As pet parents ourselves, we're always on the lookout for Canadian dog brands that make ethical and aesthetically-pleasing gear. Woof Concept, based out of Vancouver, fits both categories. From the street wear-inspired designs to a limited lifetime warranty, these leashes, collars, harnesses, bandanas and beds would be perfect for any pup.
The brand also has an incredible origin story that involves a rescue French Bulldog from Taiwan and a sewing machine in a garage. To find out more about Woof Concept, we spoke to the founder Andy Song who, it turns out, can do pretty much everything.
I worked in the banking industry for over ten years and never thought that I'd end up working in the pet space. The shift was really inspired by our rescue dog named Pedro. We adopted him in 2015 from Taiwan, he was abandoned and going to be put down. We got a call from the rescue group Save a Life that he was available and without seeing any photos, without any hesitation, we said, 'yes.'
I grew up in a family that always had a rescue dog from local shelters. It's a bit different than getting a dog from a breeder. You don't usually know what happened to the dog before and you have to learn to work with their personality. That being said, I believe a rescue dog can change your life.
You can see from our logo that Pedro is the biggest inspiration for Woof Concept. It's personal for us. When we got Pedro, we went shopping for all the essentials — collar, leash, bed — and didn't really see anything that we liked. The options we liked the best were only online and more expensive. My family comes from a manufacturing background so I decided to make Pedro his own custom gear.
As we walked around the neighbourhood, other dog owners asked about the collar and leash. We realized that people liked the product and made a few for friends and family. Then we sold them at farmer markets and eventually I was running the business out of my garage. We had one sewing machine and made them to order. A retailer was interested and it just grew from there.
Yes. My wife learned how to sew too and now she's better than I am. Now we're in 500 stores in five different countries, and the product is still made in Canada.
I like to keep things locally produced so that I can oversee the entire process, start to finish. I can see if something isn't working or if something isn't working correctly. But really, the most important thing is that I can generate job opportunities for people in my community.
We founded Woof Concept thanks to the organization that helped give Pedro a second chance at life, so we feel it's only right to give back to the rescue community. I made a short film, that's on our website, about two other rescue dogs from Korea. In my journey with this company, I've come across so many stories and it makes you want to help in any way. We partner with shelters — we have exclusive crossover branded products with the SPCA to support their AnimalKind program.
Yes, photography and cinematography has always been hobbies of mine. I like to be involved in all aspects. In the end, my vision is very simple. I want our brand to be trustworthy, we want to be a leading pet brand in Canada. Keep an eye out for new products, new designs and a dog apparel line that's currently in the works...