“About fricking time,” say Growlmama founders Caroline and Frida Denyer. But the three-year development time for the dog accessories was certainly worth it. Wunderdog chats to the team
You may have seen the Growlees dog tags on a hipster dog near you, sporting comments such as “Eau de Fox” or “The snuggle is real” on brightly coloured tags. But for Growlees founders Caroline Denyer and her Grenchie, Frida, the tags actually came after the Growlmama capsule collection began. As it turned out, the sell-out tags were easier to produce than fully stitched leather leashes and collars, made in Spain with custom hardware.
“Four years ago, when my dog Frida arrived, I was so disappointed that I couldn’t find accessories that matched my personal style, or hers for that matter,” says Caroline. “All styles were either decidedly ‘doggy’ – covered in bones and paw prints – , overtly ‘blingy’ or very country ‘twee’. Often, they are also very girly in pastels and soft knits.
“In other words, not suitable for a maniacal, bone-collecting half-Griffon, half Frenchie with attitude. Her fine set of gnashers is actually the inspiration for my logo.”
So, Caroline decided to do her own line. Wunderdog has a few more questions for her and her bad-ass sidekick.
Wunderdog: Growlmama has been going for more than three years, and you say yourself “about freaking time” with this line. Talk us through the process of making your leather dog accessories – and the life of a start-up-running dog mother.
Caroline: Growlmama can only be described as a ‘labour of dog-love’. It’s taken so long, but that’s because I wanted to create a beautiful but simple collection of the highest quality. As a new fashion business it’s so hard to find suppliers who will even entertain a discussion, let alone take a punt on a new brand with small volumes.
I had no idea that prototyping and testing would be such a long process. Nor did I realize how closed the fashion industry is about sharing their contacts. I was so lucky to have the team at Utelier on my side: they not only helped me connect with factories but pushed me forward when it all seemed a little overwhelming. Utelier, is bringing transparency to this space, and without their help I would not have found a factory patient enough to bring to life the designs I had in mind and to create the quality products that I sought. It’s been a journey, to say the least!
And Frida, how has this been for you? I see you modelled.
Frida: I am so thankful that my Growlmama has finally launched her brand, so we can have more park and less office time. (She also promised me a Chateaubriand and an escape to the beach for my patience – still waiting.)
I am slightly miffed that I was not retained as the sole spokes-model – after all, I am the muse! But at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter as I think I owned the shoot (captured by one of my favourite humans and the best dog photographer, Rachel Oates).
The collection is pared back with striking hardware. It’s very chic. Does this mean Growl-dogs have to wear sunglasses and sit on the side of catwalks?
No. Quite the opposite! Growlmama is inspired by my maniacal dog muse, Frida, who is half Brussels griffon and half French bulldog. She is 100% dog: in fact, more doggy than most. Nothing makes her happier than a roll in some fox poop and a breakfast of mud, and that’s why I love her.
Growlmama’s minimalist styling is intended to have timeless appeal to any age, gender or mutt. Be you bitzer, breed, beauty or beast – we don’t discriminate! So many dog brands are so girly, but what about the boys? I wanted Growlmama to have androgynous appeal.
If we have any limitations, it’s that we only work with materials, designers, dogs and partners whom we love. Put simply, those who share our passion for premium quality, pups (obvs.) and our ethos to always “play nicely”.
When can we expect the first full collection?
That’s a great question. Everything hinges on the success of our capsule, so please shop up or share the products you love and watch this space.