I started Decotogs with $21 and a trip to the fabric store. I used to show dogs and looked forward to perusing the vendor booths at every dog show. I grew weary of showing after just a few years, but Mom still had the bug and continued showing as her health allowed. When she could no longer run the dogs in the ring, she retained an interest in the goings on outside the rings and continued visiting the vendor booths. One day she came home excited about belly bands she saw and was determined that we could make them better. So in October of 2002, I made a trip to the local fabric store and spent $21 on a chance and a dream.
We sewed up all that fabric into a handful of belly bands and Mom took them to the shows to sell ring side. The dream was real! I picked a name, bought a domain and started the journey of building a business.
When I added dog pajamas, they were an instant success. I bought a pattern from the fabric store for four-sleeve dog pajamas, but I quickly learned that the pattern didn't really fit dogs very well even though they were represented to fit most breeds. One customer shared my website to a whippet chat group. I was amazed by how friendly, patient and forgiving whippet owners are! This was not at all similar to my experience in the show ring. I worked with several whippet owners and breeders to get a feel for what size most whippets are. After several rounds of trial and error, I was able to modify the purchased pattern to fit whippets, and then crafted my own version of the pattern into four sizes for whippets. I owe my success to whippet owners, therefor my core sizes are still named Whippet sizes. Most amazingly, I have never owned a Whippet, nor have I ever been able to work with a whippet in person to create my patterns. All of the work was done long distance, with PJs shipped to the willing assistants, getting feedback and sometimes photos, taking notes, modifying the patterns, and shipping more PJs.
I've offered other products from time to time, often without success - panties for the females in heat, dog plush toys (for humans), braided fleece tug toys (for dogs), Shorties, and Long Coats. However, Pullovers were popular and became even more successful than the Snugglies.
As from day one, I still have a normal full time job. I work on Decotogs weekends and evenings, hence why I do not post my phone number on the website. Mom has since retired but she continues to cheer me on and support me. She proof reads my website and test links, and often mildly chides me that my sale discounts are too high.
Decotogs is located a little north of Kansas City, Missouri, far enough out in the country to feel country, but close enough to the city to enjoy the conveniences the city offers, most importantly being the real job which pays the bills. I have one lady who helps me with some of the sewing. I run every other aspect of the business myself. Please forgive me if I don't answer your email or get your order shipped out quite fast enough.
When I'm not at work, or working on Decotogs, I'm often out back with the chickens, or on Facebook talking about my chickens.
If you have any comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to send me an email, or you can message me through Messenger or Facebook. Thank you!