By AML Publisher
Photos courtesy of April Ziegler Photography
Burberry meets houndstooth, a row of powder pink owls pair up with a robin’s egg blue background, comical turtles with silly expressions dance on a crisp white fabric. Sounds like a sampling from a chic Main Line baby boutique-but in actuality its part of the preppy, fashion forward selection of dog collars from Big Doggy Bling. A Medford, New Jersey based online company, Pam Scherzer’s dog leashes are catching on as one the hottest pet products on the East Coast-and throughout the country. “I received a tweet the other day from a producer from the Oprah Winfrey show; she ordered some collars from me. That was pretty cool! I love my patterns and selection and I work really hard with the line so it was very exciting for me. Of course, when I shipped out the order I put a few extra collars in the mix for Oprah to check out. So, we shall see,” enthused Scherzer.
A very exciting ‘tweet’ considering Big Doggy Bling (www.bigdoggybling.com) has been hand sewing super sophisticated dog leashes, collars and harnesses for just over two years. In an extremely competitive industry of pet products, Scherzer decided to start offering collars for bigger dogs because of a void in the market. “I’m a crafty person naturally and I just decided to make custom collars for my own dogs because I could not find anything I really liked. And, what was out there was way too cutesy and they all fit the tiny, lap dogs. There are plenty of companies producing for those breeds but not too many catering to Bulldogs and the larger guys and gals,” explained Scherzer.
Scherzer, a Haddon Township native, offers harnesses and collars for all dogs, any size or shape. Her individually chosen patterns are preppy, pretty and functional. Big Doggy Bling carries martingale collars among their product line, which are “limited slip” collars that are especially useful for dogs whose neck and head are about the same width, like Bulldogs or Greyhounds. Pam’s newest style of leash is called a quick grab-designed with a separate loop (16-20 inches from the dog’s neck) attached to bring your dog back to you or out of danger. Scherzer says they are replacing the cumbersome retractable leashes and offer a more owner-friendly design than wrapping a leash around your wrist.
BigDoggyBling.com is an Etsy-based site. A phenomenally successful online marketplace model for handmade good and vintage clothes since their inception in 2005, Etsy has assisted over 100,000 sellers across the globe to open online shops. Scherzer says the Etsy model has been instrumental to the success of her web-based, custom business. “It’s awesome. Etsy has workshops online to help you when you just get started; I interact with other owners via their chat rooms. Etsy is like a friendly neighborhood, they have member driven discussions broken into categories! It’s a real community of artistic, entrepreneurial people growing their business online together,” said Scherzer.
Scherzer is the original founder of the Mid-Atlantic Bullyfest (recently highlighted on AroundMainLine.com) and is very active with New Jersey’s HeavenSent Bulldog Rescue. Twenty percent of her proceeds go directly to HeavenSent’s ongoing efforts to foster and place bulldogs across the country. “Foster dogs need to look good too! And, with bulldogs, having a properly fitted harness is very important to handling, training and owning these animals, explained Scherzer.
The company’s collars start at $16.99 and the harnesses price at $30 and up. Scherzer prides herself on individual consultations with her customers to find out exactly what leash style fits their dog and their needs. She will then sketch out the custom design and present it to the owner. One misconception Scherzer wants to dispel among dog owners is that a large dog does not mean bigger, long leash, in fact it’s the opposite equation. “When you have a large, strong dog you actually should be purchasing a shorter leash so you can have control of the dog. People with tiny, frou-frou dogs should have longer leashes because they are lower to the ground,” explained Scherzer.
Pam spends hours each week perusing the aisles of craft stores near her Medford, NJ home looking for specific patterns that fit a certain style. “I started my online shop because was looking for fashion forward, sophisticated collars and there was nothing out there. I have a certain look that I want to achieve and a pattern I eye up-so my brand can be easily recognized,” explained Scherzer.
Scherzer also recently paired up with AroundMainLine.com photographer April Ziegler to run a very successful promotion of her products through Ziegler’s popular photography blog, aprilziegler.com. “We had an unbelievable response. April encouraged her visitors and fans, who are for the most part animal lovers, to check out my site, choose a style and post a comment about why their favorite pooch should win a custom made color from Big Doggy Bling. The response was unprecedented, and April is very talented and giving. Her pictures of my products are just simply amazing! So, I know April and I will be working again together soon with another fun and interactive promotion,” enthused Scherzer.
Scherzer’s clever titles for her dozens of patterns are tongue-in-cheek—like her collar pattern dubbed ‘hOOters,’ which is a powder blue background with cute bubblegum pink owls. The monkey pattern (Monkey See, Monkey Do) and polka dot combos (High Tech Polka Dots) are also top sellers. Scherzer usually names her styles after the song she hears playing on the radio while she is sewing her custom products. “I like to keep things interesting and fun, my business is a lot of work but it’s something I thoroughly enjoy doing. This week I just designed a new collar called ‘More Than Words’ and of course everyone loves the palm tree leash-that’s a nod to Parrot Heads so we called it ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise.’ I have fun with what I’m creating; it’s a cool pastime and a rewarding business. Plus, there are dogs walking around sporting my collars and I know they look good and so do their proud owners,” said Scherzer.
Mention AroundMainLine.com in an email to Pam Scherzer by May 27th and receive ten percent off your purchase. Pam can be reached at: email@example.com. Twenty percent of all sales from Big Doggy Bling products will be donated to HeavenSent Bulldog Rescue. To view a complete selection of Big Doggy Bling’s boutique leash selections visit: www.bigdoggybling.com