Business Name: Updog Boutique Website: updog-boutique.myshopify.com Established: 2019
Can you please fully explain your business or product line?
Updog Boutique is Winnipeg’s ONLY Mobile Dog Boutique. Housed in a 14-foot cargo trailer (DIY’ed by myself and my dad), we are the cutest shop on wheels. During non-Covid times, we pop up everywhere you can find a dog! Dog parks, markets, events, fundraisers – even private parties.
We focus on a curated range of dog products – from treats to toys and everything in between! We search for products that fit into one (or all) of the following categories: small-batch, handmade, locally-or-Canadian made, luxury, unique. We also have a collection of in-house designed and crafted items, such as dog accessories and human apparel.
With the local maker community continuing to grow, what makes you stand out from the rest?
We love that Winnipeg has a bustling maker community, and as a boutique, we are always looking for locals to showcase in our shop! That way, when a customer supports Updog, they are supporting many other local makers as well.
What made you realize that you had a product that could be shared with others?
When we got our dog (a now-3-year-old Goldendoodle named Murtaugh), we did a FAIR AMOUNT of shopping for him and found that a lot of the box stores had the exact same inventory of toys and treats. We spent some time online looking at all of the amazing, unique, boutique-y items available in the world (spoiler alert: there is a LOT) and while we were tempted to spend our life savings on bandanas and fun toys, we were hesitant to drop a ton on shipping, duties, tax etc., so I decided to bring them in myself, so the Dog Moms and Dads of Winnipeg could find these items locally.
What has been your biggest success as a maker? Biggest struggle you’ve overcome?
We are still working on bigger and bigger successes, but launching the boutique and surviving a summer of towing a trailer full of dog things to over fifty local events, and meeting a lot of local crazy dog people was one of the best experiences!
One of our biggest struggles has been the pivot to online sales once Covid struck. We love seeing our pupstomers in person, and we find a lot of our collections are the types of things people want to see, pick up, turn over, and inspect before purchasing.
Our die-hard Updog fans have followed us online and keep us hopping with free delivery a few days a week, and we are SUPER grateful for that sales channel, but we really just want to pack up your shopping bags while getting puppy kisses from your dogs!
Any advice that you would tell someone hoping to start up their own business or product line?
Do your research, have a plan, become a jack of all trades. In this day and age of virtual marketing, it’s not enough to just have a great product – you need to become an expert at showcasing it to your customers. We spend more time on planning and marketing than we do on any other aspect of the Boutique.
Please share any upcoming events (physical events, virtual sales, etc.) that you think Winnipeggers would be interested in!
We are hoping to have an in-person pop up for the Holiday season – or an online pop-up, if Ms. Rona is still around. Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to be the first to know!