There’s a reason that dogs are man’s best friend. They are incredibly loyal, love unconditionally and are always there for a snuggle when you need it. And, as a dog parent, it’s only natural you want to spoil them with all the good things life has to offer. Third Coast Canine knows this, which is why they have created special and well-made items just for the special pups in our lives. See the heart behind the company and what you can expect to see from Third Coast Canine soon.
1) What makes your company unique?
Third Coast Canine started out of frustration in finding well-designed, well-made dog-things for our pup. He didn't fit into standard pet-store offerings, and I was bummed to see the same fabrics and designs over and over online. I started to create things for him that I thought filled a gap in the pet accessory biz — reversible bandanas, better designed bowties, and fabrics that appeal to owners first. We source much of our material as remnants from warehouses, which means that often times we are the only ones working with a particular material, giving a new life to the odds and ends of the textile industry. We created well designed, intentionally crafted things that are joyful above all, just like your dog.
2) How did you start making?
One of my earliest memories is of coloring with my great-grandpa, him showing me how to stay inside the lines. I’ve always been a maker. My mom was incredibly fostering of that impulse—our house was filled with crayons and playdoh and pipe cleaners growing up, and she is a skilled sewer herself. My dad was an entrepreneur, and I learned about graphic design through him. I ended up earning my BFA in Graphic Design from UIC, and have been making everyday since as a full-time graphic designer — sewing for Third Coast is an extension of that, a creative outlet off-screen. I specifically started making things for dogs after we adopted our dog, Otto, who is unusually long for his size. I couldn't find things that fit him well and appealed to my sense of style, so I started to make my own. It grew from there!
3) What inspires you as a maker?
I’m always inspired by materials. In my day-job as a designer, that manifests in my choice typefaces, color, and images, combining the right elements to create a cohesive and purposeful final design. I use a lot of pattern in my work, and that bleeds over into the pieces I make for Third Coast. The way that materials interact — through contrast, texture, color, pattern, weight — is a driving force for my work.
4) What are two things you’d like customers to know about you?
I have always been a cat person—we have two rescue kitties, Sylvia and Frido, who long pre-date the dog. Don't tell Otto, but Sylvia is still my favorite. She has half a tail and half her teeth, and she's a total sweetheart.
If I weren't an artist, I probably would have been a doctor of some kind. I love science and anatomy almost as much as I love art and making—in fact, one of my capstone projects in a college drawing course involved sewing a set of life-size, gold lame organs including 30 feet of intestine. Looking back, I should have seen the signs that I would end up working with kooky textiles 10 years later.
5) What’s a new project you’re excited about?
Related to Third Coast, I’ve been prototyping a design for a sailor bow that’s so stinkin’ cute, I can’t wait to start making them in our spring and summer fabrics. I’ve also been learning how to make people-clothes, and I am looking forward to getting good enough to start making my own clothing.
6) What’s on your playlist as you’re creating?
We listen to music in the studio all day, so when I’m home I tend to binge-watch TV while I’m working instead, things that are easy to listen to. Lately, I’ve been working my way through Bones, and my husband and I are suckers for The Bachelor as well!
7) Let’s keep it local, what Chicago restaurant do you think everyone must try?
So hard to choose! I’m going to cheat and say two: the first is brunch at Medici in Hyde Park—I could live off of their challah french toast and lattes. The other is a little Italian restaurant called Ignotz Ristorante, tucked back in the Heart of Chicago, off of Blue Island. It’s this tiny little place that feels like an old-school family restaurant, and their gnocchi is beyond awesome.
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