so it’s all American-made.”
Gonzales additionally dog-sits. “I’m surrounded by canine on a regular basis, so I’m already residing my dream.”
She nonetheless has the collar and appeal of her first canine, a chow (one in all her favourite breeds). It’s a easy blue tag with the title Princess on it. “I’ll at all times keep in mind how a lot I cherished that canine,” she mentioned.
What about jewellery for cats or hamsters? “No, simply canine – that’s my ardour. Folks have purchased them for cats, and that’s OK – however I’m all concerning the canine.”
Quickly there shall be a web site, and a web site on Etsy. Gonzales admits she isn’t very tech-savvy, so she’s getting assist with setting these up. She additionally has some concepts for brand spanking new merchandise that she received’t disclose proper now. “I don’t wish to develop too huge, although. That might lose one thing. However possibly in a number of years I may additionally have a canine spa or grooming salon, one thing with each side of caring for canine.”
She has had her pop-up sales space on the Torrance Memorial Hospital charity occasion and several other canine reveals, together with the well-known one in Beverly Hills. “Folks see the jewellery and need it for his or her canine. It sells itself. It isn’t costly and it’s distinctive.”
To be taught extra go to TheArtOfADog.com. PEN