For this year’s holiday gift guide, we’re highlighting small businesses in pet care. “Small business” can mean a lot of things, and is thrown around casually these days as an incentive for shopping, so we’ve narrowed our definition of small business to mean any company that does not currently have institutional capital (i.e., private equity or venture capital) and is not part of a larger conglomerate or holding company. Because as a dog mom-run business at a crossroads ourselves, we know that there’s a difference between having $3 million in venture capital and bootstrapping with $30K in small business loans. Now, of course, we know all businesses face challenges no matter how great everything looks on the surface, but this holiday season, we’re giving a platform to the pet care businesses that are more mom-and-pop. Pet care is full of people who are passionate about companion animals, and who get started in their kitchens or studio apartments or garages.
Here are our 2020 #ArtemisApproved gifts for the most discerning dogs and their dog parents, all from small businesses.
The Best Walk Kit: Awoo Pets
Awoo is a female-founded company that makes sustainable accessories for dogs that come in flattering pastel colors. We love the easy-to-clean and virtually unbreakable silicone poop bag holder and the Huggie Harness, which is super light and yet somehow very durable (perfect for dogs that pull!).
The Best Carrier Bag: Just Fred
This all-vegan accessories company makes sleek accessories that look…sexy? Is it weird to call a dog brand sexy? We love the water-repellant Weekend Tote that looks just like a Moncler coat. It cleverly includes a built-in poop bag dispenser, and feels like a pillow on the inside.
The Best Knitwear: Little Beast
It’s getting chilly outside, so why not brighten up your dog’s cold-weather wardrobe with a bright sweater? We love the Flower Power Sweater because it’s a groovy turtleneck that keeps your dog warm from head to tail. So much better than an ugly Christmas jumper.
The Best Treats: Three Loves NYC
If you’re looking for savory dog treats that aren’t meat-based, this women-owned artisanal treats company makes vegan and vegetarian biscuits with superfood ingredients like turmeric. They come in cute shapes like teddy bears and waffles.
The Best Toys: House Dogge
Designed by a former Nike designer, these tuggable toys are made from luxe and sustainable materials like merino wool, vegetable-tanned leather, and 100 percent cotton rope. You can even get the toys personalized! We feel very fancy with these toys in our home.
Photography by Tayler Smith