We get to look behind the scenes of this latest gem from the world of dog accessories. Having just launched their first collection of handmade and ultra elegant leather products, Marie and Azul talk about the sleepless nights of starting out their own business.
Azul and Marie, you founded dog brand Unleash in Montreal – and managed to unleash yourselves in the process. How did it all start?
We are first and foremost best friends. Both of us held demanding media jobs and were working non-stop, so we both felt in need of drastic change. We wanted to “Unleash ourselves” as we like to say!
The idea came from a combination of need and want. We both knew we wanted to start our own business, to create a more flexible and rewarding future in terms of work. We both knew it needed to be a company that had a place to create, to give back and to grow. And well, we are both the biggest animal people we know so really, the lack of products in the industry that pleased our taste, was only a small part of why we decided to create ‘’UNLEASH”.
I mean who in their right mind wouldn’t want to ‘bring your dog to work every day’ right?
What inspires you?
Truthfully, as cliché as it might sound, we are really inspired by the nonchalant way in which our dogs live their lives. In this busy world we live in, we tend to overanalyse, forget to take time and prioritize what maybe shouldn’t be. And we are always amazed at how our pets enjoy the simplest things. It’s unconditional and honest.
When designing our products, we wanted to bring this idea that beauty is simple and that functionality can be as practical as it can be elegant. A merge between style and purpose with the intention of enhancing daily walks with a touch of sophistication.
How have the first few months been for you?
No, but really, it’s funny how you can quit a 40 h/week job to start your business and work double as much! If it wasn’t for our dedication to our beloved brand and the curiosity that keeps pushing us to always go out there, I am sure the first months would have been quite harder.
Obviously, our professional backgrounds have helped with the day-to-day work, but neither of us had ever produced a physical object before. That was quite a challenge! Now that that has been dealt with, we get to do what we do best, which focused around, design and marketing.
You produce your items in Spain. Tell us a bit more about the craft that goes into each item.
It was essential for us to find a production partner with whom we could establish a long-term relationship. Trust me, Spain was definitely not the first place we tried! After a few attempts, a few samples here and there, we woke up one day and got on a plane to Madrid. It took us 7 hours, driving through tiny winding roads before we got to the small village where our products are now handmade.
We completely fell in love with the people of Andalucía. They welcomed us with open arms, not only into their workshop but also into their families. We were invited to visit their workshops, meet everyone who works there and really get a feel for things. The expertise was passed along the generations and some of the old tools are still used today.
Looking back, we would have never guessed how much work really goes into each of our products. Let me tell you that painting the full length of a leash with a contrasting colour is definitely not something easy! They really took time to explain it all to us and we cannot wait to go back and develop our second collection soon.
And finally…if a dog owner walked up to you asking for your advice on how to pamper their pooch and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
Our dogs are the happiest outside, exploring and sniffing it all!!! Let them run free…with an UNLEASH necklace around their necks obviously ;P
A select range of items are now available in our store.
Thanks for talking to us and good luck to you; we hope you’ll make those dogs roar.