Behind the Brand

Behind the Brand: Sir Dogwood

Step behind the curtain with the stylish Sir Dogwood - the online boutique that caters for the truly fashionable pups among us. No basic bitches here.

Copy: Serena Faber Nelson

Photography: Sir Dogwood

One the silver linings of this year is the renewed focus on shopping with small businesses and supporting diversity within the pet industry. The fab upshot of this has been the sheer amount of amazing brands that have come to the forefront to claim their well deserved place in the spotlight.

Sir Dogwood is indeed one of those brands. With Director, Chaz Olajide, at the helm, Sir Dogwood is an incredible online destination where you can find unique, style centric pieces that your dog will love. Pet fashion, collars, bowls, beds and more – Sir Dogwood has it all, with every piece having won the seal of approval of Chaz’s detailed eye for good design.

What sets Sir Dogwood apart from a number of online pet boutiques is the original designs Chaz manages to find. There is so much NEW in every category that has you clicking ‘Add to Cart’ before you even realise it. As the owner of a large dog, I particularly love Chaz’s focus on items for dogs of all shapes and sizes – remembering pups of every dimension can bring the cute. (And shhhh…there is totally a Sir Dogwood range in the pipeline! Read below to find out more.)

Most importantly, in this Behind the Brand, Chaz opened my eyes to the wonderful growth happening in pet ownership in multicultural households. Something that we, as an industry, need to celebrate, and cater to, moving forward. Because, if there’s anything that will bring us all together, it’s the love we have for our dogs.

Behind the Brand-|SIR DOGWOOD|

Behind the Brand: Sir Dogwood

Who: Chaz Olajide
Title & Company: Founder and Director – Founder; Sir Dogwood
Location: Chicago

Behind the Brand-|SIR DOGWOOD|

What is the philosophy behind the Sir Dogwood brand?

Sir Dogwood features a highly curated selection of quality dog wear and accessories from the freshest and most innovative designers in the US and abroad.

Your dog, Bea is the cutest! Tell us about your canine inspiration behind the brand…how did Sir Dogwood come to be?

Thanks! Sir Dogwood came to be because I couldn’t find any clothing or pet accessories I actually liked when we brought our first dog Winston home.

“Another reason I started Sir Dogwood was because the pet industry is not a very diverse space, even though the data shows that between 2008-2018, the increase in the number of multicultural pet owners was five times higher than the number of white pet owners in the US.

Behind the Brand-|SIR DOGWOOD|

How did you decide on the Sir Dogwood name?

Sir Dogwood wasn’t taken, easily searchable, and had a nice ring to it!

Your style and eye for design certainly stands out from the crowd. How does Sir Dogwood set itself apart from other brands?

One of the things I love to do is partner directly with emerging makers to create limited edition items available exclusively from Sir Dogwood. I worked with Chicago’s Reformed School on a collection of doggie bow ties done in colorful African fabrics, and currently I’m working with Utility Objects in Atlanta on a selection of beautifully minimal handmade ceramic dog bowls inspired by Japanese shibui ceramics.

“I keep an eye out for unique pieces I haven’t seen anywhere else. If I haven’t seen it I usually have to have it for the shop!”

Sir Dogwood - Designer Dog Accessories

You say Sir Dogwood is an inclusive community for swank pups (and you back this up by catering from the smallest to largest dogs!). Do you see dogs as a great way of bringing people together?

Absolutely. Pets have a tendency to bring people together both in real life and online. People flag me down all the time to ask if they can meet Beatrix.

I was just talking about this the other day with someone who had never had a dog before. He told me how astonished he was by the fact that he’d met more of his neighbors in the 5 months since bringing home his new dog than he had in all the years he was dog-less.

You have an incredible eye for quality and design. Where do you go for inspiration?

I first moved to Chicago to study Art History in grad school; after obtaining my degree I spent the next decade working for contemporary art museums. My personal aesthetic is heavily influenced by that time in my life, and my eye tends to gravitate toward clean lines and modern design. I strive to capture that minimal look for Sir Dogwood; both in the pieces I choose for the store and in the design of the website.

Behind the Brand-|SIR DOGWOOD|

How would you describe the Sir Dogwood customer?

There’s a saying I’ve seen floating around on pinterest and instagram that says something to the effect of “I work hard so that my dog can have a better life.” To me that encapsulates the Sir Dogwood customer – pet parents who consider their dogs members of the family and love to spoil them rotten.

What has been the highlight for Sir Dogwood to date?

A highlight for me was opening a pop up store in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood in 2019. As someone who runs an online shop, I relished having a brick and mortar storefront. Getting to know the pet parents and pups in the neighborhood and becoming part of the dog community was a huge treat. Some of the recent press we’ve received from Cosmopolitan, Elle, Buzzfeed and New York Magazine has been a big win for 2020.

With COVID, 2020 has been an incredibly unsettling year worldwide. How has this affected the Sir Dogwood brand?

I took a hit when I decided to suspend operations last spring given COVID surges in Chicago, but I wanted to make sure my staffer could focus on staying home and staying healthy. We also saw massive shipping delays for international orders; temporary but nonetheless quite frustrating.

The BLM movement has gained worldwide momentum this year. As a black, female, small business owner you have to clear hurdles others take for granted. In your opinion, how can people support women, diversity, and small businesses moving forward?

There are so many ways! First and foremost I would say if you’re in the position to do so, support them financially by placing an order.

“Free ways to lend your support include following them on social media, sharing/liking their posts, shouting them out when possible, and leaving a review.”

Behind the Brand-|SIR DOGWOOD|

Who are Sir Dogwood’s celebrity muses or other (pet or non-pet) brands you admire?

I could go on and on but some of my pet crushes include @gusandtaytakenyc, @mmthepug, @miloandnoah, @callmedwj, @babycoulee and @albertonwheels.

What does the future hold for you and the Sir Dogwood brand?

Currently I’m working on a line of Sir Dogwood brand apparel which is a first for me. It will be a line of sporty streetwear style sweatshirts. A piece of feedback I’ve received since launching is that dog parents want clothes for larger dogs too, so the new line will be size-inclusive as well.

Behind the Brand-|SIR DOGWOOD|

What are your top picks from the latest Sir Dogwood collection?

Right now my top picks are our campy Love Tops by Hey Jerry, which feature a little cut out heart shape. We’re also carrying matching dog mom/doggie leopard print sweaters for the first time this fall by Dog Threads– perfect for IG photoshoots, holiday cards, and more!

If Bea could take 3 things with her on a desert island, what would they be?

Treats, her blue blanket, and her favorite toy flamingo named Pinkie.

Follow Sir Dogwood

WebsiteFacebook | Pinterest | Instagram

Behind the Brand-|SIR DOGWOOD|

Behind the Brand-|SIR DOGWOOD|

Behind the Brand-|SIR DOGWOOD|

Copy: Serena Faber Nelson

Photography: Sir Dogwood

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