Furniture maker Dogmopolitan promotes world-class lounging by Angie McKaig
In a world for dogs that's increasingly filled with luxuries like custom soaps and beds in every color of the rainbow, you will still occasionally find a company making something wonderfully unique that makes you stop and look closer. That was my feeling the first day Merry and I were surfing the web and ran across Dogmopolitan, a furniture company in California whose pet furnishings were among the most beautiful we'd ever seen.
Dogmopolitan Inc. makes chairs, sofas and chaises for dogs and was started by designer/photographer, Lex Gable and her partner, Bryan Elparin.
We recently spoke to Lex about the furniture that's turning the dog world on its head.
pp: What made you decide to start Dogmopolitan?
lg: I originally started it because I love my dogs so much and wanted to do something that included them. I also figured there has to be other people out there as crazy about their four-legged children as I am about mine and I was right.
When I saw that my dogs were rather disgruntled that I would not allow them on my new furniture, I felt bad... not bad enough to let them up on the new furniture, but bad enough to make them their own. I also was not willing to endure cluttering up my living room and bedroom with the eyesores out there masquerading as “dog beds”.
The dogs had to have somewhere to sit so, I had no choice but the make my dogs their own sofas. It was an idea that kind of came to me in the night and I just did it. I have to say I was a little shocked at the response. I'm still trying to recover. It was like a tidal wave.
pp: How many years has the company been in business?
lg: Well it was in development for a long time... in my mind. We only did our first show in July of 2002. We have actually been in business in the form it is in now, for about one year.
pp:Are your product lines carried only in the US, or they available worldwide?
lg: So far only in the US. They are Made In The USA by the way, but we hope to expand to international markets in the near future.
pp: Do you design all the furniture yourselves?
lg: I design all the furniture from beginning to end. It starts as an idea. I then draw it out from all angles and we then go into making prototypes.
pp: How do you come up with the designs?
lg: Oh, a million different ways. I draw from anything and everything I see that seems to have an interesting look to it. Sometimes it is just a feeling that something will look good a certain way and we make one and then we know for sure. Everything I see is a potential pet product. It's always on my mind and when you are looking at the world through pet colored glasses you would be surprise what you can come up with.
pp: What influences your design choices?
lg: My own personal taste is a big influence. I like things that are eyecatching. I like furniture that is a little “over the top”... I like things that really grab your attention. I haven't even begun to release all the ideas I have. My book of drawings is about a foot thick. I just sit there and look up at the stars and say: “Bring me the magic ideas”, and they come to me. They just float in from the sky.
pp: Your most popular sofa?
lg: It would have to be the benches. And as far as fabric goes, the good old leopard is still a favorite, but the red and gold runs a close second. I don't know, they are all popular with different people. We have runs on certain styles that are really weird.
pp: What's the most rewarding part of running Dogmopolitan?
lg: When people call me and they are so happy. When I hear from people who have the sofas that their dog absolutely loves it. When store owners call me and tell me stories about the people who bought my sofas and what kind of dog they have and how thrilled they were with the sofa. That makes me feel good. When I see my sofas making, not only the dogs happy, but the dog owners and the store owners too, that makes me feel great.
pp: Why do you think there has been such an increase in demand for luxury dog products over the last ten years?
lg: I can't really speak for everyone else, but as a pet owner and lover of dogs, I know that the products in the mainstream have tended to look very "mass produced" and very cheap. I think that for those of us who consider our dogs to be our children, having things for them that are as nice as the things we like for ourselves, is important. I don't want my dog to sit on something I would not want to sit on. There has been a real lack of quality items for pets and I think people were just starving for some stylish pet products.
pp: What plans do you have for the future of Dogmopolitan?
lg: We have a line of porcelain bowls with 24k gold trim. We have solid sterling silver charms and many more luxury pet products in the works. I don't want to give away all the surprises.
pp: Tell us a little about your dog(s).
lg: Dogmo, our mascot, whose real name is “Buster” (Dogmo is only his stage name), is an English Bulldog we rescued a year ago Christmas. He is a natural comic. He makes the most humorous faces and he has no idea how funny he is. I was a little put off at first with his slobbering and snoring and other objectionable habits (bulldog owners will know what I'm talking about), but the more I got to know him and came to appreciate how a day does not go by that he doesn't make me laugh. I came to love him dearly. He is so photogenic too. I love to photograph him. He has sold more sofas than I would have ever imagined.
Our other dogs are Spike and Xena, the MinPins. They are really cute too. I have been photographing them since they were puppies, so when I tell them it is time to work and I put the sofas out in the studio, they jump right on and start posing. Spike is a real character too. He was trained by one of Weatherwax's proteges (Weatherwax was the original Lassie's trainer).
Spike, my male MinPin, has won numerous trick contests and he is like a living cartoon character. He can jump over Dogmo's back. It is the funniest thing. Xena, on the other hand is a princess. She will do a trick or two if Spike is hogging the spotlight or getting more treats than she is, but in actuality, she thinks she is “above” doing tricks. She wants her treats based on her looks alone. She really believes it is all about her.
We love them all and I am so happy to be in a business where I can include them because they are the most important thing in the world to me.
Dogmopolitan creates high-fashion furnishings for your pet. For more information, visit their web site at www.dogmopolitan.com.