The following is an excerpt from “Momtrepreneurs“, an editorial piece written by Lisa Fields of Greenwich Magazine
The grande dame of our momtreprenuers showed up for our photo shoot rocking a pair of five-inch heels. In thirty-five years of marriage, Elaine has owned no fewer than eight dogs: mutts, terriers, and huskies. But it was her cavalier King Charles spaniel that inspired Elaine to create her own business. It was 2004, and her last son had just moved out, so the empty nester had more time to focus on her pooches… and that’s when she had her eureka moment. “Watching my new puppy curling up inside a pillow whenever she was tired, it occurred to me that what was missing in the pet-products market was a bed that catered to the way they sleep,” Elaine says. “The Puppy Hugger bed suits a dog’s natural instinct to make a nest — it has overstuffed ‘arms’ to hug your dog and a central floor area. No more dogs turning in frantic circles while digging a hole, usually in your bed covers or sofa cushions.” With $5,000, she fashioned a dog-bed prototype, brought it to H.H. Backer’s March 2005 pet trade show in Atlantic City and received accolades. Today, product demand ebbs and flows weekly, which wards off complacency. “Sometimes I think, things are waning, should I keep going?” Elaine says. “Other times, I get lots of work and wonder, can I handle it?”
Elaine supervises seamstresses, provides customer service and tracks finances from home. Her kids aren’t impacted by her sixty-hour weeks and in-demand products, but husband Charles is. “The ground floor of our home is covered with fabric bolts and dog beds — there’s nowhere for him to sit anymore,” she says, laughing. “But he’s my biggest cheerleader. He answers the phone and checks my books every month.”
Charles wouldn’t have it any other way. “Elaine is so engaged, so excited by this enterprise she has started,” he says. “She’s enthusiastic and innovative, always thinking of new things for the business.”
Elaine Doran of Greenwich is helping cats and dogs get a good night’s sleep.
The former London florist who came to the United States from Hong Kong with her husband, a banker, in 2005, started her business called The Puppy Hugger after noticing that her Cavalier King Charles spaniel puppy kept curling up in a neck warmer to fall asleep.
“I thought this is obviously the shape dogs like to sleep in,” she said.
Doran said she started making C-shaped dog beds out of her Greenwich home, soon after which she was getting requests for beds in various shapes and sizes. Five years later, she’s busy making eight different shapes in five sizes for dogs and cats, thus adding “& Kitty Cats Too” in small print to the name of her business.
“I’m good with colors and making things,” said Doran, whose living room, basement and part of her garage have collectively become the “studio” for her craft requiring tables, sewing machines and reams of fabric. “All the products I’ve made after the first one are because people have asked for them.”
The Puppy Hugger line includes the C-shape, square beds, rectangular beds and heart-shaped beds. There’s also a bed for two dogs called “Two’s Company,” and a bed for three canines called, of course, “Three’s a Crowd.”
For years, Izzy has slept on a dog bed gone slightly lumpy from countless nights of nesting. While she’ll curl up on it for an occasional daytime nap, she’d much more likely sprawl out on the couch or the floor. So imagine my surprise when I unpacked the Puppy Hugger Cloud Nine pet bed and my pooch Izzy curled right up on it, her head and front paws dangling adorably over the raised edge.
The only beds my dogs will sleep on are from Puppy Hugger (puppyhugger.com). Densely cushioned, double-stitched, and machine-washable, these beds are available in amazing colors and patterns to complement any home decor. The fabrics are so soft and luxurious, they’re now making throws for dog owners as well!
Excerpt from “What can we do to make our dogs friends?” by Kathy Santo
Stylish, soft, expertly manufactured and luxurious, Puppy Hugger beds are the ultimate in luxury pet bedding.
Each bed actually hugs your dog in comfort as the center is a firm hollow with slightly raised edges making your pet feel secure.
The original Puppy Hugger bed (picture on far right) is round, with rolled sides, the front a little lower than the sides and back to allow easier access for senior dogs. The round shape emulates how dogs prefer to sleep curled up. The faux fur raccoon material is simply divine. It’s soft, and doesn’t shed. They are reversible, offering different patterns on alternate sides. The crate pads and some of the beds have dimpled fabric that grips a slick surface to prevent sliding around. Moreover, as they are constructed of polyester micro-fiber, they are completely machine washable, though the medium to large sized beds are very bulky when loading the washing machine. The manufacturer suggests air drying the faux fur materials, though the other materials are fine when placed in the dryer.