With a new showroom set to open at the end of June, fresh social media initiatives and a tight events schedule, Ruffwear continues to race ahead of the pack in outdoor doggy performance attire and accessories. Social Media and Marketing Coordinator Vince Mazzuca says an expanded showroom will emphasize company heritage and is a necessary step to exhibit the products Ruffwear offers.
From the Quencher, a hallmark piece first released in 1994, to the re-emergence of the Sun Shower, a warm-weather and easily layered K9 jacket. All will be showcased amide the upcycling and rustic atmosphere in the new showroom at 2843 NW Lolo Drive. With design input from local fabricator and builder, Ben Hull of Connell Hull Company, the final product is sure to be raw and minimalistic, true to Bend form.
When asked what up and coming star product will rival the Quenchers popularity (an easily collapsed free-standing water bowl) in their new showroom, Mazzuca points to the Kibble Kaddy. This piece allows users to easily dispense food to their dog. Utilizing a roll down top, the container shrinks with each feeding. The side food chute allows the hungry subject to eat right out of the side of the bag.
So where is the company gathering all this inspiration for recent innovations? Mazzuco says Ruffwear is “firmly committed” to designing products for dogs and their humans practical adventuring needs. As Ruffwear has grown, much feedback has been acquired regarding durability and functionality from brand ambassadors, and more recently, working K9s. Service dogs, performing dogs and rescue dogs have all found superior performance capability in Ruffwear products. Although the company embraces feedback from these sources, they are clear that their primary market is the everyday dog.
To press the point of serving the everyday dog, Ruffwear not only constructed a physical showroom, they also devised a digital one. An online campaign giving customers a forum to express their love for their K9 companions was unveiled in April. “My dog is my…”, is a two minute short which can be seen on youtube or at Ruffwear’s dog blog. It features 12-13 local K9 owners (and a few others from around the states) explaining in one sentence what their dog means to them.
Mazzuca says the campaign was born with a goal of creating a “branding video but not being a talking head and celebrating the unique relationship each of us has with our dog, especially in the context of outdoor space.”
With cinematically crafted snippets, often in slow motion, capturing the the moment of bonding between person and pup and an ongoing Instagram feed where people continue to post, the campaign has been a smashing success.
Involving themselves continually in their virtual and geographic community, Ruffwear is leading a charge to include dogs in outdoor events that are traditionally human based. As a direct result of their involvement, The Columbia Gorge half marathon (in November) now includes a dog leg. Sponsoring summer events like Richmond River Rock Music Fest in Virginia, the GOPRO Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado, and Payette River Games in Idaho, Ruffwear isn’t just involved in their customers community, they are actively driving the direction of culture surrounding the human/dog relationship.
Viewing the many scenes from Central Oregon landscapes in the “My dog is my…” short, it isn’t hard to see why Ruffwear is housed in Bend. Cycling, backpacking, hiking, trail running, it seems the ultimate location to indulge in all the bonding activity a dog could ever want with their human.
Location/website: 2843 NW Lolo Drive, Bend, OR 97701, 541-388-1821, www.ruffwear.com.
CEO/Founder: Patrick Kruse
No. Employees: 25
Year Established: 1992
Product/Service: performance dog gear built to enhance outdoor adventures for dogs and humans.
Hot News: new dog gear for 2014 includes the Sun Shower Rain Jacket and the Kibble Kaddie portable dog food carrier, both available starting February 2014 at Ruffwear Authorized Dealers and ruffwear.com.
Outlook for Growth: with new international distributor partnerships and innovative new and redesigned products being introduced in February and August, Ruffwear is poised for growth in 2014.