When Angela Infantino adopted a Great Dane x Labrador four years ago, little did she know how much her four legged friend would change her life.
While shopping for a doggy bed and other accessories, Infantino quickly realised most items available are designed for smaller dogs, with an emphasis on being cute, and she wanted something that looked good enough to be part of the home décor.
“I couldn’t find anything that was elegant and looked beautiful in my home,” she says. “So I quit my corporate job and set out to find the best artisans to create a collection of dog accessories and beds that would make people say ‘wow that’s beautiful’.”
However, finding artisans and suppliers in Australia with the skill level and machines who could make products the way she needed them to, proved harder than expected for Infantino. “I contacted over 40 businesses and wasted a lot of money on samples before I finally found someone amazing. And that was just for our Sasha collection.”
With a name inspired by her dog Molly, Infantino launched Molly Barker in October 2018 and so far feedback has been incredible.
“I guess the first thing everyone comments on, is how gorgeous our range is. They love how the colours and materials match their own fashion and home interiors.
“Their next comment is how surprised they are by the quality and functionality. The most positive feedback is directed towards our Sasha Collection which is made from Italian leather. Initially some people assume it’s not durable because it looks so elegant and they’re used to synthetic materials. We hope to use vegan options in the future, but unfortunately this industry has a long way to go in improving the material aesthetics vs durability.
“And if I can mention one more, it would have to be about our dog deodoriser. It’s definitely another item that people repurchase once they’ve tried it. People don’t expect dogs to smell good. So when their friends comment on how good their dog smells, they get a kick out of it.”
Molly was a shelter dog and as she has brought so much joy to Infantino’s life, it was important to her to give back where she can. And so Team Barker was born.
“Team Barker was an initiate I created before I chose the charity. I researched many charities and every one was worthy of assistance. But Assistance Dogs Australia brought me to tears after hearing how much the dogs improve the quality of life for individuals and their families. Also the fact that it costs $35,000 to train just one dog seemed so unattainable. They really need every cent.
“I think people genuinely feel good when they give back to the community. So Team Barker and #onteambarker was created to encourage our followers to be part of a good cause. A portion of profits from the sale of our t-shirts and bandanas is a way for people to show their support while owning a piece from Molly Barker.”
They plan to hold events and attend fundraisers throughout the year to further strength the community while raising as much money for supported charities as they can.
“Our first event will be on Sunday 19 May when we’ll be participating in the RSPCA Million Paws Walk. People can join our team or donate by following the link www.millionpawswalk.com.au/fundraisers/profile/view/mollybarker. Every dollar is appreciated and we’d love you to get #onteambarker!”
So what’s next for Molly Barker? “Right now I’m focused on changing the dog accessories landscape here in Australia. Dogs aren’t just members of the family, they’re an extension of us, so their style should reflect that. Once I feel we’ve achieved this, I’d love to see our business take off overseas in the US, UK and Europe where dog fashion is a way of life.
“And if all goes to plan I’d love to move to Byron Bay. Molly and I thrive on a coastal lifestyle, so that would be really special.”
By Marion Gerritsen