This week in our Meet the Maker series, we’re staying close to home to introduce local business owner (and dog lover!) Caroline Bowers of the dog accessory brand Waggin’ Tails. If you’ve ever dreamed of marrying a side-business venture with something that brings you great joy, Caroline understands the feeling. Her vision for Waggin’ Tails was inspired by her pups, Holden and Sophie, a new sewing machine and, “a vision to make dogs even cuter than they already are.” We’d say that Caroline (and her pups) were more than successful in their dream manifestation—keep scrolling for extreme cuteness!
My day starts with:
“Puppy kisses. Always puppy kisses. Holden (insta-famous @holdenthegolden_) and Sophie follow me downstairs, watch me make my coffee and then we proceed with the puppy kisses.”
I fell in love with making goods when:
“I was little. My parents were always saying how creative I was. Even then, they would call me the “knot woman” because I could always make the coolest knots out of twine and rope. I really started making things after Christmas 2016, when I was just staring at my dog thinking “you are really cute, but I bet I could make you even cuter.” The next day I bought myself a sewing machine, taught myself to sew, and the story continues from there.”
Who or what influences or inspires your work and why?
“You probably guessed it… my dogs. Each and every bandana or bow tie is Holden and Sophie approved. I only create a product that I would be proud for all of the neighborhood dogs to see Holden and Sophie wearing.”
When I’m in my workplace, I feel:
“Inspired and excited. Every time I prepare to sew, I sit in my confetti-covered seat with one dog beside each leg. They are my cheerleaders and always have a ‘say’ in what designs I’m making.”
What’s in your toolbox as a maker?
“I’m still crankin’ away on my Singer sewing machine that I bought the day I decided I wanted to start Waggin’ Tails. Along with all of my trinkets beside my sewing machine, I have my handy dandy Osker scissors, and my Fiskars fabric cutter. Oh, and I can’t forget my Canon 6D and iMac for when I take photos of my sweet pups in their bandanas.”
What piece of your wardrobe best represents your style?
“ALL THE BLING. I love statement earrings. They can totally dress an outfit up or down, and can complete any look.”
Before starting a small business, I was told/wish someone had told me:
“You are going to be SO busy. Along with Waggin’ Tails, I am also a full time employee at a university. Finding that work/life balance is hard when I come from from my 9-5 and then proceed at Waggin’ Tails. Though it is tough, I wouldn’t change a thing. I am so proud to say that I started a small business. Oh, another thing! I wish someone would have told me how happy I would be every time I get a purchase. I literally do a happy dance every time I get that ‘ding!’ that someone just placed an order. You all are the real MVPs and keep me going.”
How does Spoonflower meet your business needs?
“In every way. When I was brainstorming about what kind of bandanas and bow ties I wanted to create, I really wanted to create something different and something SO fun. I wanted dogs to be able to stand out and be the talk of the neighborhood. Spoonflower allows me to search for the exact designs I am looking for. Pink flamingo floats? Yep! Purple confetti? You betcha. I am a huge Spoonflower fan and I can’t wait to see what designers upload next.”
What has been an important resource to you as a small business owner and why?
“Maghon Taylor from All She Wrote Notes has been a huge mentor to me over this past year. She even hand-lettered my logo! She is the happiest person you will ever meet, and her business is amazing. She has helped me steer in the right direction financially, and she is a huge inspiration overall.”
My proudest accomplishment over the last year is:
“Definitely starting this business, for sure. I launched in February of 2017 (just passed one year, yay!) and it has been the most amazing journey. When I was sitting with Holden brainstorming the idea for Waggin’ Tails, I had no idea that a year later I would be smiling back on this past year with such pride. I have met so many people and their pets and I am just so thankful. I can’t even wait to see what this next year is going to bring.”
My favorite Spoonflower textile to work with is:
“Basic Cotton Ultra because it is the perfect fabric for dogs. I know that it is good quality and that the bandanas and bow ties I make are going to hold up on adventures and in the wash. Huge fan!”
Keep up with Caroline and her furry crew by following Waggin’ Tails on Instagram. And be sure to bookmark the Waggin’ Tails website, because there is literally a themed bandana and bow tie for every dog personality!