Ahhhh I can’t even tell you all how long I’ve been waiting to write THIS blog; well I can it’s been about 8-9 months.
If you’ve been following my blog posts for a while you might remember I teased an ‘exciting project’ in my previous blog back in June 2020. I want to be real quick in letting you all know that the ‘exciting project’ was not a baby; I swear when you get to a certain age all your “guess what’s” are assumed to be pregnancy announcements. The ‘project’ I teased isn’t a physical baby but I suppose in a roundabout way it is a baby; it’s mine and Paul’s little business baby.
Charlie + Co
I want to take you back to late 2019, early 2020 B.C. (Before Charlie).
I’ve previously introduced you all to different aspects of mine and Paul’s
weird life in a few different blog posts now; including what we both do for work. One thing I’ve not gone into detail with you all about is that a few years ago, alongside our real life jobs, Paul and I had a little side hustle. A little side hustle that ended up turning into quite a big side hustle in the end. ‘Cute As A Button’ was the name, personalised and engraved gifts was the game. The game, that resulted in us having an INDUSTRIAL sized laser engraver (casual as ever) taking over our entire spare room and eventually our entire lives 🙃.
To cut a long story short we ended up giving up the hustler life in 2018; in hindsight we were young, living 4 hours away from our friends and family and constantly working. I know I make jokes about how different Paul and I are but
for once when it came to BIDNISS that ‘difference’ worked in our favour; I was the scatty creative brain who liked to design and describe products and Paul was the logistical tech geek that made it all come to life.
A lot has happened between 2018 and now; we are a few years older (and it’s showing on my forehead) and a few years wiser(ish). So, in late 2019 early 2020, Paul and I started getting the itch to do something more with our spare time. I know, weirdos right? Paul’s Mum (Hi Lisa) says that we “don’t sit still for long”. I would argue, although there’s no argument needed because Paul would quickly agree, that I could sit still a whole lot longer than he could. I don’t know if you have all gotten ‘workaholic vibes’ when I talk about Paul yet but if not GET IT.
Paul could some people could start a business with purely logistics and profit in mind but for me it needs to be something I have a passion for and something where I can exercise a little creativity, you know? So for me you can’t just START a business on any random Tuesday, it’s something that develops organically through a genuine personal interest or discovery.
When we started to get that itch, Paul and I looked into a few different business ventures one being lunch bags. Why lunch bags you say? Because most of them are ugly (I said what I said). I actually got really into designing different patterned lunch bags and we got to the point of discussions with manufacturers, but something just didn’t feel right. It simply just wasn’t the right fit for us at the time and I just couldn’t bring myself to fully commit (financially) to that idea. In hindsight, what an absolute blessing in disguise because IMAGINE bringing out a range of lunch bags….. in 2020….. the year that everyone worked from home…. And schools closed?
I just sat here and started typing “and so we held off from scratching that itch” but what a lie. We scratched the itch, OH WE SCRATCHED THE ITCH. Remember allllll that spare time we wanted to do something with, WELL, Instead of starting a business, we got a puppy!
Yep this pair of novices decided to take the plunge into paw-rent hood and welcomed Charlie into our lives. Whilst writing this I’m reminiscing on those first few weeks/months with Charlie, if you haven’t read my previous blog posts I urge you to go back and read them, they are short, informative and mostly us doing things wrong and laughing it off publicly; if nothing else you’ll feel better about yourself after!
A few weeks/months of life with Charlie went by before any type of business inspiration hit. Like many puppy owners, the choice of a harness over a collar felt more preferable to us, given that a harness provides an even distribution of weight and pressure across the chest as opposed to pressure on the trachea AND because they look CUTE AF right? But one day, after one too many struggles with a loop-neck harness and a wiggly, excitable puppy who hates things over his head, we cracked, (say crack again), crack.
I’m hoping a fair few of you can relate to this over the head harness situation, given that it’s literally the basis of our business (hahahHELPIFNOThaha). I’m no mathematician BUT here’s something I worked out very quickly (BIG SHAQ, QUICK MATHS), wiggly excitable pup + loop neck harness = funny at first, not so funny twice a day, every day, for the rest of your life-type of sitch.
Honestly, after the drama of getting the loop-neck harness on, it then required adjustments at multiple points to fit Charlie properly and then the same to take it off. WHO has the time? Literally, WHO ARE YOU? Taking it off, I’ll paint the picture, think WWE but the ring is your living room, the opponent is a soggy muddy dog and the loser is you.
So, I started to look into different styles of harnesses and noticed a step-in harness structure that avoids the over the head application. PERFECT! Let me tell you, I was so underwhelmed by the existing step in harness market and that is not shade to any pre-existing businesses that do this style, but it felt to me like there was this whole bright, contemporary, gorgeous world of loop neck harnesses and then a complete gap in the market for a contemporary, stylish, step-in harness brand that combined style with functionality.
I want to say “and just like that, a business” but honestly, that would be downplaying the months and months and months of developing, designing, testing, creating, arguments, stress, hard work, late nights and excitement that we went through to get to the point of launching. On December 8th 2020 we launched and it’s been an crazy few weeks but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every moment
I’ll wrap things up by saying that I don’t want to bore you with all things business but if you’ve enjoyed this blog post and would like more behind the scenes stories of our new business venture (trust me, there’s a lot) then leave us a comment below or DM us on Instagram. We love hearing from you!
Rachael, Paul + Charlie
Charlie + Co