Wonder how Fido would look in a rattlesnake-skin or studded collar and leash? Wonder no more! A new San Luis Obispo-based business promises to keep man’s best friend in high fashion, and keep you looking cool by association.
Mutt Couture was founded in 2011 by friends Josh Herman, Bryan Bremer and Andy Dibbern, all longtime residents of San Luis Obispo County. They have a simple business model: making high-end designer collars and leashes for dogs.
The three bring their own unique talents to the table. Herman, an experienced clothing designer, designs the products and handles the manufacturing; Bremer, a graphic artist, focuses on branding and marketing; and Dibbern, a veterinarian, advises on the products’ functionality.
For the past two years, Mutt Couture has been providing their boutique-style accessories online, but the owners recently decided to open a storefront location. The retail store, which officially opened Feb. 10 on Foothill Boulevard, also serves as the company’s headquarters and warehouse.
In a city with an already healthy number of pet stores — San Luis Obispo has at least 11 — the trio stress that Mutt Couture can’t help but stand out from the rest. For one thing, they’re not a pet store, but rather a boutique specializing in one specialized product: high-fashion dog collars and leashes. No food, no toys, just fashionable doggie attire.
“We’re not trying to compete with Tails (Boutique) and Petco, that’s not what we’re about. We’re not a pet store,” Herman said.
Herman said since they opened the retail location, walk-in traffic has been good, and the online sales the business is used to remains a steady flow of clientele.
“With this store we’re trying to be an outlet center, to save locals a trip online and save them on shipping,” Herman said.
“We’re hitting the progressive designs that nobody’s really doing,” Bibbern said. “This is not your typical collar you see on the street. It’s edgy and definitely couture.”
Asked — given the studs and chic design of their collars — if the business could translate into other markets geared toward, say, adult humans, Dibbern laughed.
“That actually came up in conversation the other day, and I just looked at (my friend) funny and said, ‘You know, I never really thought about it until now,’” he said. “But I guess it could.”
Check out the new location at 973 Foothill Blvd., Suite 105. More information about Mutt Couture and its inventory can be found on the company website at muttcoutureinc.com. The business can also be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.