Building a functional solution is our core design principle. Once we have designed the solution we then review it from a form perspective. That actually can lead to stunning results. Starting from what it should look like can lead to a cumbersome product while starting with the function in mind, you end up with a workable product that might look good as well. Our DoggySnooze dog bed line is a good example of this principle. The idea was a modular design that would allow anyone to replace the bed layer for washing in minutes – an especially useful solution for pet friendly hotels.
We evaluate every element in a design against whether or not it makes sense and whether or not it is simple in use. That can get you to a remarkable product. The Buddy dog leash connector is a classic example of sense and simplicity in design. A system to temporarily rest your leash to free up the arm/hand for another activity resulted in a small and simple product that keeps everything in tact, with items which you already have (like a dog leash).
Wherever possible, we add multiple functions into one product. This increases the value of the product and reduces the number of products you buy. We’ve included this concept of multi-functional design with our DoggyRide bicycle trailers by adding a strolling and crate function, but the perfect example of a multi-functional product is the Cocoon. It is a pet bicycle basket, pet car (booster) seat, pet carrier, pet bed and even a (bicycle) grocery basket (watch video) – in other words, it will go wherever you go for whatever you need it to be.
Our DoggyRide dog bike trailers have been on the market for over 10 years. There are people that still use the first version on a daily basis. The idea behind it was conceived by our designer who grew up on a farm where tools which were purchased during his childhood still were used for many years into his adult life. These high quality tools certainly cost more than most tools cost now, but if poor quality tools need to be replaced annually, this initial investment in quality still saves a lot of money in the long run.
The best definition of a valuable solution is comprised of a multi functional product that is built to last. The cost of a single function is likely higher, but the value comes in the total concept of the solution and the time it will last. 30% of the people that register a product indicate price/quality as their most important reason to choose our brand.
When we design a new product we think about the total concept of the product in the sense of when, where and how the consumer will use it or in other words what problem it is going to solve. An example of a product where the total concept is greater than the sum of the features is the Buddy dog leash connector. The features are hands-free and lunge absorbing, but the concept of the product is to rest the dog leash anytime for any other activity.
Some of the products we created were novelty items, so we didn’t have a reference point. We pioneered the dog bike trailer, which was introduced under the DoggyRide product line and the Buddy is a new concept. But, when we design a new product we do not look at any of the existing products out there. The reason is that we first want to fully understand the problem and think about an unique solution. Instead of building a better mousetrap, we want to build a different mousetrap, like one that chases the mouse out of the house.
Sorry retailers, but we design our products for consumers. The good thing about that is your customer might return to buy something else, but not the same thing again a year later. It comes back to the other principles of building things make sense and will last for a long time to come.