|Article Author: Angie McKaig|
Jewelry by Fancy Bones means lavish icing for the truly pampered pooch by Angie McKaig
Over the past year and a half at Pampered Puppy, we have seen it all — from genuine alligator carriers to dog beds with solid gold finials. But never have we seen jewelry that so stunned and delighted us. Fancy Bones jewelry is quite literally a cut above the rest.
Sparkling diamonds and sapphires. Stunning 14k white gold and yellow gold. The kind of quality workmanship we've always hoped to see in jewelry for dogs (and dog jewelry for owners, for that matter) combined with a company determined to do things differently. It all adds up to one of the most exciting new companies in the luxury dog market.
We recently spoke David King (owner of Fancy Bones) about jewelry, design, and luxuries for dogs.
pp: What made you decide to start Fancy Bones?
dk: Fancy Bones started as a fundraising project for the Humane Society of Greater Miami and evolved from there. About 18 months ago, I fashioned a photo shoot for Vive Magazine on behalf of King Jewelers. At the shoot, I had brought my Fancy Boxer named Andre and the photographer and models instantly fell in love with his personality and curiosity around the set. One of the models wanted to get a picture with the dog. I decided to dress Andre in an 18kt yellow gold and diamond necklace with a blue enamel heart pendant as the tag.
A few months later, my mother and I were talking about an event for the Humane Society of Greater Miami and then it clicked. Why not make pendants for dogs that would benefit the Humane Society? From there I started with some basic bone-shaped pendants strictly for dogs. I then started a small and informal focus group and learned something very important; people wanted Fancy Bones for both themselves as well as for their pets.
There was an obvious need in the jewelry industry for fine and exotic pet related products, especially for a price range that appealed to the mass markets as well as the fashion elite. I listened to my market, tested new designs, and provide canines and friends of canines with exactly what they wanted and never had before!
pp: What sets Fancy Bones apart from other companies making jewelry for pets and pet lovers?
dk: Fancy Bones outshines all other companies making jewelry for pets and pet lovers on many levels. First off, quality and uniqueness! When I first started exploring the idea of jewelry for pets, I started my research online and then headed to Orlando for the Eukanuba Dog Championships. What I found was overpriced, mainly breed related jewelry creations that appealed to a middle American market without catering to a more fashionable and upscale demographic.
Second, Fancy Bones is the first pet jewelry line that actually benefits the animals. A portion of all Fancy Bones sales benefits the Humane Society of Greater Miami. In addition, Fancy Bones hosts trunk shows across the United States that benefit local charities. There is no better feeling than visiting an animal shelter and seeing a Fancy Bones plate above a kennel that prevents euthanasia of animals.
Third, we're realistic. While a person's jewelry is subject to daily wear and tear, imagine what pet jewelry looks like when a pet sports it everyday. That's why Fancy Bones offers a once a year refinishing of all products for the lifetime of the product. And did I mention the fabulous packaging?
pp: Do you design all the products yourself?
dk: Fancy Bones designs are a collaborated effort. Most of the designs and concepts originate from my dreams, either while asleep or daydreaming. The next step is the initial design and engineering of a product. It is a difficult process to make something both beautiful and durable. Once the initial design is completed, I then sit down with my mother and we discuss how to improve. Next comes the market feedback from a select group of clients. And finally, if the design is a pet product, I attach one to my 100lbs Boxer dog collar, attach another to my neighbor's 140lbs Rottweiler and let them play outside. It only takes 5 minutes to realize if a product is engineered properly and exactly how durable it is.
pp: Do you have a background in jewelry design?
dk: I've never had a formal jewelry design education or training. I've been fortunate to have been brought up with a family legacy of fine jewelry, an appreciation of art, and most importantly, a love for animals.
pp: How do you come up with the designs?
dk: All Fancy Bones designs are based on the notion of love, pampering, and uniqueness. The collection is quite large and diverse, especially when you consider the mixture of people and pet products. I try to appeal to all demographics with prices ranging from $75 up to $15,000. When it comes to animals, there is no discrimination in regards to race, gender, religion, sexuality, or income. All that matters is one's love for his/her pet and I want everyone who loves their pet to pamper both their canine companion as well as themselves with fashionable yet timeless Fancy Bones products.
pp: What would you say is your most popular product? Do you have a personal favourite?
dk: The most popular Fancy Bones product? That's a very tough question! For people, it's either the Baby Diamond Bone for $3,500 or the Small ID Bone with Sapphires on a colored cord for $400. For dogs, either the Small Round Tag for $75 or the Small Gold Plated ID Bone with CZs for $150. As for a personl favorite product, if I had to choose one, I'd have to go with the small id bone because it was my first design and will forever stand as the fountainhead of the line.
pp: What's the most rewarding part of running Fancy Bones?
dk: Besides the rewarding feeling of giving back to the animals, I have to say that the interaction with all of the dog lovers has to be the best aspect of running Fancy Bones. I love hearing about someone's special friend, looking at pictures, and even interacting with the pooches. It's hilarious when I have all my doggy models running around playing together!
pp: Why do you think there has been such an increase in demand for luxury dog products over the last ten years?
dk: In my opinion, there's been a dramatic increase in demand for luxury dog products over the last ten years for many reasons. Fist and foremost, consumers are tired of all of the vanilla products that flood the marketplace. Second, as the baby boomer generation grows older and their children go off to college and move on, there's a void left in the home. This explains one catalyst behind the exponential growth of pet ownership in the last five years. As a result, as more people buy dogs, the pet not only fills the void but the people who are purchasing pets are of an elder and more affluent demographic.
From a fashion perspective, it's all about cycles. Have you noticed in the last twelve years that white gold has significantly replaced and overshadowed yellow gold in both jewelry and accessories? The ascent of white gold was a reaction to the ostentatiousness of the 1980's (just picture Mr. T or Gordon Gecco for a moment!). However, in the last three years now, yellow gold is coming back in a major way as witnessed by new Italian designs and major fashion labels such as Gucci. This found again acceptance of yellow gold, namely flash, parallels the rise of luxury pet products as people want something special. They want to be in the spotlight with conversation pieces and accessories, and more importantly, they want their canine friends to feel special and to truly be their little (or big) superstars.
pp: What plans do you have for the future of Fancy Bones?
dk: The future of Fancy Bones is very promising. We're truly just getting started! The released designs are just the tip of the iceberg as Fancy Bones will be expanding the necklaces and accessories for people, and have some of the most incredible pet designs to be released this Winter. We will also be exhibiting for the first time at the HH Backer Christmas show [Editors note: A trade convention for the dog products industry] which will allow people to access Fancy Bones on a more local level. And most importantly, Fancy Bones will continue to assist abandoned animals in need.
For complete information regarding the Fancy Bones line,
visit www.fancybones.com or call (800) 330-KING.