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Published May 09, 2008, 12:00 AM

Bowwow bling catches on

Pets stylish in unique collars
Tina Hallada and Karen Jensen were tired of plain, boring dog collars. “We like to keep our dogs stylish,” said Jensen of West Fargo.

By: Tracy Frank, The Forum

Tina Hallada and Karen Jensen were tired of plain, boring dog collars.

“We like to keep our dogs stylish,” said Jensen of West Fargo.

Then one day last summer inspiration struck while they played with their dogs at the Fargo dog park on 45th Street.

They decided to start a business making their own collars and leashes.

It took some trial and error before they came up with the right combination of sturdy hardware, soft, stylish fabric, and sewing techniques.

“It was a very long and painful process,” Jensen said.

“Yards and yards of fabric went to waste until we finally found out the right way to do things,” said Hallada, who lives in Fargo.

After lab-testing their creations for a few months (on a Labrador Retriever named Cinder), they launched their business, BowWowzerZ.

“They’re made with four layers of fabric and four layers of interfacing. We box stitch all the seams so they don’t come undone. We use Fray Stop to stop the fabric from fraying and we also fold under the edge,” Jensen said.

Hallada and Jensen make and sell collars and leashes for cats and dogs of all sizes. They will also custom-make collars or harnesses.

They have a variety of cute and trendy styles. Prices range from $10 to $20 for collars and $25 for leashes.

Their collars and leashes are sold at The Natural Pet Center, Waggy Tail Treats, and Shaggy’s Self-Serve Dog Wash in Fargo and online at www.bowwowzerz.com.

“People like how they look. They like how they feel,” Hallada said. “Pet owners nowadays view their animal as a child with a certain type of personality and they want to showcase that personality with something that is fun and cute to wear.”

Patty Petry of Fargo is a repeat BowWowzerZ customer.

“They’re just the cutest looking things I’ve ever seen,” she said of the collars.

Petry said she has looked everywhere, and BowWowzerZ is the first place she has been able to find cute, sturdy collars.

“I’m just glad they’re made well because they’re just so cute,” she said.

The collars and leashes sell pretty well at The Natural Pet Center, said owner Michelle Smith.

“Our customers have really loved them,” she said. “For somebody who’s looking for something a little bit fun to fancy up their dog a little bit, it’s a perfect fit.”

BowWowzerZ will not wholesale their products to stores that sell animals.

“It’s difficult for me to give money to rescue groups, but then on the flip side of that support pet stores that don’t go with that business model,” Hallada said.

Hallada and Jensen also make and sell cat toys, like catnip-filled fortune cookies, and pet treats made from organic ingredients.

They will give discounts to customers who turn in their old BowWowzerZ collars so the hardware can be used in making a new one.

BowWowzerZ is a Pride of Dakota business.

Part of the proceeds from every sale goes to 4 Luv of Dog Rescue in Fargo.

“We had talked for a long time about how to give back to animal rescue groups,” Hallada said. “We thought by doing this, we could give back a little bit more.”

BowWowzerZ

- Owned by: Tina Hallada and Karen Jensen

- Contact info: e-mail: info@bowwowzerz.com, phone: (701) 388-4772

- Online: www.bowwowzerz.com

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

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