Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Collars with Color: Making a Difference Through Colorful Dog Collars and Leashes

Jimena & Kevin Rehmer's Collars With Color

Uncovered Artistry is happy to introduce our first featured Etsy shop, Collars with Color. My sister and I started selling our handmade jewelry on Etsy.com over a year ago. It was our experience owning that shop, called La SuaVoce Designs, that inspired us
to start Uncovered Artistry Boutique, an online boutique that sells the artisan work of domestic abuse survivors. We are still active on Etsy (La SuaVoce now sells hair pieces and Jane Austen greeting cards) and we've noticed lots of Etsy sellers who, like Uncovered Artistry, are helping their communities through their art and businesses. Each Etsy shop we feature is helping their community in a unique way. Read on to learn more about our first inspiring shop!

It wasn't just the cute, colorful dog collars and leashes, which are sold at affordable prices and made from environmentally-friendly material, that drew me to Collars with Color. The Etsy shop is new (just started in May!) and already has a wide array of collars and leashes for sale. Despite being so new, the shop is already taking a great concern in the environment and the community.

They are even offering a special deal for readers of Uncovered Artistry's blog. Collars with Color will donate 10% of proceeds
of any item you purchase from their Etsy shop to a domestic abuse charity . Mention "Prevent Abuse" when placing your order with Collars with Color and they will donate to their local charity, The Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria, IL. If you mention "Safe Place" they will donate to our local New Hampshire safe haven, A Safe Place NH. Take advantage of this great opportunity!

What do you do?

Collars With Color makes dog collars, leashes and harnesses using hemp – an incredibly strong and sustainably-grown product which is therefore environmentally friendly. Our hardware is made with 20% recycled plastic. Jimena also works as a freelance Spanish translator/interpreter, and Kevin works in the IT field.

Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
Collars With Color really combines many of our passions: dogs, the environment and helping others. Our dog Alfy is our baby, and he has led us to become involved with volunteering at the shelter where we adopted him. A recent trip to Buenos Aires to visit family led to rescuing a street dog - also a huge inspiration. We realized that not everyone understands that there are resources for helping animals in their community – and that not everyone understands the importance of spaying or neutering their pets.
We are personally committed to living low impact lives environmentally, so it is natural that Collars With Color would be run no differently. We’re focusing on greening the supply chain, reusing packaging and cutting down on waste.

How did you become involved in your work?
After just a few months of use, we became very unhappy with the quality and durability of the harness, leash, and collar that we had gotten for Alfy. We looked around online and in shops and were unimpressed with the style of the boring nylon collars available in the big box stores. Knowing she could make something better, Jimena got to work. Collars With Color is still very new – we started in May 2010 - but we’re quickly growing and we are very excited with the possibilities.

What are you doing to help your community through your work?
We are partnering with several local animal rescue and adoption groups by promising a percentage of our sales to those groups. Customers just need to designate their desired organization.
We are looking to expand to other organizations as well – not just animal rescue groups. We’ve learned that many high-profile charitable organizations hesitate to partner with for-profit companies, so we are working on a different model to give our customers more choice in which organization they support.

Camouflage Hemp Dog Collar

Why did you decide to make a difference through your Etsy shop?

It’s a win-win for us. Partnering with charitable organizations is essentially free advertising for us. But more importantly, we both feel very strongly about giving back to our community and helping others. These charities and organizations are the experts, so by directing funds to them we can increase our impact rather than trying to start our own program of educating the community about the importance of spaying and neutering.

A few weeks ago we were at a “Woofstock” event and a uniformed active duty soldier came up to our booth and I saw his eyes light up when he saw our Camouflage collar. That moment was a huge inspiration for us as well, and is forcing us to think beyond animal organizations.

What is your favorite item that you make?
Our dog Alfy wears the Batter Up collar, leash and harness that we offer in our shop. That will always be my favorite.

Be sure to check out the Collars with Color Etsy page at collarswithcolor.etsy.com as well as their website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Website: www.collarswithcolor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/?id=133441966682031#!/pages/Peoria-IL/Collars-With-Color/133441966682031?v=wall&ajaxpipe=1&__a=7

Twitter: collarswcolor

Keep a look out for our next feature!

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