Welcome to Wear Wag Repeat Podcast Episode 8: Leah Wiegmann of Spruce Pup is working with her husband to create a better travel dog bed. Their Pit Bull mixes are the focus group for this new product and it’s really interesting to learn how they impacted the design. We also discuss Leah’s love of design and hear about some of her favorite products.
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Leah Wiegmann is a Graphic Designer with an Industrial Design background. For seven years she worked side-by-side with her Industrial Designer husband building a small start-up baby gear brand into a multi-million dollar business. After their experience working in the baby industry, they realized they wanted to take their knowledge about business and product design and apply it to the things they use day in and day out with their puppies Scooter and Moe. So they created Spruce Pup!
Tori: What kind of products are you working on at Spruce Pup?
Leah: We’re designing products that help people be on the move with their animals. Our first product is the Pack Bed. It’s s soft, plush dog bed with pockets that zips up. You can throw your dog’s things in there and zip it up to head out for a trip. Whether you’re traveling for the weekend or a week long vacation, this enables you to take their bed from home with you. We’re still in the starting phase and waiting on samples from our manufacturer.
Tori: I love the throwback style of your branding, what inspired it?
Leah: We keep referencing a “camp vibe” meets Wes Anderson. This is our chance to be our own brand, and be whatever we want to be. We love the outdoors and that retro style, so we throw that into the branding. But the products are a lot more modern than the visual identity of the brand.
Tori: Scooter and Moe probably help a lot with product testing, what have you learned from them that inspired you to change a feature of the design?
Leah: We’ve come a long way! The first prototype was more cave like with a sun shade that popped up. We realized our dogs didn’t like having that shade up, so we removed it. Then we realized they like to snuggle into the edges, so we built on bolsters that make it more comfortable for them. There have been many iterations on that thanks to Moe! We also have d-rings on the side of the bed that you can attach to your leash, so you can hold the bed and the leash at the same time. We wanted to make it an all in one solution so you’re not trying to juggle everything.
Tori: What was the first product you designed when you knew you’d be a designer?
Leah: I feel like I always knew I would be a designer. When I was growing up, I used to find free furniture on the side of the road or at yard sales and I’d take it home to my parent’s garage to strip it, paint it and do all sorts of wacky things. That was probably my first intro to loving the design of physical things.
Tori: What is it like working with and starting a company with your husband?
Leah: We love working together, in the end it’s what we want to be doing. My husband also consults for start ups and I work for a design agency during the day. When we come home we really want a break from working on other people’s things. In our spare time we want to work on our own designs. We end up talking about it over dinner and it’s something that we enjoy working on together.
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