By IvyLee Rosario
For Vanessa Davis, owner of Trail Dog Outfitters, being a business owner was never about money, but about helping her four-legged family member. “In 2008 I got my Golden Retriever Taylor and after about 18 months he started to develop a lot of allergies,” said Davis. “I was starting to get burnt out with my previous business and started looking at doing something for Taylor to treat his allergies, so I opened Dirty Dog Spa where everything is all natural, shampoos, conditioners, everything.”
While researching for products to carry in her newly opened dog spa, Davis came across Trail Dog Outfitters, previously owned by a father-son duo that was located in her hometown. “I got so excited and wanted to carry their line in my store. When I contacted them they told me they were not doing anything wholesale anymore and were looking to sell the company or close it down,” said Davis. “I just loved the designs that they had already started and it was a perfect fit with the business I already had.”
Dedicated to the pet industry, Davis did some research on selling apparel and getting into the wholesale marketplace and in September 2012, she purchased Trail Dog Outfitters. “When we first put Trail Dog Outfitters in Dirty Dog Spa, I remember having people coming in and seeing their excitement and positive feedback. We have got a couple people who have one of every design so it is just so exciting to see customers asking for new designs and new product,” said Davis.
With the success of Trail Dog Outfitters, Davis has made it a point to include the community in her designs and give back whenever possible. “We do give 25 percent of our profits back to local pet rescues,” said Davis. “So anything we sell or what people purchase, if they want to give back to their community then they can select a local rescue group, otherwise we will just choose one in their area. So for anyone who does purchase, they know it is going back to their community.” Trail Dog Outfitters recently underwent a change to its design as new ones are being added every few months, as well as retiring some of the older designs. The company is now offering brighter colored t-shirts per the customers’ requests and is even taking suggestions on improvement.
“The chilidog was one of our most recent designs and I did that one for a chili cook-off and they had commissioned something just for the cook-off. We have got something called paw fore, which is a golfing dog. We are playing with the title still, but we are working on a triathlon dog and you are going to be seeing him biking and swimming and we are actually going to have a contest naming that one,” said Davis. “We are talking with someone who wants us to do a line of sports dogs. We have the golf one so we are playing with other sport designs but that would be in the future so we are always working on new designs, new ideas.”
With the partnership of Trail Dog Outfitters and Dirty Dog Spa, Davis sees a bright future for both companies and hopes to grow in the years to come. “I probably work harder with either one of these businesses that I have before but I absolutely love it. It is so rewarding,” said Davis. “We are very involved in community organizations so everything we do, we give back.”