Welcome to Wear Wag Repeat Podcast Episode 10: Jeannie North of Ripley & Rue is talking to us about the diverse background that lead her to create a dog accessories boutique. Hear how she scaled her business through outsourcing and online tools, plus meet her doodle pups who inspire it all!
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Who run the world? Dogs. Inspired by owner Jeannie North’s two doodles, Ripley + Rue is a girl-owned, dog accessories boutique with a loud and colorful personality. All products are handcrafted in the U.S. by the R + R team and other talented makers nationwide.
Tori: How did you get started with Ripley and Rue?
Jeannie: A few years ago, I wanted to learn how to sew. I was in the midst of a design agency with my husband and I needed a little break time for me. I have a tendency to pick up new hobbies, so I bought a sewing machine. My dad actually taught me how to sew! I started sewing dog bandanas, because that was an easy thing to start with and I had dogs.
I originally started with twill straps, that was my spin on the bandana. I have fluffy dogs and I didn’t like how some bandanas tied in the back, so I came up with that. After the bandanas I expanded into bows. I had a lot of remnants from the bandanas, so it made sense.
Now I have a team that sews everything for me. Last Christmas I couldn’t keep up with orders anymore. So I hooked up with a sewing incubator that employs stay at home moms and I’m one of their main clients.
Tori: What was your job before Ripley & Rue?
Jeannie: My first business was making hoola hoops! I used to live in a California beach town and we loved going to the beach and hoola hooping, so I sold those on Etsy. I sold some other design products through Etsy. Then my husband and I started a business where we did web development and graphic design.
Tori: Did I see that you have a mobile boutique?
Jeannie: Yes! It’s a mobile pawtique! I got a cargo trailer this summer and we got it wrapped. It has an awning, racks and shelves. That’s what I take to events with me. Next year I want to take it on the road to other cities. It’s a really fun shopping experience.
Tori: What Ripley & Rue product makes people smile?
Jeannie: Definitely my signature bandanas with the funny sayings. I have a few risqué ones that get a great reaction from people. For example the “Handsome AF” bandana did great! Nobody else was doing AF products for dogs at the time.
Tori: Tell us about the dogs behind the brand, Ripley and Rue.
Jeannie: Rue is 3 and she’s a Golden Doodle, and Ripley is 2 and she’s an Aussie Doodle. They make life interesting! I was actually a cat person before we got Rue. I surprised myself with how much I care about my dogs. It actually gives me anxiety to be away from them! I think other dog moms can relate.
Tori: What kind of online tools do you use to keep up with your business?
Jeannie: My website is through Shopify which is great because it integrates into everything like Facebook, Twitter and Quickbooks. For Instagram I use Later which is a great tool to schedule your posts and play with the layout to get a pretty feed. I really enjoy that tool. For design I use Photoshop and Illustrator.
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