Q & A with Tara Brown, Designer of Haute-dog Couture Luxury Raincoats. When it rains, Poochie Kingdom shines.

Tara Brown: What inspires me is travel and people – and, I would say myself. I do not follow the trends that are going on in the industry, whether it is a fashion runway show or another famous doggie designer. What I do is I analyze people, the cultures and different travels where I’ve been. And I put my creative mind to pencil and produce what I think would be inspirational and innovative to the industry in question.

Q: How did you get into fashion design?

TB: Very good question! I always had a passion for fashion, love for colours, design. Having worked in the retail industry for a quite a few years, leading to the corporate world [Reuters Canada]. I always said that one day, I needed to make a difference in the world of fashion and be known as a new trend-setter in haute couture fashion wear. This is where I am today, in the pooch world.

Q: Why pooches?

TB: Our inspiration for originating specialty niches in haute-couture luxury raincoats for dogs began in 2007. We had a Golden Retriever by the name of Marley, who suffered from an acute skin allergy that was provoked by his exposure to rain, snow, humidity, harsh weather elements, pollutants and other airborne irritants. As he was in evident discomfort, Marley persistently pawed and scratched patches of his skin raw, also causing him extremely unpleasant odors. He was still a good-natured pet, but we had to keep him on specialized medication for most of his 12 years.

So we then decided to go to our local retailer and acquire a raincoat. And Whammo! We noticed within a few days that the fur and his skin weren’t as irritated. But, unfortunately Marley passed away two weeks later. Now, other dog owners sympathized with Marley’s plight, and we discovered that many had been grappling with similar problems plaguing their own pets.

The styles that were currently out there in the marketplace truly did not please my palate, so that just prompted myself, as well as my husband. We’re the dynamic duo who created and launched Poochie Kingdom! We wanted to search for a long-term solution to the affliction and we explored the concept of providing a water-resistant “prêt -å-porter” coat that would not only protect the pooches out there for their skin and their fur, but also make a bold and fun fashion “Montrealized” statement in the pooch world. It’s a product that actually serves a purpose, like our slogan states: Where Fashion Meets Purpose.

Q: Describe a day in the life of Tara Brown?

TB: Oh boy, where would you like me to begin – I am a mother, I am a wife, I am in sales, and I am in PR and business development. And I’m a consultant for merchandising for my clients – cold calling, promoting, marketing, customer service. It’s 1- to-16 hour Days. It’s visiting, hands-on, with my retailers. I think my top priority is understanding the marketplace. Understanding my clients – what makes their clients tick? What’s their specialty niche? Who do they cater to? Is it small, big, high-end clients? What are the demands, what sells most for them? That’s my typical workday. That, and coming up with new ideas and innovative designs to help my clients keep coming back for more.

Q: What’s on the horizon next?

Oh god! Do you really what to know that? {Laughter} Well, there’s quite a bit on the horizon. But what I can divulge right now in the short amount of time is that we just recently launched our collection and company publicly in Orlando, which led us to great visibility on CBS News (The Early Show), which then led us to the Luxury Pet Pavilion in LA.

On the horizon in 2009, we – after great demand from our current client base and potential prospects that we’re in talks with – will be creating a fall and winter prêt-a-porter water-resistant collection that we will be launching at Pet Fashion Week in New York {August, 2009}.

I am so very, very honoured to introduce and discuss this announcement – Poochie Kingdom has now become an authorized distributor of the Romy & Jacob collection which is another Montreal-based designer here in Montreal. This completes our circle and offerings within the Poochie Kingdom world.

Q: What is your pet philosophy?

TB: My pet philosophy is that animals in general and especially dogs should be able to run through the bushes and puddles without getting their garments ruined – having a safe environment, having them pampered from A to Z. They’re part of a family. They’re my kids and I will always do everything possible in my will or design ethnics to make them the snazzy looking divas they should be!

Q: Style Icon?

TB: Oh god I have many! In the human world, I have to say it would be Tommy Hilfiger for being the trendsetter in his colours, and this is where Poochie Kingdom will be heading next. We’ve already started the buzz in the industry as being the trendsetters in haute-couture raincoats – that are hand-made, designed and manufactured here in Montreal, to encourage the local employment and the multitude talent from within.

In the pooch world, I would say my Style Icon would be Romy & Jacob. Romy & Jacob were my inspiration from the get-go!

Being a Montreal-based designer, being well-renowned as she is, has just given me the inspiration to pursue becoming just as highly renowned as she is from a global presence.


Q:Tell us about the White House, First Puppy gift basket?

TB: We were selected back in December from a PR firm [Wow! Creations] based in Los Angeles, who caught an eye on our haute- couture luxury collection. We were selected to take part in the “First Puppy Gifting,” which took place and was presented to the first family in the beginning March 09. We were in the Fushion Magazine and we did get great exposure from that. It was our major breakthrough in the market place.

For more information, please visit: www.poochiekingdom.com