The LaVilla Story
Gina says, "While driving to a meeting one day in 2011, the idea to make my own dog collars literally popped into my head. I had a bit of a background in sewing from working in my family’s tuxedo business, so I grabbed my mother’s old sewing machine, found a pattern, and went to work. I was so damn proud of that first collar!! I brought it to work, people loved it, and I decided to make a hobby out of it.
Fred tried his hand at sewing too, and before long, we were both making collars...and breaking sewing machines! Our sewing machine repair guy told us we needed a heavy-duty industrial machine if we wanted to produce large quantities.
When I heard "heavy-duty industrial machines", I got scared! Fred, on the other hand, got excited! (Long story short, we now have three industrial machines and Fred does all the sewing).
While we were learning all the ins and outs of our new hobby, the old tuxedo shop (which had since become a salon/spa) became available. I had always wanted to run my own business and realized that NOW was the time. Our little dog collar shop opened in August 2012.
Our very first weekend in business we took our collars and a borrowed canopy and set up a booth at a local adoption event and fundraiser. While we were there, we watched a minivan drive past us with a dog in the backseat that had the biggest head I had ever seen on a dog! His name was Ross and he was a 180 lb, 1yr old English Mastiff. His owner Bobbi Jo asked, "do you have anything to fit him? I have a very hard time finding him collars." Our X-Large collar fit him just fine, but it looked so narrow on his big neck. Bobbi Jo asked, "can you make something wider? He has a lot of neck!"
We ended up doubling the width and came up with our first 2" wide collar. Today, Ross wears a 2" wide collar that is 34 inches around!
Big dogs have a very special place my heart. Growing up, I was a big kid and I remember very well what it felt like to see the other kids in clothes that I wanted, but didn’t come in my size. I vowed, after that first meeting with Ross, that all our collars would be available in sizes for the big dogs.
Thank you for stopping by and reading our story. The best ideas often come from our customers, so please feel free to reach out to us with ideas. We love a challenge!