When Carissa Iverson was a child, she loved to take found items or fabric and turn them into fun outfits for her family pets. This particular talent has now been brought full circle as Iverson has launched Howls Pet Boutique, not only a local Langdon business, but a recognized Pride of Dakota member.
By Melissa Anderson
The Howls Pet Boutique features handmade bandanas, bow ties, up-cycled bow ties (from men’s ties), catnip mice, squeaky dog bones, and up-cycled cat/dog knot toys. Iverson was making these items for her own pets as she could never seem to find what she wanted.
“I always had a hard time finding bow ties for my dog, Lyle. They were never the right colors so I kind of started making his bow ties. I love my pets and just thought it would be fun to dress them up,” Iverson shared.
Iverson, who also markets jewelry from a direct sales company, was attending a lot of vendor shows. She came to the conclusion that it would be more meaningful and fun to sell the pet items that she, herself, had made. As a pet owner, Iverson also found it hard to find the high quality items similar to what she makes and uses in her own boutique line.
“I wanted to own my own company, too, and have complete control of how everything looks from start to finish- to know that I designed that, I created that,” Iverson shared. “I know the fabric is high quality quilt fabric and supplies are bought locally mostly from Sew On & Sew North.”
The Howls Pet Boutique officially opened for business at the Alerus Center last November during a vendor show. At her first show with Howls Pet Boutique, Iverson was approached by one of the Pride of Dakota committee members. Iverson recalled that committee member really loved her items and display. That committee member encouraged Iverson to apply for Pride of Dakota status.
“I was very flattered. I really didn’t know if I could keep up on all the bow ties and bandanas that I was making for the shows and then I just decided to go for it and see what happens, and I was accepted!” Iverson said.
Iverson feels very honored to have been accepted in Pride of Dakota and can’t wait to go to the shows next summer for Pride of Dakota. Iverson’s right-hand gal, her daughter, Maggie, also assists her with the shows. Maggie sets up and takes down the display and cleans up the table after shoppers look at the display.
“She actually works very hard for me during the show days. She is always by my side during shows. We enjoyed shopping for fabric together, too,” Iverson stated.
Iverson has many fond memories of going to fabric stores and garage sales with her own mom in search of items she could later turn into pet outfits. One particular instance had Iverson’s favorite family pup, Brutus, dressed up as an aviator.
“We found large goggles and an aviator’s jacket that could be modified to fit Brutus, who loved to ride in my basket on my bike. We got him all dressed up like a flight captain in my bike basket! It was so cute!” Iverson recalled.
It isn’t just dogs that get the special treatment, either. Iverson shared that not only can her creations be for dogs but also the feline variety of pets. Iverson explained that when customers want to put a bow on their cat, she asks if the cats like to wear a collar? If they can handle a collar then they could wear a bow and maybe a bandana. If they do not like collars, then they probably won’t like the bow ties or bandanas.
“I do make mine wear them for pictures, though, and they do great! They take their collars off, but for a cute little picture for holidays or family pictures, I think most cats can handle it,” Iverson said.
To view the handmade pet items created by Iverson, customers can visit her online shop at www.thehowls.net .
The Howls Pet Boutique will have an assortment of items at Langdon Floral soon. Can’t wait or thinking of a more custom look? Iverson invites you to message her on the Facebook page at The Howls Pet.