At Bella And Watson we understand the importance of quality and comfort when it comes to dog clothing and accessories. That is why we only use locally sourced, organic eco-friendly fabrics in all our products. Our jackets and coats have been designed with care to accommodate all dogs including those with mobility issues. We wanted to make sure that they were easy to get on and off, an essential factor if you have a dog with arthritis or joint problems, or dogs who don't like to be handled too much. We also steer clear of velcro as it can cause distress to some dogs as well as causing damage to the fabric.
I have always had dogs and understand that their well-being is paramount for dog owners, which helped me develop the current range and come up with new products to make.
The drying cloths, towels and mitts are all made from premium bamboo fabric which is ideal for drying your pooch after a day at the beach, a wet walk or a bath. Bamboo absorbs 60% more moisture than traditional cotton towelling and dries 20% quicker making it perfect to absorb the moisture and dirt from your dog's coat. It has a soft silky texture similar to cashmere and is breathable and extremely comfortable against your dog's skin.
Our environmentally friendly woven Bamboo is highly biodegradable and eco-friendly, having hardly any impact on the environment. Unlike cotton, Bamboo can be cultivated naturally without the need for pesticides and is one of the world’s fastest-growing plants, growing up to one metre in a single day. Bamboo is also a grass, meaning it will continue to grow once it has been cut, just like a lawn.
How did I get to where am now? I started out as an interior designer and ran a successful business for over 9 years fitting out large supermarkets like Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrison’s, Co-op and Waitrose. It was a very stressful industry and I was away from home most of the week. As a single mum of 3 at that time it was really difficult and after 9 years I'd had enough. My health was suffering as well as my home life. After being hospitalised with an infection in my bowel, I decided to retire.
After 3 months I was bored so retrained as a dog groomer and opened another business. While I was grooming I developed a towel and robe using bamboo fabric which I had discovered was a perfect fabric for drying dogs (and myself when the dogs were overly excited!).
I trialled it in the salon and it was amazing, especially for dogs who hated the dryer. It meant I could wrap them in the robes and towels and let the fabric work its magic while I groomed another dog. The dogs were much happier and it reduced the stress for them. The fabric is so soft it feels like cashmere and the dogs would often fall asleep all cosy and snuggly in the bamboo robes. I worked on many designs for the robes but the one I settled on was the one the dogs chose for me. It pops over the head and has a simple tie system which encloses the tummy area and ties around the waist. I deliberately stayed away from Velcro as it damages the garment and is noisy which dogs dont like. My clients started asking if they could buy them and another business was born.
I'm dog mad and have 2 working Springers and a Lhasa Apso (as you can see above they love to pose for the camera). I trained my beautiful but energetic Springers and many other dogs in my neighbourhood after they saw my dogs in action. I often had my neighbours dogs and clients dogs sitting at my door when they were passing by with the dogs refusing to move until they got a cuddle from auntie Karen..... and a biscuit of course haha. Wilson (above front) was so nervous as a young dog he actually used to scream if anyone came near him, On walks people would say "you'll never do anything with him he's too far gone" but I knew he wasn't and just needed the right training and lots of time ,patience and love. Thankfully, after a lot of training and hard work on both of our parts he's a confident boy now and definitely the leader and instigator of the pack. Its often the owners who need training not the dogs and I was no exception. It took me time to understand the needs of Wilson and I learned an incredible amount of knowledge about doggy behaviour and psychology.
We decided to move to the Yorkshire Dales 3 years ago. Then just before the first lockdown I was diagnosed with a sarcoma in my leg and was unable to groom so I started designing for dogs instead. I designed various products in different fabrics and tested them on my dogs, finally deciding on the range we have now. My eldest Springer has elbow dysplasia and has pins in his legs, and my 10 year old Lhasa Max has arthritis in his legs, back and his knee pops out so I wanted designs that all dogs can wear and were easy to get on and off. Everything we make is made with the dog in mind and all of our fabrics are recycled or organic, hard-wearing and easy to wash reducing the carbon paw print.
Best of all dogs like wearing them. They're comfortable for dogs which is the most important thing.