With a love for both the great outdoors and dogs, it was a no-brainer for Jamie and Jessica Knight to start their own pet accessories brand, DOOG back in 2007.
Being active people and loving the walks and runs with their dog Wilbur, they were looking for innovative gear that was practical and stylish. Not being able to find what they needed, the Knights decided to create their own.
Their first product, the Walkie Belt has won multiple awards for its innovation. Since then, the brand has grown to include a wide range of gear to encourage people to get out and enjoy their walk with their best friends.
“From the original walkie belt, we branched out into running belts, dog walking bags and pouches you can clip to your dog lead,” says Jessica.
“We now have a great collection of dog collars, leads and harnesses all made from wetsuit material (neoprene) and finished in bright, fashionable colours and styles. We try to inject colour, fun and style into everything we do but always want to make sure that practicality of the products is the important element of the design process.
“Our best-selling products are now our neoprene collars, leashes and harnesses. They are lightweight, great for dogs who love to swim, easy to wash and so comfortable. The bright and fashionable designs stand out in store and they are just an all-round great product for the Australian lifestyle. Our dog toys like the Stick Family and new Seal water fetch toys are really popular too.
“The most recent products to launch this summer are a really fun pop-up dog pool you can use at home to cool your dog and wash your dog in backyard or on the porch. We also just launched a super buoyant seal toy that sits upright in the water for dogs to fetch at the beach. Both will make very cool Christmas pressies for lucky dogs this summer,” she enthuses.
The humanisation of our pets has seen them become part of our family so where we go they go, what’s good for us must be good for them. Jessica says the pet industry has boomed because of this.
“People want to take their dogs on holiday, they want their pets to sleep inside with the family, eat a raw food, healthy and (even gluten free) diet. I even heard that someone in the US had started a food truck for dogs that drives around to the dog parks offering healthy treats and snacks for dogs on the go. Crazy but true!
“The raw food market has catapulted to success with dog owners wanting to feed their pets human grade, healthy meals so the innovation of freeze drying dog food has been hugely important. Also, fitness and GPS trackers for dogs are really popular right now.”
And it doesn’t stop there. While people are out and about with their furry friends they want to make sure they look stylish doing it―both the owner and the dog!
“For example, our dog walking bags come in really cute colours and patterns that you can sling around your shoulder, grab your dog and go on the school run with all your doggie essentials right where you need them.
“The introduction of hemp into the pet industry has been really popular as well with hemp based dog treats and wellness products.
“Also, I think pet owners are looking for sustainably made and socially conscious pet products. We recently launched a second brand called Outback Tails where we incorporate Indigenous art into a stunning range of dog beds, bowls and collars and leads with 10 per cent of proceeds going back to the Indigenous artists in the Central Desert. All of the toys in that line are made from sustainable, natural fibres and coloured with natural vegetable dye so are a great non-toxic toy for dogs to chew and play with,” she adds.
Technology is not just taking over our lives but that of our pets as well. Robotic ball throwers and digital screen technology that allows you to talk to your pet while you are at work to keep them company are growing in popularity.
However, DOOG tries not to encourage dog owners to use technology to keep their dogs entertained and exercised on a regular basis.
“We try to encourage people to spend quality, healthy time enjoying the great outdoors with their dog so wouldn’t ever encourage people to use technology to keep their dogs entertained and exercised on a regular basis.
“Our pets are happiest and healthiest when enjoying a fulfilling life full of interaction and daily exercise with their owners. It’s very beneficial to our pets’ mental and physical health and wellbeing.
The Knights still design all the products themselves, which keeps them in touch with the market and their customers.
“DOOG has a great customer brand loyalty after 12 years and I think we were lucky enough to get into the industry before it really boomed so have managed to have huge success in both Australia and now the US market with our products. We always listen to our customers’ needs and try and innovate with every product we design which helps make the brand so successful.”
Any tips for retailers stocking the DOOG brand? Think outside the box and create an amazing and interesting shopping experience, says Jessica.
“A lot of our retailers have created a dog walking corner or section of their store where all of our products are displayed and it gives them an amazing stand out. We also provide cardboard displays for some of our best-selling products like the Stick toys which all hang from a cardboard tree. It creates theatre in store and they look fantastic.”