Business Name: Barkwear By Berlin Website: www.barkwearbyberlin.com (officially launching to the public on March 16th) Established: 2021 Questions answered by: Shayna (Owner and Creator)
Can you please fully explain your business or product line?
Barkwear By Berlin specializes in handmade quality dog gear. Our first launch on March 16th will include bandanas and Canadian Tuxedos (a custom-fit coat for your dog). There will also be a lot of other products in store!
With the Winnipeg local maker community continuing to grow, what is the most important thing you’d like potential customers of your company to know?
It is important to me that potential customers know that I strive to be as sustainable as possible. There’s no question that there is a lot of waste in our world coming not only from big corporations but also from small businesses. That’s why I try to offset my carbon footprint as much as possible and inspire others to do the same.
From sourcing within Canada to having eco-friendly packaging to even creating my website through a platform that has its own initiatives to help our environment, I take all of these extra steps to ensure that I not only leave my customers happy but that I leave as little of a trace as possible.
I’d like to add that I also donate $1 from every order to Wildlife Preservation Canada. Animals play a huge role in maintaining a healthy environment and give us so much, it only makes sense to give back.
What inspired you to start your business?
My inspiration vs what my business has become are very different.
Before BBB became what it is today, my original plan was to create waterproof bandanas. As a dog mom whose furbaby thrives in the water, I wanted to make bandanas that could repel water, making them last longer. Well, it was a total fail. The material I sourced was the opposite of easy to sew and, as a first-time sewist, it was no longer an option.
Next, I opted for cotton, which is a dream to work with. With durability still in mind, and the desire to offer more than just bandanas, I decided to offer paracord collars and leashes. I ordered some paracord & hardware and made my first collar. I absolutely loved the result and the process of making it.
Fast forward to around Christmas, I couldn’t help but not feel happy with my business. It wasn’t what I had originally envisioned and I was kind of all over the place. I was trying to please others instead of myself, offering what I thought people would want instead of offering products that I was truly proud of and could stand behind.
This ultimately brought me back to the drawing board where I was inspired to do a rebrand into the new BBB that you see today. My goal is to bring people (and dogs) a variety of items that are timeless and draw in the beautiful colours in nature.
What was the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome?
Patience. I am definitely the type of person who gets an idea and wants to see it come to life ASAP. I’ve definitely challenged myself by constantly taking steps back, re-evaluating, and making smart, long-term decisions instead of quick ones with temporary results.
What has been your biggest success as a maker?
I think my biggest success as a maker is knowing that I am bringing people joy. That probably sounds extremely cheesy but I honestly couldn’t ask for a better feeling. Every time my creations make it to their new home and bring a smile to someone’s face, I feel great knowing that I succeeded in making their day.
Do you have any advice that you would pass on to someone hoping to start up their own business or product line?
Make sure you have a thorough business plan. Reach out to people, listen to podcasts, watch YouTube videos. The more educated and prepared you are before even making your first product, the easier everything else will be. Also, don’t pretend to be someone you aren’t. Let people get to know you, be genuine, and show how passionate you are. People want to know who they are supporting.
Please share any upcoming events as well as the best place(s) for people the purchase your product!
I’ll be officially opening my online shop on March 16th! You’ll be able to shop through my website and if you want to stay as up-to-date as possible, you can sign up for our mailing list or follow us on Instagram!