EP: What inspired you to start Furkids Closet?
NL: I remember watching my mum sewing away with her industrial machine as a child. She worked from home as a seamstress so that she could look after us while earning her keep. I have a picture of her hard at work and I always admired her commitment towards family and work. This of course did not turn me into a seamstress but somewhat called forth the passion in me. Dogs, fashion, designs, sewing, it is almost innate that I should be doing what I’m doing now.
After our first Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (CKCS) died in 2006, we adopted Brownie who was abandoned by his previous owner and Kisses joined us a year later. Just as with my passed on boy, I love dressing Brownie and Kisses.
I remember a very disappointing online purchase experience when I bought a tuxedo for Brownie for a Christmas party. The stitches were very messy and some even falling apart so I had to undo almost the whole thing to fix it. At the same time, Brownie’s weight and size were growing exponentially and it was difficult to get clothes for big dogs in Singapore. It was also awkward because Brownie’s oversized for his breed- bigger than the medium, smaller than the large. In contrast to Brownie, Kisses is smaller than most standard CKCS. The frustration in getting my babies the right clothes got me started designing and making my own from old T-shirts which received great compliments! Confidence started to grow and I decided I should embark on this new journey.
EP: How long have you been in business?
NL: I started selling on Etsy in 2009, it has been 3 years now.
NL: Being a perfectionist and having an engineering background, a one millimeter difference is usually magnified in my eyes. Proportion of every tie and collar are carefully calculated to best fit each pet according to their size and breed. Also my designs are usually very “human,” my dogs are my family members and I only let them wear what’s comfortable and could be imagined on any human. Each design must look good on my dogs before I list and offer it to my customers. I handle each and every process- from designing, choosing of fabrics, ironing of interface, sewing, packing and sending the completed product to the post office- personally. I guess this perseverance and my aesthetic sense are the unique mechanisms of my business.
EP: What can customers expect from Furkids Closet?
NL: Other than my “human” designs, I really would like my customers to feel the love and passion I have in making that special collar for their furkids.
EP: Where do you draw inspiration from? What inspires you?
NL: My happy foursome; Brownie, Kisses, Magnum and Baby Haagen! My mum also gives me lots of ideas! She has taught me many sewing tactics that she has developed over years of accumulated experiences. Some come from reading fashion magazines too!
NL: A pet lover who is usually also a wedded-to-be. They usually request a custom order to match their wedding theme colors. Also, anyone who simply likes their furkids to look good!
EP: What are some unexpected ways clients have used your creations?
NL: Not quite the way of usage but rather the purpose. I have sold and donated several items for charity auctions and I thought that was really meaningful.
EP: Have you made items for pets other than cats and dogs? If so, what kind?
NL: A Donkey! His neck is thicker than my waist!
EP: What do you like about being an Etsy shop owner?
NL: Etsy shoppers are usually people who appreciate handmade designs. This really spurs me on and I totally feel encouraged to continue what I do.
EP: Other than your business, what are your favorite Etsy shops?
NL: There are too many talented artists and designers on Etsy. I usually shop for clothing and accessories. Just to name a few BetterStayTogether, SingingSlowly and Reddoll.
EP: What have you discovered about pet owners that you didn’t know before opening Furkids Closet?
NL: As it is summer all year round here in Singapore, we do not dress our pets very often. After opening Furkids Closet, I realized many pet lovers across the globe dress their pets on every possible occasion from Valentine’s Day, Independence Day to Halloween and their pet’s birthday! I’m now somewhat influenced by that and dress my pets on every chance, sometimes even simply when a friend visits.
EP: Do you have any advice for Event Passion brides who want to include a pet in their wedding?
NL: While you could not expect everyone on your guest list to be a pet lover, make sure at least no one is afraid of your pet or is allergic to them. Otherwise, don’t be too jealous when they steal your show :-P
NL: It has to be my reversible shirt collar which is uniquely my original design, that hasn’t been seen anywhere else.
EP: What’s your event passion? Tell us why.
NL: Weddings, which truly signify the union of two individuals who transcend their differences to become one. It is heartwarming to see the couple receive blessings from their loved ones.
EP: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
NL: Please adopt and sterilize your pet to help reduce animals’ overpopulation and pets’ abandonment problems. Having a pet is not just an extra mouth to feed. It takes a lot of commitment, love and patience. They have so much to share with us and we have so much to learn from them every passing day.
Now that you know the story behindFurkids Closet and the great care put into every design, be sure to shop the site when your pet needs new gear! You and your fur kid will be happy you did.
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