Remy the Cockachon has more than 2,000 followers on Instagram, but he isn’t always the easiest model to work with.
“Remy does not love taking pictures, I have to say. Every time I take out my phone, his head kind of turns away,” said Elizabeth Rives.
Luckily for Rives, she has a number of other four-legged friends to help her market her Toodles Lane clothing line.
“I always need more dog models,” she said, “but apparently a lot of dogs want to be models.”
The Madison Park resident launched her online business a month ago, after establishing an inventory of clothing and accessories.
Rives spent two years at art school, but then switched over to business, earning an MBA at the University of Michigan before returning to Seattle. Her day job is as a business consultant at a small marketing analytics firm downtown.
“I’ve always been interested in design and dogs, so it’s just kind of a natural conversion of my passions,” Rives said, “but then when I was in cancer treatment it just kind of gave me my drive toward my dream.”
Rives started working on her designs while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Her mother had another form of the cancer, and had undergone genetic testing that made Rives think she might avoid it. It’s been a year now since she stopped chemotherapy, and she underwent a clinical trial for immunotherapy through the summer.
“Honestly, it really changed my life in a lot of positive ways,” she said. “Now I’m focused on doing what I want.”
Toodles was Rives’ nickname for her King Charles Spaniel, Flora. The Lane refers to the pathway Flora loved to take walks along in Madison Park, next to the North Beach. Rives’ fall line of bandanas, tops and unicorn capes is available now at toodleslane.com.
“It’s catered more to smaller dogs, so the sizes are extra small, small and medium,” Rives said. “I feel like the smaller dogs just tend to wear clothing more.”
Rives uses Remy’s Instagram account (@remythefluff) to promote her doggie clothing and accessory line. While there can be a lot of negativity on social media, Rives said, the dog community on Instagram is very positive and a great place to find locals and their canines wanting to model her designs and then keep the clothes. She found two local pups to volunteer for a professional photoshoot, and hopes to find more when her next line is ready to preview.
“I’m definitely thinking ahead. I was thinking of a winter-cruise line or something like that for dogs that go to sunny weather,” Rives said.
Rives is planning to also sell her Toodles Lane clothes and accessories at area farmers markets, and would like to partner with local businesses that focus on pet care.