It’s that time of year again…

Published on 20. Sep, 2012 by in News

0

Probably one of my favorite things is hearing the “humble beginnings” stories from other small businesses. If you’re a small business owner that looks up to the achievements of other more accomplished companies, it’s always great to be reminded that, they too, had to start somewhere. Muffinhead is a young company, having only been in business for 2 years. We started with a chunk of my own savings, and the generous donations of a few friends and family members that were kind enough to “invest” in my dream. Muffinhead’s first workshop was essentially the living room of my very small Portland apartment. It has since graduated to a dedicated workshop, but it’s still not a warehouse space and I still don’t have a big fancy corner office in a high-rise (not that I see Muffinhead heading in that particular direction, but you get the idea). I would come home from my day job after an 8-10 hour workday, and cut dog jackets into the wee hours of the morning, before going to bed and waking up the next day to start the process all over again. This, of course, was before I had a business partner or helpers. I did it all, and it was exhausting and exciting. Everyone I worked with got to go home at night and kick their feet up and watch TV, and I got to go home and see my dreams materialize in my teeny apartment. I barely told people in the office that I had a dog jacket company. I remember how amazing I felt when, one day I brought a few jackets into the office and my coworkers went nuts (in a good way) when they saw them. I don’t know what they had pictured, but the jackets that we make certainly exceeded their expectations.

So, yes, I love heart-warming stories of “the little companies who could.” It makes one think of all of the possibilities their own company has for greatness. It’s inspiring! In a lot of ways, I think that most small businesses have their own “underdog” stories to tell- -and who doesn’t love an underdog!?

As it’s now the end of September, we’re at the very beginning of “Dog Jacket Season.” Some people are buying school clothes for their kids, and some people are buying dog jackets for their pups. To each their own, but either way, I know what this time of year means for me. Dog jacket season typically looks like this for Amy and I: 2-4 days a week, depending on need, Amy and I congregate at the Muffinhead workshop and start buzzing through the Muffinhead Fabric closet to make thoughtful pairings for the optimum warm, water-resistant, cool-looking jacket. Usually we drink a bit of red wine and listen to music (or watch old movies), and our mostly-quiet focus is only sporadically broken when one exclaims to the other, “Oh my GOD, look how cute this jacket is!!!!” Then we both gush and get excited and continue on as we were before. Once we have a full order, we drop it off to the manufacturer and we’ve established a pact of sorts that neither of us is allowed to look at the completed jackets until we can do it together….essentially it’s Christmas morning, and we really look forward to it.

When I look at a Muffinhead dog jacket, this is part of what I see and it makes me really happy. My hope is that regardless of how Muffinhead grows and evolves, that this is always true- -but I really can’t imagine it any other way.

If you need Amy and I from now through March, here’s where we’ll be:

The back corner of the workshop. Note tha the walls are "muffinhead green." Also, FYI, our lamps, tables, etc. are all secondhand.

The sewing machine/table

Amy and I like to hang random and inspiring things on the walls. I love this monster blanket and I'd love to turn it into a jacket.

Continue Reading

Fall 2012 Muffinhead Vintage Fabric Preview

Published on 06. Sep, 2012 by in News

0

The end of the August would be a little sadder for me, as I bid the summer farewell, if not for the promise of all of the girthy fashion-tastic “September Issues” of all of my favorite fashion magazines. Who doesn’t love Fall Fashion?! This month, as I was thumbing through Vogue and Elle, I rekindled the inspiration that I derive from the fabrics themselves. With regards to Muffinhead, I realize that for the past two years I’ve sort of cautiously shied away from using some of the more daring (daring for dog jackets) vintage fabrics that I’ve been finding, in lieu of using sturdier solid-color or lightly-patterned shells and linings. I knew the vintage fabrics were special when I saw them, but I was reticent that they may not resonate with the ‘dog crowd,’ but I saved them anyhow. I love their textures, their colors, the great vintage patterns, and all of the invented notions of the life that some of these vintage pieces may have had in their previous incarnation. Well, shy-no-more! They’re coming out in full-force this Fall at Muffinhead!

Also, so as not to offend our vintage enthusiasts (of which I count myself) please allow me to clarify that we aren’t destroying vintage pieces to make dog jackets- -we only consider repurposing vintage pieces that have some unmendable flaws. (If they are flawless, they have a way of finding their way into my own closet.) I’m really excited to see how our customers react to some of the florals that Amy and I will be introducing this upcoming Fall/Winter/Spring.

Here’s a mini preview of some of our favorite fabrics:

Vintage Floral Sheets, and aforementioned floral velour jacket. You can see the reflection of one of our fabric closets in the mirror.

One of the pictured bedsheets has such a GREAT vintage print that it reminds me of wallpaper from the 1960's, like this great retro mural (wallpaper?) on the wall above.

I mourn the loss of this as a jacket, but I'm SO excited to see it as a Muffinhead jacket. It will literally be the only one in the world like it, and there's something to be said for being that unique.

I used this vintage suit tweed in last year's Boutique's Unleashed event in Portland, OR but there is still some left that I'm dying to use.

Continue Reading

10 Reasons to Spay/Neuter your Pet

Published on 06. Mar, 2012 by in News

0

This was adapted from the Winter 2011 Healthy Pet Magazine article with the same title written by Andrew Kaplan, DVM who is also the founder of The Toby Project. The message is important and worth sharing.

1.) Overpopulation: Between 6-8 million animals enter shelter facilities each year, and half of those never find homes. Adoption alone will not solve the problem (nor will the less favorable alternative, euthanasia).

2.) Reduced Risk For Breast Cancer: If you spay your female dog or cat before her first heat cycle, the incidence of malignant breast cancer is reduced to virtually zero.

3.) Reduced Risk For Uterine Infections: Spayed dogs and cats rarely develop uterine infections, because they are generally progesterone mediated. Uterine infections are life threatening and are resolved by spaying. Typically, they occur in older dogs, which makes the procedure higher risk.

4.) Female Heats Are Annoying (I’m paraphrasing): Female cats will cry out all night for a mate, at the detriment of your own restful sleep schedule. I’m sure at some point in your life, you’ve been privy to this from neighborhood cats, or possibly your own cat. I like sleep, so this would be a big problem for me. Additionally, female dogs bleed for 3 weeks every 6-8 months, which is messy and to add to that, during those 3 weeks you’re trying to fend off neighborhood male dogs who will go to great lengths to get to your female dog in heat….and Fido can be kind of a jerk if you’re coming between he and his lady dog friend.

5.) NO Testicular Cancer Or Prostatic Cysts: Simply put, “a neutered dog can’t develop testicular cancer.” The instance of Prostatic Cysts decreases dramatically in the absence of testosterone (from neutering). Also, like Uterine Infections, Prostatic Cysts typically occur in older males- -making the procedure to remedy the situation riskier.

6.) Fido Is Less Of A Flight Risk (paraphrasing again): Male dogs and cats are far less likely to wander in the absence of the drive to search for a mate. If the thought of your dog running around busy streets and either getting hurt, stolen, or picked up by Animal Control is sobering or scary….consider neutering.

7.) Less Territory Marking: Intact males like to mark their territory and sometimes that extends to your sofa, your curtains, your pant leg (this has actually happened to me) or your bed. Fun! I could tell you stories about when I first acquired my dog, Xavier who liked to pee on everything in the house before he was neutered, but I’ll save that tale (tail? :)) for another time.

8.) Less Aggressive Behavior/Fights: Neutered male dogs are less likely to exhibit dominant, testosterone-based aggressive behaviors that lead to human bites, dog fights, etc…..and summarily, vet and doctor bills, potential litigation, etc.

9.) Puppies/Kittens Cost Money: No one will refute that puppies and kittens are cute, I mean, of course they are! BUT, in addition to contributing to pet overpopulation, you will need to feed them, take them to the vet, your female (depending on the breed) may need vet car to assist with the delivery or may need vet care following- -and you’re on the hook for caring for the little things until they are ready to find new homes (8-10 weeks), that is….if you’re able to find a home……

10.) Not Enough Homes: If your litter of puppies/kittens aren’t all able to find homes, then what? Do you bring them to the local shelter (p.s. the surrender fee will also cost money)? What if they don’t find homes at the shelter? Can you picture your beloved family pet’s progeny being euthanized because the shelter is full? Eek! I can’t! Also, bringing puppies or kittens to a shelter means that you’re likely contributing to an older dog or cat not getting adopted.

I apologize for the graphic images below, but this is essentially what the result of overcrowded shelters begets:


Continue Reading

People and Pups with Guest Blogger Josie!

Published on 06. Mar, 2012 by in News

0

My good friend, Josie works very closely with the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society– -a local no-kill shelter that we are very big fans of here at Muffinhead. Josie has such amazing talents at capturing the human/dog bond that rather than try to compete with her by attempting to capture similar photos- -we just asked her if she would capture some of these moments for our blog, and she was kind enough to agree (thanks again, Josie).

The human/dog bond is one of the things we celebrate most in this world, and it was our hope with jackets to keep our pups dry and warm that we would have more opportunities and less hurdles to sharing time with our favorite canine companions.

Thanks to Josie for taking these amazing photos- -and we look forward to see what she’s able to capture in the future.

In the meantime, we’re at a complete loss for what to call Josie’s blog segment/contribution- -can you help us?!

Beach stroll

Secrets DO make friends! Tee Hee!

"Heyyyy....Where did everyone go?!"

Continue Reading

When we say “recycled” and “local”…

Published on 08. Feb, 2012 by in News

0

Sometimes I think that there are so many “green” terms that, at some point, they all blend together and lose a bit of their meaning in the process (frankly, I’d like to start making some up and see if they catch on). One of these words is the word “recycled” and I’m talking specifically about how Muffinhead uses it on this website and in our marketing.

There is a very real “green” movement in this country and, well, it’s trendy. Everyone loves this new environmental bandwagon- -even people who weren’t necessarily fans before have joined the crusade, because it’s something that’s gained enough momentum to be sort of “cool” and mainstream. Be that as it may, we’ll take it! Any vehicle to get people jazzed about the environment and trying to preserve it is fine by us!

BUT, for the reasons cited above, I forgot/forget that the word “recycling” might invoke the wrong idea or visual about how we “recycle” human textiles and make them in to dog jackets. It isn’t a process like melting glass down or reducing paper back to a pulpy state- -we are simply taking an existing article of clothing (or blanket, or sleeping bag, etc.), washing it with something that won’t irritate your pup’s skin or be destructive to our environment (there’s that word again), and then cutting it up and turning it into a dog jacket. So, technically, and to be clear….we are not recycling textiles in a traditional sense, we are upcycling (which is such a new word that my spellcheck has identified it as non-existent), re-using, or re-purposing the textiles. We are taking one thing, cleaning it, altering it only via scissors and thread and then VOILA(!)- -not only is something that was discarded given new life, but it will hopefully improve your dog’s life when it’s raining or cold (or when your dog wants to look AWESOME).

Now for the “local” bit. From time to time, people from outside of Muffinhead’s home base (i.e. Portland, Oregon) will question the “local” bit of our slogan/mantra. Is Muffinhead local to Portland, OR? Yes. Is Muffinhead local to the Pacific Northwest? Yes. Is Muffinhead local to Old Orchard Beach, Maine? No. Similarly, it’s not local to every town and city in the world.

I promise that we weren’t trying to trick you. As one might have it, “local” is also sort of a buzzword right now also. People are loving LOCAL- -but why wouldn’t they? Don’t we all want to support our neighbors and neighborhood shops/farmers/businesses, etc.? It’s rhetorical- -of course we want that! So, that being said, we aren’t trying to capitalize on the popularity of “local”- -when we started we thought it would stay very small and local to where we live in the Pacific Northwest. But, now that we’re growing and we’ve entered into markets outside of Oregon and Washington, we realize how much we want to continue to feel like a small company- -with products that are individually handmade with love, and all related products and services that are made by other small businesses. Like many people, we like the idea of something being made by your neighbors and friends, and then sold in small shops that are run by individual people who contribute to the richness of your particular town or city.  (To be redundant with our above bit on “recycled” and the processes referenced there…) Our products, for instance, are sourced by Amy and I, then washed by one of us, then cut, then sewn by an amazing business in Portland, OR that is also run by two awesome, inspiring female business owners, then gushed over by Amy and I in a way that could only be described as “Christmas Morning-esque,” and then delivered to the local businesses of Portland, OR and beyond. We are a small business, and we love small businesses. So, to make a very long story short- -we are local to Portland, OR and the Pacific NW – -but regardless of our growing size, we’d like to keep the feel of a small, local company. Local to some, local-feeling to everyone (hopefully), and while we may not be local to you, we encourage you to support your own local businesses.  -Emily

Continue Reading

Preview of Muffinhead’s Fall Order

Published on 09. Nov, 2011 by in News

0

Well, we picked up our Fall order from our local Portland, OR manufacturer yesterday and we were just so thrilled with how the jackets turned out! I know this probably sounds silly, but I think our jackets get cuter with each production run. Have a look at some of our favorites!

Also, if you’re interested in where you can purchase your Muffinhead jacket, click here for our retailers!

Made from a fleece blanket

Made from a sleeping bag and a fleece blanket

Made from a fall/winter jacket and an insulated flannel shirt/jacket

Made from a jacket and an insulated flannel shirt

Made from a sleeping bag and a duvet cover

Made from a children's jacket

Made from two different spring/fall jackets

Made from an insulated flannel shirt and a canvas-like jacket

Made from a fleece baby blanket and a windbreaker

Made from jeans and a fleece coat

Made from a sleeping bag and faux fur

Continue Reading

Hiking with your Pup in the Pacific NW

Published on 25. Oct, 2011 by in News

0

I think we can all agree that the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place, and it also has some of the best hiking trails a person could ask for. For those of you that are lucky enough to call Oregon home, we’ve put together a list of great hikes to go on with none other than man (and woman’s) best friend- your dog!

Like Emily’s dad always said, “be alert, don’t get hurt.” Before going out on any hike it’s important to make sure you’re prepared. Here’s how:

 1. Wear the proper gear! For rugged hikes, make sure your four-legged friend has proper paw protection. There are many great options for “boots” your dog can wear to keep him/her comfortable on rugged terrain. We suggest RuffWear’s BarknBoots. Also, ensure your pet is protected from the elements, such as rain (c’mon, it’s the Pacific Northwest, remember?), sun and heat. For rain- keep your dog protected with a rain jacket, perhaps one made by Muffinhead?! For sun/heat- try to stick to amply shaded trails and consider purchasing ice pack collars or vests. For DIY cooling, try soaking a T-shirt or bandana in cool water and placing on your dog.

2. Keep hydrated! Plan on bringing enough water to get you AND your dog through your hike. Again, vests or doggie hiking packs can be used to carry water, as well as poop bags and treats! Just be sure to remember that dogs should carry no more than 30% of their body weight.

3. Map it out! It is important to make sure you know the trail before starting a hike. Carry a map, or check the trailhead for information regarding the length of the trail, possible detours/construction, etc. Also, get an idea of how long it will take you to hike a given area. Consider the time of day you embark on a hike and how much daylight you will have. Allow yourself extra time and never attempt to complete a trail knowing you will not have ample light to do so.

4. Leash ‘em! Most of us have dogs that are obedient and do great off-leash. However, dogs that usually come when called may not if tempted by a running squirrel, rabbit, or other wild animal. Depending on where you are, there could be other larger animals that would consider your pet a viable option for dinner. There are always possible dangers lurking on any trail and no one wants to endanger the lives of their dog companions, so remember to leash your dog when hiking.

So, now that we’ve covered the essentials, it’s time to have fun! Here’s some of our favorite places near Portland to bring our canine companions:

1. Forest Park– This one is an obvious choice for any Portlander, if only because of its location. It’s a forest IN the city! It has several easily accessible trails that range from easy to moderate in difficulty. We especially enjoy the Wildwood Trail, which spans 42 miles and enables you to explore various parts of the trail throughout the year.

2. Angel’s Rest– This is a great trail located in the Columbia River Gorge. The hike takes about 3 hours to complete and has an elevation of 1,590 feet with minimal elevation gain and moderate difficulty. However, there is limited shade, so be sure to take the neccesary precautions to keep your muffinhead cool!

3. Dog Mountain– Also located in the Gorge, this trail is best hiked April-June due to the gorgeous display of wildflowers that can be found during those months. The trail is a 7.5 mile loop with an elevation of 2,948 feet and can be considered strenuous at times. Be sure you and your dog are in good physical condition before embarking on this hike. If both of you are, this trail is well-worth the difficulty just to see the flowers!

4. Cape Lookout (North Trail)– This is a great trail located in Tillamook which offers beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean along the way. It is a 5.2 mile hike with moderate difficulty and usually takes about 2-3 hours. Approximately 1.5 miles into the hike, the trail begins dropping and edges briefly along the top of cliffs—the drop-offs are screened and cushioned by salal and shore pine. Occasional gaps in the salal fringe permit glimpses of the beach below.

Again, these are just a few of the trails that the team here at Muffinhead enjoy. You can check out more dog-friendly hikes at www.localhikes.com

Continue Reading

Photos from the Halloween Bully Parade

Published on 22. Oct, 2011 by in News

0

We are always so thrilled to be a part of the Portland Pit Bull Project’s Monthly Bully Walk around Portand, Oregon’s Southwest Waterfront. This past Sunday, it was the perfect autumn day with crisp air, multi-colored leaves on the ground and even the sun made a special appearance (which is no small thing for us in the Pacific Northwest).

I don’t know what the official tally was, but I beleive there were about 60 dogs (of all breeds) walking in the PDX Pitbull Project’s Halloween Parade- -even the local news showed up (thanks again to KOIN 6 for such a nice little segment).

Anyone is welcome to join the Monthly Bully Walk which is the first Sunday of each month at 11 am in Portland’s SW Waterfront (under the Morrison Bridge). It’s a great socializing event, it’s a good mixer for local dog lovers, and it’s a great way to introduce adoptable dogs to potential adopters. I know that many local rescues and shelters typically bring a dog or two each Sunday.

We hope to see you at the next Bully Walk!

Emily & Amy

She's a dainty flower

There were 3 of these adorable little pitties. We thought they looked a bit like manatees.

"I just really love you, Mom!"

The WINNER of the costume contest

Continue Reading

Happy Tales: Muffinhead’s Donated Jackets

Published on 11. Oct, 2011 by in News

0

You may remember one of our previous posts about the scraps that Muffinhead generates…and how we’ve been trying to find a way to put them to good use, and in that quest- -we partnered with the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society and donated dog beds made from upcycled pillow/couch cushions and scraps. To make a long story short(er), feel free to check out the original blog post about it.

In addition to donating some dog beds to this great Portland Area no-kill shelter, we also donated some dog jackets to keep these doggies warm and dry during the rainy season. Here’s a few pics of the dogs modeling the Muffinhead jackets. (Thanks again to a really great volunteer for taking these photos for us!)

Lucy's Mom is the one that took all of these wonderful photos for us!

Continue Reading

Scraps

Published on 30. Sep, 2011 by in News

1

One of the primary missions of Muffinhead was to re-purpose fabric that may have otherwise ended up in landfills. Very early on, it became abundantly clear that after the dog jackets were all said and done- -there would be a copious amount of fabric scraps left over. So then it became a question of, “what do we do with the scraps?” To throw them out would be hypocritical, but they weren’t of any use…so we held on to them until we could realize their end purpose.

In the past we’ve discriminatingly donated them via Craig’s List under the heading “Free Fabric Scraps.” I say “discriminatingly” because we wanted them to go to good causes- -if at all possible, we wanted them to give back to dogs and/or the community. I had contacted a few shelters to see if they needed dog beds, after mulling over the idea of making fabric scrap dog beds (still a good idea), but they are mostly in need of toys, dog food and money (keep this in mind the next time you’re feeling particularly charitable). So, in the interim, to unburden my then one-bedroom apartment with 50+lbs of fabric scraps they were donated (as I said before) to people found on Craig’s List who were quilters, crafters, etc. One gal was making quilts for a local domestic violence shelter, which I thought was quite cool. Another gal offered to donate them to The Dreaming Zebra Foundation for us, and I had never heard of that organization up until that point- -but upon doing a bit of research- -I fell in love with them. They are AMAZING! They are a local Portland, OR non-profit who help provide/subsidize art education to children and young adults who might not otherwise have access to it. (Again, AMAZING!) We donated something like 6 huge trash bags full of fabrics scraps to them.

Then upon a recent “useable fabric-gathering expedition,” I found a bunch of discarded couch pillows and cushions and thought, “Wow- -I could fill these with fabric scraps and they’d make great dog beds!” The scraps were basically free, useless and burdensome to me- -and the cushions were nearly free. I figured I’d reach out to some of the various local rescue organizations again to see if they were in need of anything in the ways of dog beds. Surely some of these non-profit animal shelters would appreciate a comfy dog or cat bed right!? Right!

I met with a very devoted volunteer (and really, at this point, I’d call her a friend) at the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society, and gave her the dog beds made from 24.8 lbs of discarded fabric scraps. I also gave her a half dozen dog jackets for the volunteer dog walkers to use during the cold and rainy months- -and also to be used for the dogs that might have mange or other skin ailments that keep their skin void of hair and irritated. My hope is that this will start a long partnership with local shelters, to help them where and when we can. They give so much and it would be nice to give back.

Below you can see what 24.8lbs of fabric looks like. I hope to have photos soon of the dogs enjoying their jackets and beds.

Before

After

Continue Reading


©2013 muffinhead, LLC | Locally made in Portland, Oregon | info@muffinheaddog.com | 503.902.1114