California Collar Co. is a small artisan-run business located in Los Angeles which specializes in handmade leather dog collars, leashes, harnesses and dog accessories. Rilee, the owner, runs a dog boutique in Burbank where the gear is made, displays many different styles of her work and gives you a look into her workshop. A very sweet, nice person, she takes the time to talk to you and discuss your ideas of the perfect collar for your dog and makes your dog’s new collar very special and unique. We are so glad that we found this young team of artists with a big heart for rescue dogs – Rilee supports local shelters and is a big fan of Pit Bulls – as well as excellent customer service!
Packpeople love the collars Rilee and her team creates – we decided to go with the Isabella Leather Design with light green crystals for Samson, Lilly, Red and Ringo. We also recommend the Leather Cafe Lead. We’re excited to share with you her answers and insights.
California Collar Co. – Dog Boutique located in Los Angeles
Facebook: California Collar Company
This is a very unique online shop with customized collars, leashes, harnesses for dogs. Tell us about your products. What do you offer?
– We specialize in handmade leather goods for dogs, including collars, harnesses, leashes, multi-function leads and ID holders. Most of our products come with several leather, lining and hardware choices. With so many options to choose from, we’ve got something to suit just about anyone’s style.
When did you open your workshop here in Burbank and when did you launch your website http://californiacollarco.com?
– We opened our North Hollywood workshop in August, 2010 and our online shop was started back in 2008.
Why did you choose to start a pet business?
– I’m pretty sure this business chose me! I started out making things for my own dogs and everything just kind of took off from there.
Are your products carried only in the US, or they available worldwide?
– Our products are available worldwide through our website. We’ll ship anywhere you can imagine and have served customers from Denmark to New Zealand and just about everywhere in between.
What kind of materials do you use?
– We use 100% vegetable tanned English Bridle Leather for the foundation of our products. The hardware we use is either solid brass or stainless steel, and many of our collars and harnesses can be lined with super soft lambskin leather. We also carry about 40 different shades of Swarovski crystals for those who feel like getting a little fancy.
What inspired you to create this workshop? What kind of feedback are you getting from people?
– I feel like we’ve all become a bit disconnected from the things we buy, so I wanted to create a place where people could see where their dog gear is made and meet the people who actually make it. And after a couple of years of selling online, I really wanted to be able to interact with my customers on a more personal level. One of my very favorite things about the workshop is meeting everyone and hearing about how they met their dogs. It’s pretty amazing to see the effect a dog can have on someone’s life.
Why do you think there has been such an increase in demand for luxury pet products over the last ten years?
– I’m not quite sure about that, actually. My own dogs sleep on moving blankets and still eat out of the same plain steel bowls they’ve had for years, but I think collars are a little different. Every dog needs one and since it’s literally the only accessory they wear all day every day, why not make it a good one?
You carry a wide range of stylish products. What would you consider the most unique items you sell?
– I think the most unique items we sell would be our large breed dog collars. It can be difficult to find collars that are strong enough to handle the antics of a large breed dog while still serving up a healthy dose of style.
Do you offer a warranty on your products?
– We sure do. All of our products come with a lifetime structural guarantee. If any buckles, rivets or d-rings fail or the leather itself splits or breaks from material defect, we’ll repair it for free. If any spots, nameplates or ornaments come loose or fall off, we’ll fix those at no charge as well.
What sets your dog boutique apart from the others?
– The main difference between our shop and more conventional dog boutiques is that we make all of our products from scratch on site. Our customers can see the materials we use and can even choose their own custom color schemes. The workshop setting also allows us to give our customers more personalized attention than they’d normally find in a regular pet supply store.
Can you tell me a little bit more about the collar collections? What kind of collars do you offer?
– Our designs are inspired by the types of collars you’d see back in the early 20th Century, the ones that were made of high grade equestrian leather and adorned with brass studs and engraved name plates. I’ve always loved how distinguished dogs looked back then. We started off specializing in leather collars for large breed dogs, but have recently released a line of collars for small to medium breed dogs as well. Most of our collars are the popular standard buckle type collars and we also carry some specialty designs such as martingales, slip collars and ID holders.
What inspires you to create these collections?
– The thing that inspires me the most is my desire to make dogs look important. It’s no secret that I’m a huge Pit Bull fan, and it’s essential to me to help convey the image of cherished companion for Pit Bulls and other maligned breeds. l want everyone to look at a dog wearing one of my designs and think, “Wow, someone must really love that dog.”
What has been the greatest challenge in growing your business?
– I’d say the biggest challenge has been trying not to grow too fast. I don’t ever want to lose the level of quality and customer service we’re known for.
What advice would you give someone about to launch a new pet related business?
– Do it because you really and truly love it. Everything else will fall into place in time.
Do you have pets of your own?
– Of course! I have two dogs, my beloved Pit Bulls Mija and Daisy. Mija has taught me so much about the breed and about dogs in general. Daisy was supposed to be a foster dog, but she decided she’d rather stay with me and my partner Raz. She is now our honorary ‘shop dog’, so expect to see her if you swing by.
You also support shelters in Los Angeles and you have a foster dog? Would you tell us a little bit about that?
– Raz and I both volunteered with Los Angeles Animal Services for about four years, which is where we came to understand the gravity of the unwanted pet situation. We’ve recently decided to turn our attention to keeping dogs from winding up in the shelter in the first place. We foster dogs from time to time, our most recent being an American Bulldog/Pit Bull mix named Santos. He spent several months at our place recovering from Demodex mange, which was so severe that he couldn’t even walk without his skin cracking open. He’s all healed up now and has since made the trek down to Austin, TX so that Reunion Rescue can find him his forever home.
Why do you think adoption from a local shelter or rescue organization is important?
– I can say from experience that adopting a rescue dog is one of the most rewarding things you can do. Here in Los Angeles, there are literally thousands of dogs available for adoption on any given day. Until we can get pet overpopulation under control, adoption is the way to go!
Are you thinking to add new products to your design line and what are your future plans?
– We’re in the midst of designing a new line of harnesses, which we’re really excited about. And there will be several new collar designs coming out within the next few weeks, all with matching leashes. We’re also looking forward to attending many LA area festivals in the coming year so we can meet more of our fellow Angelenos. So if you see us out and about, stop by and say ‘hi’!
Which websites or pet related links would you recommend to packpeople?
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