Our Company Evolves
Suzanne's line drawings and muslin (a garment mockup) have turned into patterns which have been graded for different sizes. Moving ahead.
The overwhelming size of the warehouse. Rows of industrial storage racks that are 12 feet high filled with bolts of fabric. I never could have imagined such a place existed. Suzanne is right at home. We find beautiful wools and faux fur for linings. Exhausting for me, exhilarating for Suzanne.
The manufacture of coats (Suzanne at her Mother's Singer sewing machine) has begun.
We need to test the market, so we begin visiting local Pet Boutiques both in Philadelphia and New York. The reception the coats receive is encouraging. We are selling coats during the fall and winter.
February 1996. Suzanne receives a call from Patricia McLoughlin, a writer for the Style Section of The Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine. She has heard about the coats and would like to come and interview Suzanne. We welcome the opportunity as the publication is syndicated. The interview appears in the February 4th edition. We begin to get phone calls from people who want coats. Stores that we have visited order coats. The rest of 1996 is filled with hard work, meeting with shop owners and filling orders.
We realize the need to reach a wider audience from different parts of the country. The logical solution is attending trade shows. The largest pet industry trade shows are run by H.H. Backer Associates and, as their 1997 Spring show is in Atlantic City, we take a trip to see what exhibiting would entail. It seems a bit overwhelming, but we decide that it is something we must do. The Backer Christmas Show, held in Chicago in October, is now a focus.
We are anxious and excited. The dog coat industry is still in its infancy in 1997, as evidenced by the fact that we are one of only two coat companies exhibiting. The other is from England. Most of that first show is a blur. Shop owners love our products and place orders. There is one moment, however, that we will never forget. A lovely English woman and her husband come into our booth. They love our coats and say they will be back to place an order. While talking, during their later visit, we realized that our coats were being purchased for Harrods in London! We had arrived.