|Article Author: Stacey Waspe|
Modern pieces for the funky loft-living canine in your life by Stacey Waspe
Diva princess? Geek chic? Regardless of the style of your pampered pooch, all canines need to eat and sleep. When your pooch sets eyes on the sleek, modern, British stylings of WOWBOW, however, eating and sleeping will never be the same. (And she may be barking with a British accent.)
Handmade in the UK, WOWBOW's beds and dining tables are available in clear, translucent red, translucent smoke, solid white or in a stunning translucent green acrylic, which resembles glass. Faux suede cushions are available in Donkey, Oatmeal, Lace, Cherry and Sky, colors that match the 10mm thick Perspex frame. Mix and match pieces to create interesting effects.
Listen in as we chat with Kim Bull about her ultra modern and beautifully designer dog beds and dining tables. If there's loft-living in your future (or if wish it was) look to WOWBOW to pamper your pooch with furnishings that match your lifestyle! Welcome to the 21st century!
pp:Why did you decide to create WOWBOW? What was your inspiration?
kb: It started when we couldn't find a dog bed for our new rescue dog Mija (pronounced Mee-Haa) - who I later named the line after. We didn't want to go down a traditional route but didn't want to go over the top with something that wouldn't go with our home's interior either. There was nothing that even came close over here in the UK so I went online and found a nice bed in New York. I promptly ordered it and waited in anticipation. It finally arrived weeks later and I was slapped with huge customs bill; I placed it in the living room for Mija. She loved it and so did we but it soon lost its shape after a couple of months, becoming a bit of an eyesore.
So, I sat down and designed a bed that we would want in our home. I knew we wanted something contemporary but timeless that met all of Mija's needs in terms of comfort. As soon as we got the acrylic component back from the fabricator, I just stood there and cried. It was just so beautiful, almost a shame to put a cushion in it. I knew then that we had to come up with the 'ultimate' cushion so settled for nothing less than shredded memory foam - unheard of here in the UK until WOWBOW - and a faux suede outer cover.
That was eight months ago and here we are now. Sometimes I sit here and think "Wow, I'm in business designing pet furniture!"
pp:What sets your beds apart from typical beds that most owners use for their pets? What are the most unique features?
kb: The Mija line is unique in it's design and the materials used. Even though there are some new beautiful contemporary designs on the market, I haven't seen anything yet which is fabricated out of acrylic and offers a shredded memory foam cushion.
pp:What sets your dining tables apart from typical bowls and stations that most owners use for their pets? What are some of the more unique features?
kb: Again, it feel it's the unique design of the Mija line that set our dining tables apart from others on the market; it really comes down to personal taste. There are some very beautiful bowls and stations in a variety of different styles for people to choose from. More and more people are understanding how important it is for our dogs to eat at the appropriate height. Not only is it more comfortable for you dog, putting less stress on their forearms and joints, but the digestive health benefits are undeniable.
pp:Why do you think it's important for people to have accessories for their dogs that fit their lifestyle, taste and the decor of their home?
kb: Dogs no longer take on a utilitarian role. They are now a member of the family and an intricate part of the household. So why should one not take the same care and attention in buying a beautiful piece of dog furniture for their little friend as they would their own two legged children?
pp:Do you design all of your products yourself? If yes, how do you come up with your designs? What are your design inspirations?
kb: Yes, I've designed the Mija line but we will be coming up with further lines and items that have had some input from my husband Richard, who is also a designer. We come up with designs that we know would look good in our home and we're always inspired by our dog Mija. A lot is grown out of necessity. If there is something we want for Mija but can't find it on the market, we design it ourselves and add it to the collection. Design inspiration also comes from classic curves, materials and disciplines found in 20th century furniture and architecture.
pp:We love all your beds and dining tables. Which color combinations do you find most popular? Do people usually mix and match or buy sets?
kb: It's hard to say because with different cushion color combinations, the beds can take on a whole new look and I find our customers are having fun with that aspect. If I had to pinpoint a favorite, it would have to be the transparent green bed and dining tables. It is just such a strong look and people often assume it's glass. I also find that people prefer to buy a matching set as the color they've chosen fits into their homes interior.
pp:Can you make beds and dining tables for any size dog?
kb: Yes, as all of our products are made to order, we can facilitate any size. Of course if the dog is absolutely huge, we need to make some modifications to a large dog bed in terms of reinforcement and sometimes jump up to a thicker gauge acrylic. I love coming up with design solutions that accommodate someone and their dog. It's a great feeling!
pp:What did you do before you started making luxury products for pets? What's the most rewarding part of running WOWBOW?
kb: I used to be in new media. I got involved with online marketing and design from the get go back in '95 when it was fun and exciting... except for working with so many geeks! My clients ranged from Levi Strauss, Sony Playstation and MTV. The industry got to be too much to deal with when people started to see dollar signs and just wanted a quick buck. So, I cashed in and tried to run away to Mexico to get back to being creative but it would have been hard to live in Mexico while my husband was here in London running his own design company. I finally gave in and thought I'd just take some time off and get a dog... and here I am now!
I absolutely love what I do now!! I'm working with people who know what a joy it is to have a dog and I love it when they share their stories with me. When we launched at 100% Design here in London, I got such a kick out of watching people's expressions change when they realized what we where doing. So many people told me that WOWBOW has made them want to go out and get a dog just so they can have one of our beds. What a compliment!! I just can't believe it. This industry is also just so much fun. I love looking at all the great things that are now available on the market for the 'Pampered Pooch'. I find myself constantly smiling and not many people can say that about their jobs can they?
pp:Why do you think there has been such an increase in demand for luxury dog products & services in the last 10 years?
kb: I think that with so many people holding off on having children right away or not having any at all, 'empty nesters' and same sex couples, a dog or any pet for that matter, makes the perfect addition to any family unit. These people often also have the spending latitude and are style conscious, so they want the best for their little friend. I think we've only seen the beginning of things to come, at least here in the UK.
pp:What's new at WOWBOW? What plans do you have for the future of WOWBOW?
kb: We are currently designing new lines and items that will be out on the market early in the new year. We'd like to eventually open a shop here in the London and perhaps, if all goes well, spread to other parts of the world.
We are very passionate about the welfare and exposure of underprivileged animals around the world. A percentage of all our sales goes to charitable organizations committed to helping pets in need, both here in the UK and soon abroad. It is our eventual hope to set up a WOWBOW Foundation. This organization will spread its proceeds globally in an effort to help provide better futures for our furry (and not so furry) friends. Our aim is to help fund animal rescue operations worldwide with a focus on local veterinary education programs providing employment opportunities to under funded communities, training in vaccinations, re-homing and introducing spay and neutering programs. We'd like to help people help themselves and in turn, help and understand the animals they share their world with.
Oh, and I'd love to be the first one to set up a truly pet friendly airline!
pp:Do you have any pampered puppies in your life? If so, we'd love to hear about them!
kb: At the moment Mija (her full name is Mija Locita Conchita Del Toro) is my little angel and she is truly something special! She is unlike any pet I've ever had and I've had many throughout my life. She was a rescue dog who, after being abandoned as a puppy and spent her first three months of life in a Welsh pound. She was rescued by The Pound Puppy Rescue with only 3 days to go before they were going to put her down. I saw her photo on the internet and quickly fell in love. I made a phone call as soon as I could and before we knew it, we were on our way down to adopt her. That was February 14th, 2003... she was my Valentines gift from my husband!
Mija is now the WOWBOW figurehead as well as my constant companion, product tester and muse!
You can find out more about WowBow from their web site at www.wowbow.co.uk