When starting any business, most people will tell you that the key is being passionate about what you do.
That couldn’t be more true for Queensland entrepreneur Alex Dreise, who founded Topdog Boutique, an online destination of the most drool-worthy coveted canine products from Australia, Europe, the United States, and Africa.
Alex launched the online business in March from her Sunshine Coast home, after identifying a gap in the market for accessibly-priced quality dog products.
“My two favourite things in this world are dogs and design, but I ran into issues trying to purchase products for my dog Romeo from exotic locations. I’d been dreaming about launching a site for discerning owners who are aesthetically and sustainably-minded, and in March I finally took the leap,” said Dreise.
The store features everything from bespoke blankets and beds to hand-made bowls and bowties, Alex was determined to scour the globe for the best of the best.
Brands include the San Fran’s cult label Foggy Dog, Brooklyn based btw Ceramics, German wunderkind MiaCara, the sleek Scandi-meets-Cali designs of Max-Bone, London’s Fetch & Follow, and Labbvenn – a brand direct from the Sudetes Mountains in south-west Poland – how chic!
In this very special Girl Chat, I had the pleasure of talking to this gorgeous Girl Boss about her entrepreneurial journey and what’s in store for TopDog Boutique.
What inspired you to start TopDog Boutique?
I was getting frustrated by the lack of stylish products I could buy for my little fur child, Romeo. After searching online, I fell in love with some of the products on offer from world-leading designers. I was really surprised to find that there were no shops in Australia that I could buy these brands online. Seeing this gap in the market, I decided to start Topdog. With a background in design and a love for dogs – it was such a perfect fit for me.
What can clients expect from the brand and what makes it stand out from other dog accessory brands?
Our customers can expect beautiful, quality, unique statement pieces to spoil their furry BFF. I think there are plenty of dog brands out there who claim to be ‘luxury’ but the products are tacky and have a generic pet shop feel to them. Our brand is different in that we are sophisticated and stylish, which I think is really refreshing for Australian dog-owners.
I know it must be like choosing your favourite child – but which product is your ‘must have’?
Haha yes, it definitely is like choosing a favourite child!
If I had to choose one ‘must-have’ it would have to be the Isabel collar and lead. I still remember the day we received these and I could not believe the quality and how the leather really feels as soft as butter. The gold hardware and the bright blocks of colour just work so well to make it such a gorgeous statement piece.
I absolutely love that you give part of your profits to a charity, I believe this is it’s RSPCA? How do you go about selecting the right charity for your brand?
Yes, part of my motivation for starting Topdog was that I would be in a position to give back to less-fortunate pups in need. The charity will be changed annually and this year it’s RSPCA. I think selecting the charity comes down to how much of an impact the charity is having on animals in Australia, particularly dogs and the values and beliefs behind the charity. As Topdog grows, I would love to get our audience to help us decide on a charity for the following year.
When it comes to building a business – what is the best advice you have ever received? And what is the best advice you could give to someone starting out?
While I was starting out with Topdog, I read Carrie Green’s book ‘She Means Business’ and there is so much great advice in there! One thing that really stood out to me was when she said that you need to ‘Show up for your dreams’ meaning that people can dream about things their whole life but these dreams will never become a reality unless you show up for them every day.
The best advice I can give to someone starting a business is to do your research, and to just take the leap! Don’t overthink it or overcomplicate it because you will just keep putting it off.
Who would be your dream celebrity pooch?
Ooh that’s a tough one! I’m currently obsessing over Em Ratajkowski’s newly adopted pup, Colombo. He’s been spotted with his dog-mum on the streets of New York wearing all the doggy designer brands – such a fashionable duo!