Australian dog wear designer finds international success from online presence
Coolangatta, QLD Australia December 14, 2005 - What started out earlier this year as a ‘fun thing’ to do has turned into a serious business for Terranora resident Margo Plowright. Her inspiration, a small designer dog wear business called downtowndoggy, is making a big splash in the US and UK markets. The fledgling company, whose only visible presence is an Internet site, www.downtowndoggy.com, is rapidly developing into a thriving export business. The business which started just twelve months ago, now employs eight staff and cannot make products fast enough to meet the demand that now streams from the website.
The company manufactures a range of hand made, detailed products exclusively for dogs. These include dog beds, jackets, jumpers and shirts. The range of beds includes high quality chaise lounges and the Bellatutu, which was the first design to capture the attention of the US and UK market. The clothing is all hand made featuring detailed embroidery, hand dyes, screens, appliqués and vintage buttons. The latest ranges of jackets are limited edition with no two being the same.
‘Unique, luv it, inspiring’ are just some of the terms frequently used by buyers to describe Plowright’s designs. These original creations have attracted distributors seeking to represent the range in the US, Canada, UK, Germany and other EU countries.
During the day Margo designs and manages the production of the garments between the various sewers. The company’s unique range of products, are manufactured exclusively on the Gold Coast and in the Tweed area. At nighttime she will frequently cut patterns until late in the evening before going online to work with her distributors on the other side of the globe.
The internet based business has grown from online retailer, to designer, manufacturer, distributor and wholesaler. With an advertising budget of zero, search engine optimisation has paid off in spades, driving over 350 unique visitors into the online store each day, seven days a week, specifically searching for dog beds and dog clothes.
“Each month our web site traffic grows enormously. In January we had less than 100 people visit the site for the entire month. This month we will have over 7500 qualified prospects visit the store, and next month that will increase to 9000. Each and everyday I watch our numbers increase. Over half our retail sales are off shore and currently our entire wholesale business is exported.” Says Kerry Plowright, who manages the search engine traffic generation. Kerry, an internet business consultant also reluctantly helps in others ways. ‘I didn’t think I would end up with a pair of scissors in my hands, but once this doggy train got rolling it was all hands to the pumps. Its pretty exciting to watch it grow and as for the cutting, I always enjoy the challenges of success.”
Margo Plowright recently returned from the United States largest pet expo where she launched her latest range, walking away with a fist full of orders, distributors and a whole lot of enthusiasm. “In a highly competitive market, buyers are constantly seeking something that is unique in an environment plagued by lack of quality and originality.” She said. “We seem to have hit the right spot in a niche market that was desperate for some fresh ideas. And we have delivered.”
Despite the upbeat tone the business has been challenged by a shortage of skilled sewers and lack of experience in handling freight and export issues. “Getting skilled sewers is a constant effort which means we often have trouble fulfilling the orders. Freighting to all points of the globe is difficult as well, especially with the furniture. The objective is to get enough momentum to forward ship product by container instead of despatching boxes through airfreight. This would realise a real saving.” Says Margo.
Margo is now focusing on the business processe to drive out some efficiencies and hopefully greater profits. ‘These doggies are fashion conscious! They love to be seen in just the right gear. It’s all about the designer tag….just like humans. Downtown Doggy is aimed at the upmarket pooch with an eye for fashion.’ She said.
Plowright is especially excited with the impending launch of her latest range of designer leather jackets and has received an enthusiastic response from distributors.
Ranging from haute couture designs to vibrant fun, the garments are aimed at the winter markets in the northern hemisphere. Margo says she has big plans for an range of product exclusively for the Australian Pooch and looks forward to bringing out in the first quarter of 2005.
Downtowndoggy is located in Terranora, close to Tweed City in the Northern Rivers district of NSW. The company designs and manufactures dog beds and dog clothes, selling largely to the US and Europe in both retail and wholesale environments. Entering its second year of operations, the business is owned and managed by Margo Plowright who is also responsible for the designs. For further information contact Kerry Plowright at 0755904173 or email email@example.com