Monday, February 24, 2014

Behind the Brand: Penn + Pooch

We're kind of animal of obsessed so when our dear friend Courtney launched her business we knew we had to share. Obviously our entourage needs to look stylish, including our pups! Courtney is quite the entrepreneur and is here to share a little advice about starting a business—thanks girl! Oh and she's is offering 25% off for Midwest Blogger members with code: MSB4PP.  Valid 2/24 - 2/28. Happy shopping!


Name: Courtney Cross

Location: Des Moines, Iowa

Business: penn + pooch

What is penn + pooch? penn + pooch is a dog apparel and lifestyle brand that values style, quality and function for your dog.  

How did you come up with the name penn + pooch?  The name is a representation of America’s most beloved and universal friendship; dog and (wo)man.  “penn” stands for the dog owner with style and is short for Pennsylvania Avenue, street name of the White House.  As mentioned earlier, one of our main hallmarks is quality.  We believe the best practices take place here in America and we will never step away from that.  “pooch” stands for the dog with style.  We understand that how you dress is an expression of character and your dog should have the same luxury.

When did you launch penn + pooch?  penn + pooch launched in January 2014.


What made you start penn + pooch?  My little one, Lola!  She’s a four lb. morkie with quite the personality!  As a teensy, tiny puppy, I tried dressing her in sweaters and hoodies to keep her warm during the cold months, but the quality just wasn’t there.  The fabric was itchy and the fit was awkward and tight.  I told my fiance that it was nearly impossible to find something for Lola to wear, so it was up to us to make it happen.   

Where can we find penn + pooch?  All styles and collections are currently available at our online shop (www.pennpooch.com).  Des Moines pups will soon be able to find select styles in the East Village at Jett & Monkey’s Dog Shoppe.  Additionally, select styles will also be available at the online dog boutique, Felix Chien.  

What sets penn + pooch apart from other companies?
Oh gosh, where do I even begin! We’ve finally created what’s been missing from pet apparel all along; style, quality and function.  Our designs and silhouettes are based off the latest trends and all colors schemes are chosen from seasonal pantones used by the most influential fashion designers in the industry today. We hand-pick only premium fabrics and all materials are sourced in California.  Additionally, all aspects of production and manufacturing take place in Los Angeles.  Not only do we care about how our clothes are designed and created, but we also care how they are used and worn by dogs.  We are the first brand in the industry to create a center back flap for harness and leash accessibility.  As pet owners ourselves, we understand the lifestyle a dog lives.  We know how he or she moves, plays, and lounges.  Our garments are non-restrictive and can withstand the wear of the most active pup.   

What is your ultimate goal for penn + pooch?  Ultimately our goal is to bring to style to dogs everywhere.  From a distribution standpoint, it is our goal to be available online, at high-end retailers and dog boutiques.  To us, the sky is the limit. The bar is set so low in the industry right now and we want to be the ones to permanently raise it.

What does your product line include?  We have two tees; the quinn crewneck tee and the babe raglan tee.  We also have the peyton polo shirt for the preppy pup!  For a more casual look, we have the emerson hoodie and the stevie sleeveless hoodie.  

What sizes do you carry?  Right now we carry sizes XS - L, which is a range of 4lbs to 35lbs.

What are you price points?  Our prices points are definitely comfortable and affordable!   Tees start at $22.00 and hoodies start at $38.00.    

What's your favorite thing about starting penn + pooch?  The feeling of building something from concept to design to completion is incredible.  It’s empowering, yet humbling all at the same time.  My business partners and I love the risk and reward that comes with starting a company.  You learn to push boundaries and challenge yourself in ways you never thought possible.  I love that we feel limitless; we create the destiny for penn + pooch and it’s a thrilling ride.  I could go on about this all day, but it’s truly a journey that cannot be described to the fullest by words.  


What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own business?  

My advice reel could go forever, so here’s my top three:
1. Keep the passion.  Never forget why you started on your journey because sometimes the work can be overwhelming and you can lose sight of the big picture.  Your passion is the best motivator and will keep you focused.

2. Expect to work hard.  It’s easy to say you have a dream and a vision, it’s a lot harder to make it happen.  
3. Enjoy the small (and big!) victories.  When you achieve a goal, whatever it may be, enjoy it.  It’s these successes that add up to create a great business.     

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