It started with poo……
…and ended with a brilliant dog walking bag
Oh… and a family business called Barking Bags
Joining in the fun. I know it’s a cliché but we’d really no idea how much our live would change once we had a dog. My husband, Rob wasn’t too sure about taking on a puppy and was adamant there would be clear rules that wouldn’t be broken (we’ve all been there). Now, if the boat was going down, I have a sinking feeling he would push me out in favor of Maisie. And as for broken rules… I was the one attending all the classes and he was the one snuggling her on the settee and allowing her to chew the socks. In truth, of course we all love her, and we all bend the rules a little. Being a responsible dog owner has its challenges, but most things are easy. Walking your dog regularly can be one of the easy new tasks to take on, even in the rain. One sight of the lead and their excitement knows no bounds. Who would not want to join in the fun? Just look at Maisie – who could say no?
The poo challenges. Collecting the little doggy parcels from this pooing machine is one of the more challenging things one has to get use to when you are a dog parent. Taking out poo bags on walks soon becomes second nature; stuffed in pockets which are already bulging with dog treats, a ball and disinfectant hand gel (don’t ask). However, finding somewhere to dispose of theses delightful little bags once they have been used is more of an issue. Carrying a bag of poo just doesn’t cut it somehow and takes the edge off the beauty of any country walk. However, seeing the used bags hung on trees like grotesque Christmas decorations or dumped in readiness to be ‘picked up on the way home’, does nothing to endear the dogs or their owners to the general public.
I cannibalised a secondhand bag I had purchased from the OXFAM shop and it did a reasonable job as a dog-walking bag but there was nowhere to store a water bottle and one day I found myself explaining to a fellow dog walker that I was not putting dog waste in my handbag! It was time to find a bag fit for purpose so people would no longer take me for the crazy dog lady who carried poo in her handbag.
We investigated the market for a solution. At the time there were poo-bag dispensers and poo carriers you could use for the unmentionable stuff but these didn’t really fit the bill so we set out to create our own solution; the best dog walking bag we could make. Not only did it have to be functional, we had other requirements; I wanted one that was stylish and that that could be worn as a cross-body bag, Rob, my husband, wanted something in unisex fabric to wear as a bum bag, and my daughter, Brittany wanted funky fabric. What we needed was a Barking Bag – the equivalent of a nappy bag for the dog. A neat little bag, small enough to carry, even on the shortest of walks, but large enough to take the essentials: disinfectant hand gel, treats, a ball and poo bags. Most important of all, it needed a secure section suitable for the little poo bags once they have served their purpose!
Supporting new British talent.
We are not designers but having worked in the University sector, it made sense to tap into the creativity and expertise of young fashion students. We created a competition with a cash prize for the hard pressed students at Nottingham Trent University and they came up with ideas and suggestions. We took these to Lee Mattocks, a product designer and owner of MATTOX LTD. Lee brought our design ideas to life and helped create a multifunctional bag for doggy paraphernalia. It also functions as an accessory bag to carry a few other essentials: a wallet, keys and phone. It was the start of a long and enjoyable relationship with the university, and with Lee – one that we have maintained. We even attended the student graduation ceremony and shared a glass of bubbly.
Barking Bags was born!
And as for the Logo. Can you guess where we got the inspiration?
How our customers are now helping people in India
Through buying and spreading the word about Barking Bags, you’re doing more than just buying a dog-walking bag. You are also helping to provide a living for craftsmen and women on the other side of the world.
Having been involved in the Fair Trade movement for years, it was important to find a manufacturer we could trust, where the employees and artisans would be treated with respect and rewarded for their work.
We were delighted when a former colleague and friend from India said he could help. Your bags are now handmade in a small artisan unit in Chennai, India. We meet regularly with the crafts men and women to ensure they benefit from being part of a fair and respectful working environment. Our products are carefully stitched in a bright airy workshop and artisan’s ideas on new fabrics and designs are regularly embraced. We pay the workers a fair price for the bags and ensure a regular stream of work and job security.
Covid 19 has had a profound impact in India and Chennai hasn’t escaped unscathed. Luckily all our colleagues in India are doing well and hope to be returning to work as soon as is practical, once they are able to work safely.
We know our customers love our bags because they tell us so and that’s make all the hard work worthwhile.