HARNESS FASHION AND FUNCTION
The latest offerings in collars, leashes and harnesses embrace fashion trends and capitalize on quality materials.
To complement its Legacy and Vivid Collections of leather collars, ZippyPaws in Chino, Calif., introduced
leashes in the fall. Both items feature top-grain leather, supermicrofiber lining and rose-gold accents.
“We have been excited to see that fashion-conscious consumers have embraced the features and are happy
to have luxurious and high-quality designer accessories that are still very reasonably priced,” said Mark Watkins,
Also last fall, Pooch Outfitters launched a line of harnesses made of comfortable, durable fabrics chosen to
coordinate with the latest fashion trends.
“The trends for spring 2018 include lavender, dark denim, florals, plaids and pink,” said Chen-Chen Lee,
president of the Santa Monica, Calif.-based company.
The Victoria Harness is a floral-print harness adorned with rhinestones and tulle trimmings. The Cupcake
Harness features ruffles, spread collars, rhinestones and embroidery details. The Daisy Harness has floral
prints and is adorned with lace and rhinestones. The Brooks Shirt Collar and Riley Bow Tie is a dress-up collar
with detachable tie or bow tie. The Celina Harness is made of a tweed fabric with a heart print and decorated
Cycle Dog-Earth Friendly Pet Co. in Portland, Ore., recently upgraded its patented metal Latch-Lock airline-style buckle for smoother operation designed to outlast the collar’s lifetime, said president Lanette Fidrych.
Jessica Knight, director and co-founder of DOOG (Dog Owners Outdoor Gear) launched a new company,
Outback Tails, in Australia in October and plans to offer the line to U.S. retailers at Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Fla.,
this month. The line includes a leather collar and leash collection.
“The art I’ve sourced to feature in the range has all been painted by aboriginal artist Pauline Napangardi
Gallagher, who is an indigenous Australian and grandmother of 22,” Knight said. “She’s so talented, and I’m
honored to be working with her on this project.”
Not wanting to “spoil the surprise,” Eran Konorty, founder and CEO of Angel Pet Supplies in Toronto, said the
company plans to debut some new items at Global Pet Expo.
“These will include some brand-new training products—part of which have been requested by many
customers, and some of which are brand-new developments,” Konorty said.
In addition to offering new colors and conchos for its Georgygirl No-Choke Leather Harnesses, Walnut Creek,
Calif.-based Georgygirl Boutique plans to add harnesses for larger dogs in the spring. Made in the USA, the
harnesses are designed to distribute the pull of the leash evenly over a dog’s chest and shoulders so it does not
impact a dog’s trachea, according to company officials.
“We have a lot of people asking for good harnesses for larger dogs, and are working to meet this demand,”
said Carole George, owner. “We will be launching some of our new products at the America’s Family Pet Expo in
Costa Mesa, Calif. [in April].”
How to Craft an Ideal Accessories
With space at a premium, pet specialty retailers said they must build an
inventory of collars, leashes and harnesses that offers choices without
According to Eran Konorty, founder and CEO of Angel Pet Supplies in
1. DO YOUR RESEARCH
Toronto, there are “several key components at play: geographic location,
size of store, demographics and cash flow.”
With these factors in mind, experts offered tips for retailers to curate
an ideal assortment of collars, leashes and harnesses for their stores.
“Online research will show the type of products trending best for
various types of customers,” said Mark Watkins, sales manager of
Zippy Paws in Chino, Calif.
2. KNOW YOUR CUSTOMERS
“No one knows their customer better than the pet specialty retailer, and
understanding their customers’ needs helps them to build an ideal
assortment,” said Bryant Baxter, sales and marketing coordinator for
EzyDog in Sandpoint, Idaho. “For example, if running is popular in
their community, then reflective, hands-free leashes and high-perfor-
mance harnesses would be a natural match.”
For Matt Wish, vice president of Aventura Pups in Miami, the more prac-
tical items do best.
“The things that make sense are selling well,” he said.
At Portland Pet Supply in Portland, Ore., owner Nina Wung said she
does not carry lines that are very high-end.
“I price [accessories] as a consumer, not as a store owner,” she said.
“Would I pay that much for it? Quality is important and reasonably
3. KEEP IT SIMPLE
“Start with three styles in sizes that are most popular for the demographics of the store,” said Chen-Chen Lee, president of Pooch
Outfitters in Santa Monica, Calif.
In this vein, PETQuarters, which has stores in New South Wales, Australia, carries entry-level nylon and leather, mid-range and premium
options, said Shane Spruce, managing director.
4. CHASE THE RAINBOW
“Consider the full range of colors in your store,” said Alisha Navarro,
president of 2 Hounds Design in Indian Trail, N.C. “And make sure you
have both male and female designs represented.”