Welcome to Wear Wag Repeat Podcast Episode 2: Maggie Welsh of Pups Who Pack is an accessories and textile designer who is obsessed with her Pug and her Frenchie! Learn about her favorite dog friendly city on a cross country road trip, where she finds inspiration for new designs and what it was like to work with major celebrity dog influencer accounts.
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Maggie Welsh is a textile artist, handbag and pet gear designer for ‘Pups Who Pack’ from Madison, WI. She went to New York City’s Fashion Institute of Technology and worked for several women’s handbag brands, but most recently she’s known to be the designer of the ‘Pups Who Pack’ dog backpack and designer pet gear.
Tori: How did you come up with the idea for Pups Who Pack?
Maggie: I was designing handbags and launched my own line in 2015. I have a Pug and a Frenchie and ended up making them a backpack, just as a fun lighthearted project. I took my pug out for my lunch break and everyone was asking me questions about it. I thought, there’s more to this! I ended up doing Kickstarter, and it got funded. Since then it’s become an essential part of my business.
When I first started the dog stuff, I literally made a mini version of my backpack for my pug. I liked the cuteness of that, and it ended up being a good combination. I still design backpacks, totes and wristlets for women.
Tori: I love that your dog backpacks are also harnesses, combining form and function. Tell us about how you decided to make your products so beautiful and functional.
Maggie: It’s always been my personality type to combine the utilitarian aspect with the design. The design captures you first, then the utility keeps you. When I made the dog backpack, I thought it needs to be more than just a dog backpack. I use harnesses on my dogs, so I thought it needed to have the function added to be worthwhile for my customers.
Tori: Tell us about Gary Fisher and Doug the Pug. How did you get your product in the hands of these dog influencer accounts that have hundreds of thousands of followers? Over 2 million in Doug’s case!
Gary is Carrie Fisher’s dog. Last year I was traveling in an RV around the US and I met a woman in LA who did hand sequin work. We really hit it off and did a collaborative sparkly sequined backpack with Gary Fisher in as our dream client. We designed it with him specifically in mind! My friend found out that Carrie Fisher was going to be at ComicCon in her town, so she took the backpack there and gave it to her. Later that day, photos started going around online of Gary wearing the backpack. He later wore it on The Today Show and The Colbert Report with her.
You always think you’re ridiculous saying these big lofty goals, but it ended up being right!
If you don’t know about Doug The Pug, you need to brighten your day by watching any of his videos. His owner Leslie is amazing, and took a lot of kooky videos of Doug to build up his following. They shop at one of the stores carries my line in NYC. The owner of the store told me that she thought my backpack would be perfect for Doug. So, I sent them one and Leslie loved it! She featured it on one of Doug’s back to school videos. That was totally accidental luck!
Tori: Tell us more about the RV trip! I just got into road tripping with Lucy. Did you have a favorite place along the way that was very dog friendly?
Maggie: I started in Madison, WI and went to Austin for about a month. Then we headed West to Southern California, all the way up to Portland, Oregon. There were so many places I wouldn’t have seen if we weren’t in an RV.
One of my favorite dog friendly places was San Diego. There are a lot of dog parks there, I actually did a Pug meet up there. Along the trip I met a lot of my Kickstarter backers with their dogs. It really affirmed why I do what I do. I met up with one backer in Portland who introduced me to more dog friends. The more dogs the better!
These are all places that we were able to travel to while on our RV trip.
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