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Bridges Pets, Gifts & Water Gardens staff, shown clockwise, from far left, are: Department Shift Manager Nicole Oshiro; Sales Associate Jessica Becker; Department Shift Manager Janelle Shepard; Department Shift Manager Katarine Rabenberg; and Sales Associate Dagmar Mastrude.
By Jen Heller Meservey

ersonalized gifts are some of the best-selling items at The New York Dog Shop in Edgewater, N.J. “Our best-selling items are dog harnesses, coats and carriers. However, our customers love personalized items,” said Owner Lisa Borregine. “Breed-specific gifts are popular, but because there are so many breeds, the inventory required results in a very slow turn. So, a supplier that will drop-ship is ideal.”

Borregine said that she added a unique personalized gift to her 800-square-foot store for the holidays this year. “I just found a very talented artist that will hand paint your dog onto a wooden ornament or other gift items,” she explained. “I am currently working on a banner for the website to promote the ornaments and will also send an email out promoting personalized gifts.”

Breed-specific gifts are big sellers at Paw Print Gifts in Lititz, Pa., according to Owner Christine DeLeo. “Some of our top-sellers are our T-shirts because of the different breeds of dogs we offer and have access to,” she said. DeLeo added that handmade treats also sell well in her 750-square-foot store. “Another best-seller is our Two Pups Pastries dog treats,” she explained. “They are handmade in Lancaster County and are human grade.”

A display of dog pet bowls at Petagogy in Pittsburgh, Pa. The store puts out a holiday gift guide to make shopping easy for customers.

At D.O.G Pet Boutique in West Hollywood, Calif., luxury brand inspired gifts are popular. “Our best-selling gifts are toys and apparel because they’re fun parodies, such as our best-selling Sniffany & Co. toy, which looks similar to the Signature Tiffany & Co. Gift Box; our Chewy Vuitton purse and our Koko Chewnel perfume bottle,” said Co-Owner Christian Velasco. “All of our dog toys are plush and include a squeaker inside. Our apparel is designed by our house brand, Dogs of Glamour. We manufacture luxury pet goods, such as Coco Chanel inspired dresses and luxury purse style pet carriers that are easily mistaken as high-end luxury purses.”

Chris Troll, personnel manager at Bridges Pets, Gifts and Water Gardens in Snohomish, Wash., said that practical gifts sell best in his 20,000-square-foot store. “Candles and candle warmers are some of our best-selling gifts,” he said. “Pet Odor Exterminator candles by Specialty Pet Products are available in a variety of seasonal scents and have a practical use for pet owners as well.”

Candles to control pet odors, and candle warmers, are some of the best-selling gifts at Bridges Pets, Gifts & Water Gardens in Snohomish, Wash.

Heather Blum, owner of Petagogy in Pittsburgh, Pa., said that her customers prefer gifts that will last. “Our best-selling products are those that are durable but also attractive, such as Fluff & Tuff dog toys, West Paw Design dog and cat toys and Trish Hampton and Scout Dog collars,” she said. “Seasonally, we sell a lot of dog coats made by Canada Pooch and The Worthy Dog.”

Troll said that variety is key to selling more pet gifts. “Keep the variety of gifts changing,” he advised. “Refresh brands and styles. Researching current trends and offering new products is important.”

Velasco said that he helps customers find the perfect gift in his 1,000-square-foot store by getting to know the gift recipient. “Focus on the person or pet that is receiving the gift,” he suggested. “In our boutique, we like asking questions, like, what breed of dog do they have and what’s the pet owner’s personality? This way we are able to find the perfect gift that both the owner and the pet will enjoy.”

Petagogy’s Ben Huber, Elsie Lampl, Heather Blum and Cole Wolfson with dogs Bumblebee, Jack, Deeka and Daisy. Blum, the owner, said customers prefer gifts that will last. Photo credit: Nicole Begley Photography.

DeLeo said that she likes to get to know both her human and animal customers in person. “Meeting the customer and their pet is what we enjoy, as we encourage our customers to bring their pets in with them,” she explained. “Anyone who brings their pet in the store gets a free Two Pups Pastries dog treat as a thank you for letting us meet their pet.”

Blum said she sells more pet gifts in her 1,800-square-foot store by creating helpful gift guides. “We try to have products featured in different local publications, as well as put together our own holiday gift guide to highlight the range of gifts available for pets around the holidays,” she said. “We also use social media to highlight new products.”

Sales Associates Nate Thomas and Sydney Ronning of Bridges Pets, Gifts and Water Gardens. A manager for the store said that offering variety is a key to selling more pet gifts.

Borregine said that she creates customized gift baskets for human and canine customers. “Being in the New York metropolitan area, we often get high-end clients that ask us to put together gifts or gift baskets for friends’ or clients’ dogs,” she said. “Toys and treats are always well received, but we will often include dog clothing, spa products, a bed or blanket, etc. This can be a daunting task if you’ve never owned a dog yourself. As a dog owner myself, I know that a gift for one’s dog is almost always more appreciated than a gift for the owner.”







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