Small Business Spotlight: Bramble & Friends

This week we are featuring one of my all time favourite brands. We bought our first Bramble & Friends collars almost two years ago and since then we have built up quite the selection of collars, leads, bows and more recently, bandanas! Before we go into why we love B&F quite so much, here is owner Tamsyn to tell you all more about her fabulous brand!

Who are Bramble and Friends?

Well at this end we have three naughty Boston Terriers – Bramble, Nim and Bradley, Lyla the Airedale and me their slave/human, Tamsyn!  My husband Neil and various family members get drafted in at times of stress to help with order packing (hello Chrismas!).  We also consider everyone of our past, present and future customers Bramble’s friends!

Please tell us all about the changes you’ve made to the shop recently!

I’m always looking to improve the quality and value of my designs, and recently I have done just that!  The collars are now available in leather free biothane or hand stitched bridle leather – both far more durable and long lasting than before.  I wanted to add a leather free version of the same design as more and more people are making that choice – and Biothane is the perfect replacement.  After training with master saddlers earlier this year, I wanted to put my new skills to good use and make our leather collars the best they could be.  They are now all cut, dyed and hand stitched from start to finish and made from the finest English bridle leather.

The fabric or Harris Tweed covers are now removable and interchangeable, so can be replaced when scruffy or if you just fancy a change.  I decided to do this as the fabric covering always the first component to wear, making a perfectly good leather collar ready for the bin!  Now instead of buying a whole new collar you can just buy a new collar sleeve, reducing waste and making our collars a great investment.  We have new style braided cotton rope leads and these can be matched to any tweed.

Which is your best selling tweed?

Blue herringbone easily!

Which is your personal favourite tweed?

Agh the impossible question!  I love country rustic tweeds, but some times you can’t beat a super soft pink number!  There are too many that I love and it changes all the time…I think I’ll say the duck egg herringbone – Bramble has been wearing this as her collar for a good while now.  I am a tweed addict though and if a weaver presents a new colour that I haven’t seen before, I find it hard to resist…

What makes your products different from other tweed collars on the market?

The fact you can buy one collar and have and endless choice of colours!   With a little maintenance, our collars will last years, but you can pick a new look when you get bored, or they are just as lovely worn bare or with a bow tie.  Our main selling point is that you can have a traditional, well made product with a quirky colourful twist!

Do you have any more new products coming soon? Maybe Christmas products?

Of course!  I have so many ideas to bring to the shop but need to find the time to launch them.  On the cards in the near future we have vintage style Christmas themed accessories – I am mad on Christmas!   I’m also working on prototypes for new custom ID tags. I’m using a material that I loved to use for crafting as a child – that’s all I’m giving away at the moment 😀

What does the future hold for Bramble & Friends?

Aside from hoping to be at Crufts next year (fingers crossed!), the long term plan is to move into a dedicated work space, rather than just use corner of our house.  We have the space in a (very) old barn, in our new garden, but it is in need of extensive renovation.  I would hope to run open weekends and allow locals to come and visit and do some hands on shopping and perhaps try making their own accessories.  This is a far off dream, but it will happen!  I will also expand the team to add another human – just don’t let me get any more dogs!!

Doodle Review: A Range of Bramble & Friends Accessories

As Tamsyn mentioned above, she has just revamped her tweed collar design and we were seriously lucky pups as we were the first to officially test out the new design after Bramble, Nim, Brad and Lyla! Now, we loved her old tweed collars so we weren’t sure she could possibly improve them but alas, she has proved us wrong. The most significant new feature of the new B&F tweed collar design is the removable sleeves. Previously the tweed was stitched on as part of the collar, they were undeniably beautiful but personally I wouldn’t actually let mine wear theirs very much as I was terrified that they would ruin them. Now, I don’t need to be quite so concerned as the fact the sleeves are removable means they can be washed with ease and once the dogs do inevitable destroy them, they can be replaced without replacing the whole collar! The removable sleeves also mean that you change your look without buying a whole new collar, instead of £26 every time you fall in love with a new B&F tweed (which for us is every time Tamsyn gets anything new in!) now you only have to replace the sleeve at the bargain price of just £8.99! With over 40 different tweeds to choose from, I guarantee you need at least three of them!

The sleeves are not the only thing that has changed, the new collars are made from the best possible British brindle leather using traditional saddlers techniques. Tamsyn actually went on a leather works course earlier in the year in order to perfect this new design and learn new techniques, if that’s not commitment to your craft then I don’t know what it. All the collars are finished with the Bramble & Friends logo stamped into the leather, the perfect finishing touch. The collars are absolutely stunning in ever way. I genuinely don’t have enough superlatives in my vocabulary to convey to you how perfect they are.

The new collars come beautifully presented in their own jute bag with a small pot of care balm to keep them looking as beautiful as possible for as long as possible. With regular cleaning and application of the balm these collars will last many years. There is also no reason they can’t be worn in the wet and even at the beach as long as they are allowed to dry naturally afterwards and any dirt is removed. B&F leather collars start at £36 and come in seven different sizes to fit dogs of all sizes.

Don’t fancy leather? Well Tamsyn has also come up with a lovely vegan alternative, Biothane. The B&F Biothane collars are strong, flexible and stink-proof with zero maintence – you can just rinse them under the tap when they get gross! They also have the option of the removable tweed sleeve which can be changed with the seasons.

To go with our beautiful new collars, Tamsyn included matching bows and leads for us – we feel like seriously spoilt doggies this week! Our new leads are made primarily from a rustic hemp rope with a comfortable tweed handle to match our collars. The whippping on the leads also coordinated with the tweed handles – it’s the little touches like this that make us love Bramble & Friends so much! The leads feel nice and strong without being super heavy or cumbersome, very important when you’re a little dog! The hemp is also fantastic at concealing dirt which very important in our house. B&F hemp leads with tweed handles  start at just £24 and you can choose any tweed colour for your handle!

For days when you’re feeling fancy there is nothing better than a Bramble & Friends bow tie. As you may have noticed, we have quite the collection of bows and these have to be our all-time favourites. Our B&F tweed bows sit really nicely on our collars (Mum really hates floppy bows) and we just love the contrast of the two different tweeds on them. B&F bows start at just £6 which is a complete steal for the quality of them!

The final exciting item in our package was a pair of limited edition Halloween bandanas! I can’t even begin to explain how excited Mum was about these, it was a good job noone else was around when she opened our package. So embarrassing. I mean, they’re pretty special but still. Pull yourself together woman.

Anyway, these amazing bandanas feature the beautiful illustrations of Elena O’Neill backed with robust yet super soft black or white velvet. These Halloween bandanas are like nothing else you will see, subtle and classy as well as durable and practical! The bandanas fasten with poppers, no faffing with ties or collars, they are super easy to get on and off. From a safety perspective they will also come undone if they get caught on anything when out and about preventing any accidents. Very useful when you like to climb trees like me! All B&F bandanas can be machine washed, tumble dried and ironed to make sure they stay looking smart and they can even be used as a cooling aid when it’s warm (might be a useful for Halloween in the Southern Hemisphere!).

As you can see, we are absolutely in love with everything Tamsyn sent us. We have been blown away by the quality of her new designs and already have our eyes on a few more items from the new collection including a couple of braided cotton rope leads and lots more tweed sleeves (and matching bows) for our collars! As far as tweed accessories go, Bramble & Friends accessories are simply the best!

You can buy all the B&F accessories we’ve featured and loads more on Etsy or from the official Bramble & Friends website. We also recommend following them on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the latest new deisgns, special offers and cute pictures of Bramble and her friends!

Until the end of November you can use the code DOODLEDISCOUNT to get 10% off any order from Bramble & Friends, I’m sure that mean you can add an extra bow to the basket!

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