How did you get the idea of starting Denjo Dogs?
It all started when my Cavalier King Charles Kenzo came into my life in 2014. He instantly became a beloved family member and a vital part of my everyday life. However, I had a really hard time to find great products for our new dog life. Every dog bed I bought got burled and lost it shape within just a few weeks or even days. The collars and leashes we found were not made for best comfort, neither a stylish look. And the dog bowls were either full of cheesy messages and symbols or they were made of stainless steel with no details of form and design to fit into our home interior. This in combination with my experience from sustainability work and the interior industry made me come up with the idea to create a one-stop-shop for dog parents where you’ll find dog essentials that fit into your home and style along with being functional, made of high quality materials with a timeless design so they will last for a very long time. Thus, a place where dog parents would be able to shop dog essentials that fit into their everyday life and at the same time reduce their consumption by shopping less, but more long lasting.
From idea to reality – how did you do it?
I’ve started a few businesses before and for me it’s all about passion for your idea, the team and execution. I definitely had (and have) the passion for the idea. Since I’ve been an entrepreneur for nearly ten years I also knew the basics of how to start a business. It’s lots and lots of hard work and trials and errors. Thus, execution is part of an everyday business and something you need to practice all the time.
However, just me and Kenzo weren’t enough to execute everything and create the perfect team. I knew nothing about e-commerce and couldn’t handle any design programs. Two very crucial parts when starting a business that aims to be the most beloved global dog brand online.
So I reached out to one of the most talented designers I know – Robin. He hadn’t only created amazing graphic concepts and product designs, I also knew he’s a person with a big heart, we share the same values and he loves dogs. Luckily, he got as excited over the idea as I was and became co-founder. About 8 months after we had committed to do this, we launched denjodogs.com. It was Dec 1st 2017. Less than a year later, we managed to expand our team by including a dog psychologist and a dog panel consisting of 15 completely different dogs and their parents.
Why is sustainability an important part of your work and how do you work with it?
Green is one of Denjo Dogs core values. Love and Trust is the other values Denjo are being built upon. When we live in a world where unconscious consumption is destroying the planet this is a must for all businesses to incorporate in their business model. As a dog mom I love being out in the nature and I want to do my best to contribute to a well being planet where both humans and animals can live under healthy conditions.
We’re aware of that our business also contributes to consumption. Since the dog industry is huge and are growing very quickly we believe in making a difference and impact instead of hoping for an industry that will die. Dogs are beloved family member so I don’t believe this would happen. Instead, by working with sustainable materials, sustainable production, educate our consumers and encourage to shop less and choose well we believe we can go from this fast consumption to a more conscious long lasting one where we take care of our products and sell them on a second hand site if we don’t need them anymore. Second hand for dogs rarely exists today and I’d say it’s a lot of cheap wear and tear.
One of our projects is to introduce a standard to all our products stating how long we expect them to last under normal usage. By doing that consumers can tell which product that will be the best value over time. For instance, a bed for 3000 SEK that last for 10 years is both better for your wallet and the environment than a bed for 500 SEK that you’ll have to switch every year. In our industry it’s a strong focus on cheap prices and you can’t do that for long without making sacrifices on materials, production or similar. So the cheapest products isn’t always the cheapest in the long run, neither for you, the people around you or the planet.
What inspires you in your design?
Our dog psychologist who makes us come up with new, smart functional features. Certain brands within the furniture and fashion industries who combines sustanaible, natural materials with aesthetic design. The history behind the people, companies and dogs we meet. Simply a mix of things and people we like and admire.
What’s the vision of Denjo Dogs?
To become the most sustainable and beloved global dog brand offering dog essentials.