A story of a local business leaving Huntington Beach is typically not filed under golden success, but in the case of Pamela Trainer Berry and her designer dog accessory company, Lola & Foxy, it is. Trainer Berry first began hand sewing dog collars in Huntington Beach in early 2006 when a store-bought collar failed to meet the high standards of her ridgeback Lola. Today she still hand sews her products, only she does so from her Anaheim warehouse and ships them across the globe.
"She just stole my heart," the Chicago native says of 9-year-old Lola, who accompanied her master on countless orthotist and prosthetist house calls during her puppy days. In Trainer Berry's former life, she worked with children, sewing ribbons on their obtrusive orthopedic braces. "By sewing fun ribbons to the straps, the kids were able to identify with their brace and possibly like to wear them," says Trainer Berry. Not only do kids favor her handiwork, canines do, too.
When Trainer Berry and Lola found a new dog collar to be far inferior in quality, Trainer Berry researched how to build a collar that reigned supreme in craftsmanship and began making her own. "I was working during the day and sewing collars until two in the morning," she recalls of the fateful year. "And then finally I made the jump." Lola & Foxy was born, named appropriately after her beloved pup and rescued cat. "I just found my calling," says the successful entrepreneur.
In the early days, Trainer Berry worked from her home, sourcing all materials for her pet collars, leads and harnesses domestically, assembling each product by hand and hand sewing the nylon ribbon collars. Flash forward five years, and Trainer Berry's team has grown to an industrious team of three who produce thousands of dog wearables annually from the Lola & Foxy warehouse in Anaheim. Make that five, as Lola and Stella, Trainer Berry's 7-year-old ridgeback, head up modeling, design and sales.
The move wasn't personal, HB. It was simple: The company was booming and needed the space to do so.
Lola & Foxy products score a perfect 10 in the adorable factor, with designs ranging from polka dots to seashells to dinosaurs to festive candy cane stripes. Collars, martingdale collars, harnesses and leashes come in all sizes, and the company touts itself as the producer of the "smallest, lightest weight teacup harness on the market," Trainer Berry tells us, adding that the accessory is made out of velvet and the smallest hardware available. "I can fit one on Lola's nose," says Trainer Berry, laughing.
All product materials are still sourced from the U.S., except for the leather collars, which hail from Argentina, and the charms, which are made in China.
Speaking of international countries, Lola & Foxy boutiques have popped up throughout the world, in countries like Denmark, Japan, England, Canada and Germany. "It's kind of fun to send them out there," says Trainer Berry. But her business still remains local, with Lola & Foxy's flowery collars and studded harnesses stocking the shelves at Animalia in HB, Roger's Gardens in Corona Del Mar, Doggie Styles in Beverly Hills and Pet Foods Market in Manhattan Beach.
While Trainer Berry still rolls up her sleeves in every aspect of the business, she focuses her time on building lasting relationships and friendships with business partners. The mother of two (or five if you include both dogs and the turtle) plans to return to the trade show route in the summer of 2014, as well as maintain impeccable quality in her work.
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