Small Business Spotlight: Luna’s Loft

This week's Small Business Spotlight is a really special one for us as we are featuring Luna's Loft. Owner Hannah has become a close friend of ours over the last six months, we've shared many a long day of walks and visiting shows all over the South, almost always followed by tea and cake, not to mention the hours of conversations between both of our multiple social media accounts discussing new products and colour combinations! Later you'll hear all about why we love the products she makes but for now I'll pass you over to Hannah to introduce you to her fabulous brand!

What made you want to start Luna's Loft?
Instagram was my main influence for Luna's Loft. Initially it was my love for rope products that got me interested. I kept seeing all these beautiful handmade and hand dyed rope leads over in the US, but I was always put off purchasing one due to the extremely high shipping fees! I didn't quite love them enough to be spending near £70 on a single lead, plus the customs if any applied! This then prompted me to source the materials myself and have a go at making them for my girls! I've always had a creative streak, so I thought it couldn't be too hard, right? How wrong was I?! It took me weeks to make a lead I was happy with, so many attempts, so many design changes and so many dying attempts before I was finally content with what I had made! I made a few for the girls, and to my surprise, people started asking if I could make one for them! After several requests I figured it was time to open up a shop, and here I am now!

What makes your products different from the generic accessories you can buy in pet shops?
Well for a start every single item you buy from Luna's Loft is handmade! I make almost everything, the only time it's not made by me is when I'm a little overrun, mother jumps in to help! Although I still make all rope items, she's always found the rope to be quite daunting – personally I think she just wants to avoid the blisters. What also sets us apart is that you can completely customise your items! The rope collars and leads can be dyed in any colours you like, in any order and with any combination of twine whipping!

Which are your most popular rope lead colours?
My most popular rope lead colours are the navy and wine ombré's, followed closely by the Citrus Mist, which is a wonderful combination of aqua blue, tropical green and yellow!

How long does a rainbow rope lead take to make, from plain natural rope to the finished product?
A rainbow rope lead takes 3-4 days to make! The first day of production is the 5 colours of dye that have to be done individually, each colour taking an hour to set in, leaving rinsing time in-between each colour. This normally takes me 6-7 hours depending on how many lead I am dying at once. The next 2 days are drying time! If I'm really lucky, and the weather is really hot I can get them dried in 1 day but in normal conditions it's 2 days drying time. The last day of production is putting the leads together, measuring out the correct length, adding the clasp or O ring, splicing and whipping. This takes about 30 minutes per lead, so in total you are looking at 8 hours of manual work for just one lead – the drying time causes the lengthy production.

Which is your current favourite bandana?
My favourite bandana at the moment has to be the Pandana, those little panda guys are just adorable! We have been selling them so fast, and we're almost all out! However we will have a slight variation coming back into stock in the near future which I am SOOO excited about!

What's the best thing about owning and running Luna's Loft?
The best thing for me personally is the wonderful feedback and support I get from my customers daily. I love getting wonderful messages of people telling me how much they love their new accessories! Not only that but when I'm having an off day for whatever reason, I know that thanks to the wonderful community we have built, I always have someone to talk to and cheer me up. Oh that was far too deep for me, next question please!

What does the future hold for Luna's Loft?
Our Autumn rage! We are super excited to be releasing our Autumn pieces. Some very exciting, top quality flannels will be poking their heads out to say hello, in a variety of checks and stripes in maroons, mustard yellows, blues etc.
On top of that we may have a sneaky little range of tricolour twists and super soft ropes. No promises on those yet but we've got all our fingers, toes and paws crossed!


Doodle Review: Luna's Loft Accessories
Back at the beginning of the year you may remember that we had a photoshoot with Luna's Loft to help model their first ever collection with our entire gang and pal Kevin. Forward-wind six months and Luna's Loft has gone from strength to strength, they have taken the dog accessory world by storm with their unique bandana design and high quality rope accessories, they've also recently added bow ties to their repertoire! The quality of their products is, I hope, clear from our photos, there are many reason why we love our Luna's Loft gear and I'm going to try to take you through them by product!

For this post Hannah very kindly sent us a selection of her accessories to review; 4 bandanas and three leads (plus a matching collar that we already had) and an exclusive Watermelon bow that is a collaboration with our Mum's company, Devil Dood Designs.

First up are our bandanas. For the purpose of this blog Hannah kindly gave us two bandanas each, one of which was reversible (to add to our growing collection). The reversible bandanas have to be our favourite, it's like getting two for the price of one and with prices starring at just £9.99 it almost feels like stealing! A number of 'reversible' bandanas we have seen on Instagram have a pattern on the front and a plain colour on the back, to us, that is not truly reversible because, let's be honest, who wants to wear a plain bandana?! All of Luna's Loft's reversible bandanas are properly reversible. They feature a different coordinating pattern on each side and they are never dull! Colin's reversible bandana is the 'Morris' and is navy and white stripes on one side and a pale blue polka dot on the other. Rhapsody's reversible bandana, the coordinating 'A Day In The Park' in pink, is a gorgeous cream and pale pink floral on one side and a pale pink polka dot on the other. Admit it, if I hadn't told you, you'd have thought we'd had six different bandanas in this post!

The second pair of bandanas Hannah chose for us were 'Crazy Daisies' for our very own crazy Daisy and 'When Flowers Fly' for Colin. This set of bandanas are single sided (they are backed with a neutral coloured fabric so they're not like some of the light and flimsy bandanas with just a single layer of fabric you see) and we just love the bright, colourful patterns! Luna's Loft offers something for everyone, they have a large range of more subtle patterns like the reversible ones we showed you earlier and also some more garish ones for those that like to stand out! We like a little of both so it's great to find a shop that can cater to all our bandana needs and you can guarantee she'll have designs that you can't find anywhere else. All Luna's Loft bandanas are also finished with a little button, we love this little touch and think it shows how much care and attention goes into each and every one. Luna's Loft single sided bandanas start at £7.99 and come in 5 sizes to suit pooches of all sizes. For reference, Rhapsody wears an XXS and Colin wears an XS so their sizes do come up slightly larger than other brands.

But why do we love Luna's Loft bandanas SO much? It's simple, they sit beautifully and can survive anything you throw at them! In general, Mum buys us over the collar bandanas, purely because tie bandana usually leave a huge unsightly knot behind our heads. #smalldogproblems, am I right? Unfortunately slide on bandanas mean taking our collars on and off every time we want to do an outfit change. And nobody has time for that. Luckily, the ribbon tie design of the Luna's Loft bandanas means you can have the best of both worlds, a bandana that is easy to get on and off without an ugly knot! I know what some of you are thinking, surely a ribbon tie isn't going to be that robust? Well I'm here to tell you that we've put these bandanas through their paces and they ain't going anywhere! Even if you get them all wet and muddy, a quick spin around the washing machine and they're good as new. Luna's Loft bandanas can also be finished with elastic instead of the ribbon ties on request, Rhapsody has a few in this style and they are every bit as easy and stylish with no bulk at all behind her neck.

Next we move on to Mother's latest obsession; rope leads! Over the last few months our collection of rope leads has slowly been growing, ever since we got our first ever Luna's Loft rope leads in February our Mum has just been totally obsessed! With most quality rope lead makers being based in the USA (who's postal service charge a fortune to delivery internationally), Luna's Loft is a total life saver. There are some other makers in the UK but we have not seen any (bar our friends at Bramble & Friends) that even touch the quality of Luna's Loft yet. For the novice rope lead buyer, the most important thing to look for when you're buying rope lead is the quality of the splicing (the bit that looks braided by the clip and the handle) and whipping (the bit of twine that is wrapped around the end of the splice). Poor splicing and whipping means that your lead is likely to fall apart and unravel after a few uses. This could culminate in a lead failing whist in use and possible causing injury to yourself, your dogs and the public. If a rope lead price seems too good to be true, walk away. You just can't take risks with your dogs or your own safety.img_8403-4
My Aqua ombré lead is the perfect example of quality workmanship, everything feels very secure and Mum knows that no matter what it will keep us both safe. It also looks stunning as Hannah has mastered the art of the subtle ombré, something you will not see from all rope lead shops! Luna's Loft leads start at just £12.99 for her basic ombré colours and her rainbow leads start at £19.99 which is very reasonable when you consider just how long they take to make! Luna's Loft also make collars from their cotton rope using the same techniques as they use for their leads. The soft nature of the cotton rope Hannah uses means that her rope collars do not cause any matting or hair breakage, a common problem for dogs of many different breeds including poodles. You can have a collar made to match any of LL's rope lead colours, my Aqua ombré is our favourite but the current collaboration with Collar & Tweed (pictured above) has also caught Mum's eye!

For this blog we were luckily enough to also be able to test Hannah's brand new 'Nifty Knots' leads alongside her traditional rope leads. This style will be available soon alongside their current lead range. The 'Nifty Knots' range uses strong sailing knots to secure both the clip and the handle leaving a cute tassel-like finish at either end. This style is just as secure as the traditional splicing and whipping method, after all, if sailors use them to secure their boats I'm pretty sure they can handle a bit of pulling! The 'Nifty Knots' lead come in a simple, neutral colour however if you wanted to be really fancy you could have a knotted lead in any of Hannah's rope designs! Rhapsody's lead, in the colours of Kevin's Rainbow (named after our pal Kevin!), is certainly pretty fancy – all those colours and pretty, tassled knots, what's not to love?! It's safe to say we are a huge fan of this new design, whatever will she come up with next?

Finally we have our Luna's Loft Watermelon bow, this is the most recent in a somewhat growing collection of Luna's Loft bows for us but this one is just a little bit special. Why you ask? Because it has been designed in collaboration with our Mum's shop Devil Dood Designs and will be available exclusively as a limited edition set! This Watermelon set will be launched next week via Luna's Loft's Etsy shop starting at just £15 and we can't wait to see you all rocking it! As you can see from the picture, Luna's Loft bows aren't just any old bows, due to secret reinforcements, these bows hold their shape even when dragged through muddy streams, under overgrown bushes and up into trees (as tested by Colin). After all, no one like a floppy bow. No one.img_8705-2
You can purchase all the items featured in this post from the Luna's Loft Etsy shop here. To keep up with their latest designs, offers and lots of cute pictures of pups rocking their Luna's Loft accessories you can follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!

That's all for now folks, we will be back in a couple of weeks when the hooman gets back from her holiday – we didn't approve her break but apparently it's happening anyway. We're staying with our pal Tilly so make sure you follow her on Instagram to keep up with our adventures while Mum is away!


Small Business Spotlight: Wild Paws

This week’s Small Business Spotlight is a special one for us as it also coincided with Colin’s third birthday! For this reason we chose to feature the wonderful Wild Paws who, alongside many other fabulous products, sell doggy Birthday Boxes! More about those later, for now, here’s Catherine to tell you a little more about WildPaws,

Hi Catherine, thanks for joining us, the first thing we are sure all our reader are desperate to know is how did WildPaws start?
In the summer of 2014, we took our Jack Russell, Wilbur, away for a short break to Oxfordshire for his birthday. It was his first time coming away with us and we all absolutely loved it! Both of us have always been big photography lovers so we took our camera with us. Strolling around the beautiful countryside taking lots of snaps of Wilbur – it was a dream come true. We started wondering what it would be like to become pet photographers for a living. Photography and animals: our two favourite things! What started out as a dream came into fruition in 2015 with the help of the Prince’s Trust, so here we are…  Continue reading

Small Business Spotlight: Inky Fingers Illustrations

This week’s Small Business Spotlight is a little different from usual, but hey, sometime you have to step out of your comfort zone and try something new! This week we are featuring Inky Fingers Illustrations, run by the lovely Tia. Tia creates bespoke portraits of pets, including dogs, cats, horses and other beloved pets in the mediums of graphite and watercolour. As art is entirely subjective and we are definitely not experts, we would never be able to properly ‘review’ their work and feel that it would be unfair for us to pass comment on the works of art created by the artists we feature. Instead we have decided to have the interview portion of this Small Business Spotlight feature as normal, followed by a gallery of Tia’s work for you all to enjoy. With that said, we hope you all enjoy finding our more about the person and inspiration behind Inky Fingers Illustrations! Continue reading