Shop Local: Stoke Newington entrepreneur launches dog accessory business
- Credit: Seth Boateng
A Stoke Newington man has used furlough time during the coronavirus pandemic to harness his passion and start his first business.
Co-founder Seth Boateng, 33, had a fear of dogs before meeting his girlfriend Charlotte Valkeniers, 32, and her French bulldog Hugo.
However, together they have now launched Reign Dog, an online shop for hounds.
“Hugo is definitely the inspiration, he was the catalyst, he’s the centre of what our brand is,” said Seth.
The couple had been struggling to find accessories that were both practical and fun.
“A lot of the dog items out there at the moment are bland and a bit boring and just very functional,” said Seth. “After doing a bit of research and going into pet stores, I realised this was a common theme.”
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Furloughed from his job at a merchandising company during the coronavirus pandemic, Seth set to work on Reign Dog’s collections, all of which are designed around classic dog character traits that the couple hope will resonate with other owners: Silly Billy, Melon Felon, Smooth Criminal, Undercover Lover and Wild Thing.
“Throughout coronavirus, it’s something that has been really helpful for me. It gave me a focus to my everyday activity. The business and its future success was at the heart of my existence,” Seth said.
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Owners can also twin with their dogs, thanks to the human accessory range. A "My dog is better than your dog" jumper even outsold the dog accessories when the website launched in November.
Scrunchies and bum-bags that match with the dog leads and harnesses are also available.
“We want the experience to be loved by everyone,” said Seth. “We’ve gone the extra mile.”
The harnesses are made from breathable mesh to keep fluffier dogs cool, leads have handle padding for dog-walker comfort and the dog beds are made from memory foam.
“The dream is to definitely do it full time, I’ve always wanted to be a business owner,” said Seth. “Charlotte established her own jewellery business and she filled me with so much confidence about being able to do it. She was the driving force behind me but is also my business partner in this venture.
"I definitely couldn’t have done this without her or Hugo.”