“Pet owners are always shopping in this category,” said Bruce Haas co-owner of Tails In The City boutique in Chicago. “For most of our customers purchases are about keeping up with the latest fashion colors and simply spoiling their pet by increasing their personal selection of collars and leashes. It’s more about a color fashion wardrobe than simply the need for something new.
It’s also a way of constantly generating sales.
“A new collar requires a matching leash and we recommend a color-matching ID tag too,” he said. “Most of our customers realize the benefits of having identification for every collar rather than having to deal with the hassle of switching out every time you change collars.”
Petmate has released a large selection of new products in this category both under the Petmate and the Aspen Pet labels.
“Consumers are being drawn to innovative designs and more fashionable, brighter color palettes,” said Emilye Schmale, manager of corporate communications for the company. “Fashion has become the number one driver in collar and lead selection, and our new collections reflect some of the hottest trends in both home décor and fashion.”
“There is no question that consumers are conscious of attributes such as secure fasteners, reinforced stitching and overall durability,” Schmale said.
When it comes to combining materials, Petmate has produced rubber collars in vibrant colors backed with durable webbing, others feature an embroidered ribbon overlay. Their new reflective sport mesh dog collars and matching leads have a patent-pending, easy-release buckle in two-tone colors and are padded for additional comfort.
New from Cetacea is what Sean St. Cin, vice president of sales, described as the company’s “traffic/drag-free leashes” made from a tubular webbing with a self-contracting coil. It has a side buckle which allows the dog owner to reduce a four-foot leash down to less than a foot in order to have full control of the dog in heavy traffic situations.
“We added a large rubber handle for a really comfortable grip and the stitching on the leash is polyester which is more durable than nylon,” he said. “There are collars to match the leash, which is available in a variety of colors such as purple, orange, white, black, red and green.
The Gunmetal Collection of collars, leashes and harnesses from Hamilton Pet Products compliments all dog coat colors. They are made from a durable vinyl with secure metal closures and a logo accent. The range is available in gemstone colors such as amethyst, jade, rose and moonstone and comes in all sizes from extra small through large.
New, Old Favorites
When it comes to innovative designs, the focus is on convenience and versatility and this sums up the Reflect and Protect Quantum Leash from Kurgo, a multi-purpose leash that transforms from a traditional hand-held leash into a hands-free leash for convenient walking, jogging and hiking. It can also be used to walk multiple dogs and works well as a training leash too.
According to Sharon Romero, designer and president of the New York-based company Around the Collar, top quality imported Italian leather embellished with Swarovski crystals and studs continues to be a perennial favorite for both big and small dogs.
“Swarovski crystals falls into the classic and timeless category,” said Romero. “Another perennial is the biker chic look. We have used crystals to ‘soften’ the hardcore stud and spiked look. Traditionally, this look was all about black collars. But now it’s very popular on all colors including pastel pink, blue and lemon.
As for the top accent colors, Romero is predicting pewter and gold and that includes rose gold – a popular color in human jewelry and fashion accessories that is fast becoming ideal for all seasons.
When it comes to retractable leashes, flexi, the originators of this design are showcasing their new Vario System, which allows the user to add a lot of accessories to the leash such as a the LED Lighting System for evening walks with a dog, and the MultiBox for waste bags or treats.
“Each accessory attaches conveniently to your flexi leash,” said Manfred Bogdahn, founder and chief operating officer of flexi. “Such add-ons make the line a very complete and comprehensive leash system.”