We were thrilled to be nominated in the Best Independent Luxury Pet Accessories Brand category by SME News earlier this year, especially given the impressive brands that are in this space already.
And today we’re even more excited to announce that we have won!
The award which is hosted by SME News celebrate the success stories of one of the most important sectors in the UK economy. At the start of 2017 small businesses alone accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses, making the sector the beating heart of the UK economy. So given such a rich and thriving landscape around us, this means so much to all of us here at Hiro + Wolf.
Seven years ago Bee and Amy’s journey to create a vibrant, design-focussed and sustainable luxury pet accessories business began. It wasn’t always easy, from the long days that melted into nights making the collection from above the original store in Shoreditch; finding just the right makers to work with us who understood our focus on craftsmanship (and craftwomanship!) to growing and listening to our network of pet lovers around the world (actually that wasn’t really the hard bit!). But it has certainly paid off. We have an incredible team of makers and our team behind the scenes who work with Bee and Amy to make sure the vision and future of Hiro + Wolf continue to inspire and delight our growing audience.
I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about some of the reasons why I think we’ve been able to hang in there, and not just survive but also thrive. As a relative newbie to the business (I started working with Bee and Amy nearly a year and a half ago), I was impressed with the unerring values that they have clung to in a fast and furious retail environment. Coming from a background of retail and design myself I’ve seen how the race to the bottom, pushed by the “need for speed” has more often than not put quantity over quality, often at the cost of values and original design.
Bee and Amy’s commitment to sticking with a vision and practices that prioritise an authentic and original design alongside sustainable, high-quality materials and hand-made skills that would blow most of us away is truly inspiring. Amy’s beautiful, story-telling illustrations have become the core print designs that sit beautifully alongside various African and South American woven fabrics in the range for both dogs and cats.
The stunning woven fabrics we use have been lovingly sourced and curated by our fearless bushbaby - Bee - whose passion for artisanal crafts is matched by her care and collaboration with the communities who make them. Her epic travels often involve some sort of motorbike, a dash of third world technology genius, jaw-dropping sunsets over landscapes to die for and of course the exciting textiles that she brings back to complete the collections. Luxury vegetable tan leathers trim the fabrics, skilfully stitched by Jayne in Staffordshire. Our other gem, Drew hand-makes all our dog and cat bow ties and bandanas in East London. And our team of talented makers evolves as we do. Recently a wonderful crochet artist, Cheyenne, who is based in Cornwall has joined collaborated with us to up the quotient of toy-joy at Hiro + Wolf.
Our collections are always developed with some kind of storytelling in mind, our summer collection the Wizard of Dog explored rainbows, red slippers, emerald cities and characters from Toto’s perspective. Dynamic, eclectic prints and colour are at the heart of what we want to offer. That means that we always look original and different especially when compared to so many commercial collections around that focus on replicating trends rather than originating design. Because our production is also UK based we can listen to our audience and hear when they’re looking for something they can’t find and make it! So, for instance, we’ve created a new skinny lead and collars for toy breeds and we’re working on extending the vegan offer across the range which is another really exciting collection we’re working on.
The joy of that is proven daily when someone gets their hands on one of our products and then puts it on their pets they then also appreciate all the values that have been the guiding light in the creation of that product. To us, this award is a celebration of that independence and commitment to what luxury can mean to everyone who touches it - so we’d like to say Thanks to SME-News for this opportunity to be involved in the awards.
We also want to thank all our fabulous and loyal customers - we literally couldn’t have done it without you all. A huge thank you too to our collaborators and the hundreds of people who we’ve met along the journey who have helped us, inspired us and mentored us! We also have the joy of incredible retail teams who support us through our wholesale work together, from the likes of Design Milk and Trouva to all the pet-loving stores, grooming salons, vets, dog-friendly businesses all over the world who support us. The community that we have built together, through events, work with charities who share our values has been one of the most rewarding and constantly delighting parts of our day-to-day.
And last but not least we have to thank our founding hounds and our inspiration - Hiro and Wolf - who have been looking over us since day one. Apart from both of them providing constant companionship to all of us as well as the odd entertaining episode, they’ve also been involved in lots of quality control tests, colour approvals and photoshoots, not to mention snack-checking (their favourite ‘job’). So Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! Everyone.