University of Windsor student Sara Browne received a French bulldog on her 20th birthday.
She named him Frank.
At the encouragement of her friends, Sara created an Instagram account for her new canine companion.
“I saw how massive the market was for dog accounts,” Sara recalls. “Frank has over 1,400 followers— just on his own personal Instagram page! Everyone is just trying to get noticed. So I thought, ‘What better way to get noticed than with dog jewelry?’”
Sara scoured the internet for products, but was unable to find anything lightweight or comfortable enough for Frank to wear. Leveraging her background in visual art, Sara decided to take matters into her own hands…
Frank & I Clothing Co. is a canine jewelry store that focuses on quality, style and comfort.
“When I started, I was just selling to friends and family,” Sara states. “I was making all of the jewelry myself in my bedroom. But then, whenever I would take Frank out for a walk, people would stop me and say, ‘Oh my God. Where’d you get that necklace?’ So, I made business cards and started handing those out!”
Frank & I Clothing Co. has continued to expand over the last two years. The business currently has an online store, and ships products all across Canada and into the United States.
“We currently have a line of 15 homemade dog chains as a part of our Frank & I collection,” Sara explains.
Before long, the business had grown to the point where Sara (as the only human employee) could not keep up with orders.
“I’m starting to source products elsewhere,” Sara explains. “It’s not easy! It’s hard getting in contact with people who are going to make custom products for you. And then trying to communicate what you want and when you want it.”
As well, in the wake of COVID-19, shipping continues to present an obstacle.
“Having an online business and not being able to ship anything, or having shipping take twice as long, has been a huge obstacle,” Sara admits.
“And Amazon’s two-day shipping is very unrealistic for a small business. I think a lot of customers have the expectation that their order will be arriving in two days. It’s difficult competing with such a massive company like that.”
“Windsor has really helped me start up the business.”
Fortunately, Sara’s desire to add value to her client’s lives is—for lack of a better word—dogged.
“I get tagged in photos daily by people who’ve bought my products and love them,” Sara states. “Everyone’s been extremely positive and supportive of what I’m doing.”
Sara credits Windsor and Essex County for helping her business grow.
“Windsor is very central to a lot of other cities, like Toronto and Detroit,” Sara explains. “And while not being extremely busy or extremely slow, you’re kind of in the middle. You get to test the markets all around you. And there’s a lot of craft shows and opportunities. Windsor has really helped me start up the business.”
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Michael Seguin was born with a pen in his hands and too many words floating around his skull. Since then, he’s worked tirelessly to get them out. Unfortunately, more keep taking their place. After university, he began dabbling in marketing and journalism. At the age of 26, he became the first in-house writer at Windsor Life Magazine, an esteemed local publication. As the newest member of the WEtech Alliance team, Michael is dedicated to lending a voice to the tech sector around Windsor and Chatham-Kent