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Sir Dogwood

5 mins read

This Black Owned Pet Apparel Business Creates Dapper Dogs

According to the American Pet Products Association, estimated pet-related spending totaled $95.7 billion in 2019. Sir Dogwood is a Black owned pet apparel line playing in this booming industry.
We caught up with the Founder, Chaz Olajide. This is what she had to say:
Black Owned Pet Apparel
Chaz Olajide

I’m going to take a wild guess and say that you must be a dog owner. What’s your dog’s name, breed, and age?

You are correct! I have one dog, a 3-year-old miniature schnauzer named Winston Churchill.
Black Owned Pet Apparel

What inspired you to start Sir Dogwood?

I started Sir Dogwood out of a need that I didn’t feel was being addressed in the market for a clean, chic, non-gender-normative modern collection of dog wear and accessories. 
Black Owned Pet Apparel

You offer a curated selection of products. How do you decide what suppliers to partner with?

I look for brands that offer an aesthetic that matches Sir Dogwood’s clean modern style. I also partner with local makers to create exclusive pieces only available on our site.
For instance, we partnered with Chicago-based Peter Gaona of Reformed School to create a line of upcycled African print bowties for dogs this past year.

What is your response to people who look at pet apparel as unnecessary or as a novelty?

Pet apparel is not for everyone, but we cater to those who consider themselves pet parents rather than pet owners.
For them, they’re happy to spoil their dog with something a bit more unique than what one might find at a big box store, like a kitschy hand knit toy or luxe cashmere sweater.
Black Owned Pet Apparel
For those who aren’t into dog wear, we also offer basics like a selection of chic collars with beautiful brass hardware from See Scout Sleep out of Amsterdam. 

SMany of the dog owners that I know, consider their dogs their children. For the non-dog owner, explain the bond that can exist between a canine and its owner.

I’m obviously biased, but dogs are the best: they’re always happy to see you, are expert snugglers and possess unending patience and poise when dressed in a seemingly endless array of clothing and accessories. Well, the latter is true of my pup, anyway.
Black Owned Pet Apparel

Right now you sell clothing, toys, and accessories for dogs only. Do you plan on extending your offering to include other animals?

CO: Yes! I am considering offering clothing, accessories and toys for cats in the near future as well. 

The pet clothing market has a lot more players than I expected. What do you feel separates you from the others?

When I initially showed the website to one of my close friends, her first reaction was to note that it looked as though I curated the dog version of my own wardrobe, which was brilliant to hear because that was very intentional on my part.
I tend to gravitate toward wearing minimal, modern clothing in neutral tones myself, and I choose dog wear and accessories for Sir Dogwood that mirror this aesthetic.

sir dogwood

I also want Sir Dogwood to be an inclusive space for dog owners of color – to that end I am also launching a series that will feature pet parents of color in various creative industries and their relationships with their dogs, which will debut in 2017.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?

In five years I’d love to see Sir Dogwood opening our first brick and mortar in Chicago (hopefully the first of many!).


sir dogwood

What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to trust your instincts and to not hesitate to say “no” if something doesn’t feel authentic to your brand.

Tony O. Lawson

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