An Okanagan boy has created his own dog collar and accessory business through the love of his Boston terrier.
Twelve-year-old Vernon resident Hudson Fairlie started designing cotton collars earlier for his dog, Jax. Due to synthetic collars, Jax’s neck was raw and losing all the hair. With the help of his mother, Sandra, who is a seamstress and has her own small business, Hudson was able to provide relief for Jax and Woof Wear was born.
Hudson has always been the creative type. He started using his mom’s sewing machine when he was just three years old sewing little crafty things and learning how to use the machine. As he got older, his interest started to fade. However, because of his best friend Jax’s allergies, he began using the machine once again.
“Because we were having issues with Jax being allergic to synthetic collars, he just decided he could make one and looked up ideas on the internet and went for it,” Sandra said.
Sandra ordered some hardware to help him make a few collars, which were originally only for Jax. However, the finished product and reaction that followed led to a business idea.
“When he finished them, they looked so cute,” Sandra said. “Grandma and neighbours were like ‘wow’ and said he did a really good job and should try selling them.”
With encouragement and help from his mom, Hudson set up Etsy and Facebook Marketplace pages and listed a few of the collars. Within that first week, he received over 30 orders.
“So many people, everybody local, supported him,” Sandra said. “He was just super excited about that.”
Etsy has listing and transaction fees, so Sandra thought it would be a good idea to make a website to sell the collars. After all, she did have experience with creating one before, having made one for her own handmade baby product business. The Woof Wear website has allowed Hudson to keep more of the profits and has helped with exposure for the brand as well.
“Locally, people are just so great, especially when they know it’s a kid,” Sandra said. “I wish it was that easy when I first started my business.”
A usually shy and quiet kid, Hudson’s entrepreneurial spirit has allowed him to flourish and explore outside of his comfort zone by opening new experiences.
He met a few other kids online locally who are also little entrepreneurs, and they helped encourage him because he is shy, Sandra explained. They encouraged him to come out to the Lake Country Spring Market, which was the first market he was a part of.
Sandra’s influence through the 25,000 followers of her business on TikTok and Facebook has helped grow Woof Wear. Aside from the Okanagan, Hudson has been receiving orders from coast to coast. Orders have come in from Alberta and Ontario, and even from the U.S. in Texas and Michigan.
Hudson also creates and sells cat collars and other pet accessories such as leashes and bows.
“The leashes have gone over really well because people like the idea of having a matching collar and leash,” Sandra said. “The bows have also been a big hit.”
These days, the promotion of Woof Wear has been toned down a little bit, as Hudson attends many camps during the summer. Sandra doesn’t want him to get overwhelmed with too many orders, but he will be attending more markets as the season goes on.
“I think the products he has are good for now and it’s kind of seeing how it goes,” she said. “He just keeps getting more and more excited about it and wanting to add more things.”