700
7 min 7 sec

Dog Lover Fetches $250,000 in Canine Clothing

A Minnesota woman turns her design hobby into trendy duds for the whole family, including furry companions.
High Profit Manufacturing Product Retail

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What It's About

Matching outfits for dogs have owners going mutts!

Business Model
Product
Skills Required
Design & Marketing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
High

Words of Wisdom

Gina recommends considering motivation when it comes to their hustle ideas. "I was so unhappy at my full-time job before leaving and decided to work as hard as I needed to to make our business successful enough to pay my salary. I remember my boss said to me before I left... "Do you have any idea how many dog shirts you'd have to sell a day to pay your salary?" As you could imagine, she lit a bit of a fire under my ass :)"

Fun Fact

Excited from the reactions in L.A. and New York, Gina, Scott and Thomas (their modern mutt and the face of Dog Threads) initially tried to drum up local interest by wearing coordinated shirts from their inventory out on the town. After getting a lot of sideways looks and laughs, Gina realized that Minnesota wasn’t quite ready for furry fashion.

Notes from Chris

Episode 700
Gina Davis has always had an eye for fashion. As a design student in college, she sold vintage clothes for quick cash, and tried her hand at creating jewelry and clothing. Her favorite model was her very patient pomeranian poodle mix, Thomas. Crafting custom outfits for her furry family member seemed to be just a quirky hobby, especially in Long Lake, Minnesota, where Thomas’s trendy wardrobe stood out as an oddity.

While stitching together a new outfit for Thomas behind the counter at her women’s clothing pop-up shop, a stranger with a connection happened to stop by. This woman instantly recognized the true potential for coordinated attire and accessories for pups and their humans.

And she had a valuable connection. The woman introduced Gina to the curators of the popular Dogs of Instagram (4.3M followers), who also retail pooch apparel at their online store. Their quick request for inventory was the final nudge that Gina needed to jump all in.

With just $1,000 to invest in their new side venture, Gina and her husband Scott quickly hired a few local seamstresses and stocked the first few hundred Dog Threads shirts, ranging from extra smalls for Yorkies all the way up to a “just right” extra large for bigger hounds.

Catching up as sales took off, Gina quickly put up a rough website, ShopDogThreads.com, and her own Instagram account (@shopdogthreads, with more than 55k followers) to show off new designs and bark up demand.

More than a year into it, sales were enough that Gina took the risk and quit her day job to focus entirely on building the business. When she turned in her notice, Gina’s boss put her nerves into words: “Do you have any idea how many dog shirts you’d have to sell a day to pay your salary?”

That sparked a stubborn determination to put in the hard work and persist through the hurdles to turn their successful side hustle into her full focus. Dog Threads revenue has doubled year over year, and Gina and Scott are projecting total sales of $250,000 this year.

While Gina is grateful for the warm reception from dog owners all over the U.S., she credits her success starting slow and getting the product just right.

As true animal lovers, Gina and Scott decided early on to donate a portion of their profits to Secondhand Hounds, a Minnesota-based animal rescue. Thanks to Scott’s full-time income, they are able to put the remaining profits right back into the business, continuing to design hip sweaters, knits and button-ups for classy dogs, and their humans. Go fetch that money!

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Dog Threads: Checkout Gina and Scotts incredible lineup of dog clothing at their website.
  • @shopdogthreads: Follow Dog Thread's pawsome Instagram account with more than 55k followers.
  • Secondhand Hounds: Learn about and consider supporting this great animal rescue program.

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

cg-sig-newsletter


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Resources

CREATE YOUR ONLINE STORE

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Quote of the Day
"I think so many people have great ideas and they just can’t, you know, wrap their brain around that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Like, you gotta start somewhere, and starting is the hardest part."
—Gina Davis #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau