Claudia Monge at Hey Puppy
Doing well and doing good An avid doggy mom and supporter of local causes, Claudia Monge, founder of Hey Puppy donates a portion of all Hey Puppy proceeds to local dog rescues and a local women’s shelter.
Some say that to succeed as an entrepreneur, you have to be passionate about the work that you’re doing. Claudia Monge, founder of Hey Puppy, has a passion for puppies and is using that passion to tap into the growing pet industry. Just last year, Americans spent nearly $70 billion on their pets, including health foods and luxury items.
“Anyone that has a furry baby or two knows that dog beds are expensive and difficult to clean. I had several dogs that shed, and I was constantly washing dog beds. It was getting overwhelming so I thought, “What if I could make a doggy bed sheet and just wash that instead of the whole bed?”
Monge turned to a pattern-making friend to produce her first doggy bed sheet. “I really wanted to make sure that these were the highest quality sheets, so all of our sheets are 100% cotton. They are durable and protect against bacteria.” Hey Puppy now has a collection of more than 20 bedsheet designs for different doggy beds, all made in downtown Los Angeles.
In Hey Puppy’s Pawtique, you can find custom-crafted puppy trinkets, including leash caddies to hold necessities (such as your phone and debit card). “My leash caddies came about because I had locked myself out so many times by forgetting my keys. I wanted something that was part wallet, part doggy bag holder.”
They also stock unique, handmade dog collars.
“I was visiting my native Mexico, and I saw these beautiful artisanal Oaxacan dog collars. I had to bring them into my pawtique. My supplier was not always responsive, so this year I will be buying directly from the collective of women in Oaxaca that make them.
While the doggy business is usually not high tech, Monge is testing a new type of dog tag called SmartTag that includes your dog’s information in an easy-to-use UBS. “It was inspired by my Beagle Lucy, or as I like to call her, ‘my little runaway. My fuzzy Houdini would disappear on me and I’d find her in my neighbor’s yard smelling away. My fear is that that something might happen to her because, as I found out, a dog’s chip can be missed by vets or move around.”
Prior to launching Hey Puppy, Monge was a sales executive at a restaurant supply distributor—so she knew the importance of getting in front of customers. She started selling her products at farmers markets and makers fairs. “It was so important for me to talk to people about the product. I learned a lot about pricing and what customers wanted. I have already created new product lines based on their feedback.” You can now find Hey Puppy products online and at local markets in L.A.