StyleTails speaks to Alex Sullivan, co-founder of London based designer label, Bone & Rag to find out about the dynamics of doggy slumber and what life is like with five dogs. Busy!
A lot of us think we know what our dogs want – fois gras or a pawdicure for example? As proud owners of five dogs, Alex Sullivan and Jerry Cooper, co-founders of London label Bone & Rag know a thing or ten about what dogs want. Frustrated by the lack of beds for larger dogs that would suit their home and their lifestyle, they set about creating the uber-comfy Tank bed as well as some seriously covetable homewares and accessories for cool canines. StyleTails finds out more.
How did the idea for Bone & Rag first come about?
Six years ago when we got our first two dogs, Red and Percy, we found it impossible to find dog beds that suited the life we wanted with them – both practically and visually. I’d done a pattern cutting course years back so I decided to get the sewing machine out and knocked up a couple of beds with some spare fabric. The dogs loved them so I did some more research into their sleeping habits and looked at different types of materials – six months later we produced the first Tank dog bed and it is still going strong.
How would you describe the Bone & Rag aesthetic?
Crafted, practical, considered and simple.
Do you think big dogs are neglected in the style stakes?
Yes, there are certainly more options for small dogs. We want a market that caters for anyone with small, medium or large dogs to share their lives together.
What is the most important thing for you when you’re designing the products?
That we all love it. Our dogs love our beds for sleeping and jumping into after a long muddy walk. We love them too because they’re stylish, easy to keep clean and stand the test of time.
What do you think makes Bone & Rag products so unique?
Our dogs are a fundamental part of our lives and Bone & Rag was created as our way of helping anyone who has a dog to share their lifestyle and space in the most practical and beautiful way. Our products are handmade in the UK, sustainable and eco-friendly which is also a really important part of the Bone & Rag approach.
Do your dogs road test all the products? What gets their seal of approval?
Yes they do indeed. We, and they test everything. Everything needs to work for us and them. As you can imagine, with our lot, testing is rigorous! Practical, beautiful, comfortable AND stand the test of time.
Your signature Tank Dog Beds look rather comfy. How did the idea for the design come about?
When Percy and Red arrived we knew we needed-something comfy, practical and hardwearing. We really wanted them to suit the dog’s needs, rather than copy a human design so we began by closely observing them sleeping. We realised we needed a shape versatile enough to allow them to either curl up or stretch out depending on their mood and also wanted it to be easy to look after and durable. We then sat down and designed what we now consider to be the ultimate dog bed.
Give us 5 reasons why dogs love them?
- COMFY SHAPE: The oval shape with a bolster but not too much stuffing supports a dog’s various sleeping positions
- BEAUTIFUL & BOLD: We are big fans of pattern when it comes to dog beds – it helps to hide the odd muddy paw print but can also be a fun way to inject a bit of colour into a room
- ECO-FRIENDLY: Tank dog beds are stuffed with recycled plastic bottles that are spun into yarn which means they also retain their shape. The covers are woven from bamboo which is sustainable, antibacterial and regulates the heat
- HARD-WEARING: The filling is stuffed into an inner dog bed which is made from a tough, claw-resistant material
- EASY: The inner bed is waterproof so it can be wiped clean, and also breathable to avoid smell. Our dog bed covers are also easy to sling in the washing machine
You live in South London with your five dogs – tell us a bit about them?
Percy and Red are both six. Percy is Lab / Collie cross who loves his tennis ball and is very patient. Red is a Boxer and likes to be the big brother of the group Twig is three, also a Boxer and mum to Timber and Tank who are just coming up to six months old. Twig likes to be in charge as the only female in the pack. They are all friendly, pretty obedient and loving.
How do you make life work with so many dogs in London?
Our life with our five dogs works because they are so integrated into our lives in every way. There are some very practical things that help like an old Volvo with a large boot, a concrete floor that can be easily cleaned as well as being within a stone’s throw of a large park.
What are you currently working on?
Gosh, there’s lots. Ceramic dog bowls are probably up next – we’re working with some amazing potters to produce a range of hard-wearing, easy to eat and drink from bowls that look good. We’re also working on some more beds based on our existing principles, but suited to other tastes and styles.