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TOTES Magotes: The Story of a Modern Pet Carrier and the Lil Weenie Who Inspired It

April 25, 2018 1 Comment

TOTES Magotes: The Story of a Modern Pet Carrier and the Lil Weenie Who Inspired It

The Beginning. 

Django was 10 weeks old when I skipped class at Columbia Business School, rented a neon green Ford Fiesta, and drove several hours north of the city to a Taco Bell parking lot. I cuddled Django close to my chest, grabbed a few carnitas tacos to go, and drove back to NYC with my new best buddy.

DJANGO - The Story of a Modern Pet Carrier & The Lil Weenie Who Inspired It - djangobrand.com

I took Django everywhere once he was fully vaccinated. When Django was pocket-sized, I’d slip him under my puffer coat and walk down into the subway. No one noticed the beady little eyes and tiny black nose poking out below my scarf. A few wonderful sales ladies at Cole Haan once took turns cradling and fawning over a smiling baby Django as I tried on winter boots. When Django was a few months older, we’d ride into Greenwich Village, grab a latte on Waverly Place, and practice ‘heeling’ down 6th Avenue as passersby smiled at Django with fondness.

The Idea.

Once Django grew bigger, I started transporting him in this hideous beach bag of mine – a bright green potato sack that I got for free at a work-sponsored golf event. The bag had zero structure, so Django would sink to the bottom unless I propped him up with two folded bath towels. Django would crane his neck to get a better view from the bag, sometimes putting pressure on his neck until I readjusted the bath towels.

I knew pet-friendly totes existed. I had searched extensively for one that fit my style, taste and budget… but I never found anything I loved. Either the bag was affordable ($50 and under) but cheaply made, flimsy and unstylish… or it was extremely basic in style and function and grossly overpriced.

So I started designing my ideal pet carrier.

The Design.

I spent well over a month in early 2016 researching existing pet carriers, learning about materials, documenting key features, and reading every customer review ever posted online. What did dog owners like and dislike about their pet carrier? What features were missing, and which ones would they improve? If you want to know passion, spend a few minutes reading negative customer reviews on Amazon…

I also poured over the most popular travel bags and handbags outside of the pet space. Why were certain travel totes and duffel bags more popular than others? What tote bags were the best sellers at Nordstom, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus, and why? What features and functions were most highly valued and aesthetically pleasing?

I began sketching my ideal pet carrier, quickly realized I had no idea how to draw, and hired a graphic artist to put my ideas on paper.

DJANGO - The Story of a Modern Pet Carrier & The Lil Weenie Who Inspired It - djangobrand.com

Taking a Break.

I put my pet carrier dream on hold for the remainder of 2016 and didn’t revisit the design until early 2017. The complexity of the carrier and cost of bringing it to life were extremely intimidating.

DJANGO officially launched in late 2016 with our Reversible Pufferan Amazon best seller, and The Classic Hoodie. These two items were my gateway into the world of product design, materials sourcing and manufacturing. For the first time I learned how to find, vet, and deal with reputable manufacturers around the globe. I learned what materials to use and why, and how to design a product that will last season after season - while I respect the industry, I’ve never been a fan of ‘fast fashion’.

Making It Happen.

I revisited my pet carrier design in mid 2017. DJANGO started receiving some really great press by then, and sales had picked up nicely. I was finally comfortable bringing a more complex and costly product to market.

After weeks of contacting and interviewing manufacturers, I stumbled across an incredibly well regarded company in southeastern China. This supplier works with some of the largest and most respected bag brands in the US and Europe. They were also open to working with us, a small but growing pet company with a modest budget (relative to mature, high volume brand like Hershel and Michael Kors).

Throughout the second half of 2017, I fine-tuned the design with our new manufacturing partner.

We sampled various weights of canvas to determine which was most suitable for our design (we proceeded with 20 oz. canvas). We tested waxed and non-waxed cotton canvas prototypes. Waxing provides a layer of protection from rain, moisture and time. Staying true to DJANGO's goal of offering weather-resistant dog gear, we proceeded with waxed cotton canvas for the final design. That was an easy decision.

I also spent months testing various handle styles to maximize carrying comfort. Django and I would go for long early morning “walks” around Philadelphia – I’d put him in the latest bag prototype and carry him around on my bare shoulder to test the feel of the bag. We ultimately upgraded our leather twice to ensure max comfort against one’s shoulder and arm.

Introducing (drumroll please) THE DOG CARRY BAG.

After a year of designing, testing, redesigning, and retesting… we are thrilled to introduce The Dog Carry Bag! DJANGO's newest design is beautifully constructed waxed canvas and leather dog carrier featuring a silky water-resistant lining, a tether to ensure your pup's safety, a machine washable sherpa footpad sleeve, and 4 zipper pockets to secure your essentials.

The pet tote is absolutely stunning, and we owe a lot of thanks to our amazing (and patient) manufacturing partner who worked with us over many months as we kept saying, “Nope, IT CAN BE BETTER!”. Scroll down to see all the key features of The Dog Carry Bag.

Now available for pre-order in Olive Green, Navy Blue and Black.

* View The Dog Carry Bag Collection * 

DJANGO Metro Pet Tote Waxed Cavnas and Leather and Nylon Dog Travel Carrier - djangobrand.com

THE METRO PET TOTE - WAXED CANVAS & LEATHER DOG CARRY BAG - Black
DJANGO Metro Pet Tote - Waxed Canvas and Leather Pet Carrier and Travel Tote for Dogs - djangobrand.comDJANGO Metro Pet Tote Waxed Canvas and Leather Dog Travel Bag - djangobrand.com

 





1 Response

Robin Medina
Robin Medina

April 19, 2018

Terrific back story of a well thought-out and marvelous product! Love the place where the dog’s head goes. I admire how you did such deep dive research into your quest, put it down for some time but didn’t let it go. You picked it back up and succeeded. I hope you sell many bags! And Django was such a love bug as a puppy. What a terrific lady you are to go to the lengths you did to give him an amazing life and home. This world is broken and hurting; people like you make it the sparkly, crystal sugar top on the comforting creme brûlée dessert of life. ❤️ #neverstopbeingwonderful

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