Fashion goes to the dogs
Clothing designer Gina Flood's clients never worry about whether their tutus make their tails look too big, and they never fuss if their accessories don't match.
That's because Ms Floods clients are dogs, with the occasional cat and bird thrown into the mix.
“I was designing for people,” said Ms Flood, “but dogs are just easier. People are awkward.”
She opened her own pet boutique, All Things Sassy Bermuda, in November full of (the cutest) outfits, dog beds and accessories mostly all designed and sewn by her own hand, with some things that have been ordered from overseas.
Ms Flood has three Yorkshire terriers, Boops, Dervla and Charlie. She started designing clothes for them when her late mother became ill.
“I spent a lot of time sitting with her,” said Ms Flood. “I had to find something to do so I would paint or sew. I started sewing stuff for my dogs. I kept on sewing and the next thing I knew I had 100 outfits.”
Miss Flood's mother always insisted the dogs never leave the house without a coat or shirt on (they get cold), but 100 outfits were too much for even Miss Flood's dogs.
“I thought maybe I should do a business online,” she said. “It became overwhelming in the house with stuff. I tried to transform one of my rooms into a workshop.”
It became too much for her house and she opened her own store in November. It seemed a good time as she had had her hours reduced by her regular job.
“I needed to do something, and I couldn't find another part time job,” she said.
Items range in price between $25 dollars to $50 or more, depending on whether you want something basic, or whether you want the whole “ensemble” including matching leash, hair bow, embroidery and so forth.
She has outfits for male and female dogs, but she prefers to make the girlie outfits.
“I have to make the boys stuff first,” she said, “otherwise I would get caught up in making girls' things.”
She will design clothes to the pets' specifications. Most of her clothes such as tutus, and faux mink coats, have gone to small dogs but she has made them for bigger animals. And her clients aren't limited to dogs.
“I had one lady ask me to make bride and groom outfits for two ceramic ducks,” said Ms Flood. “I said, ‘sure, if you bring them into the store so I can measure them'. Another lady wants me to make a dress for her dog to wear to a wedding. I have had people buy outfits for their cats. I had a lady ask me to design clothing for her African grey parrot.”
She makes her own leashes and collars, and also pee-pee pads that fit around the waists of male puppies to stop them urinating all over the house before they are potty trained.
Miss Flood said the hardest part about it was figuring out what other people would buy. For example, several leopard print outfits Ms Flood ordered from overseas have been very popular even though she doesn't care for them too much.
“What I like isn't always what other people like,” she said.
“Stuff I thought was not very attractive hasn't sold and vice versa. With the leopard print outfit, I have had to order it twice. To know what someone else is going to want when they walk in the door is very difficult.”
To learn more, visit them in the Bermudiana Arcade or look them up on Instagram or Facebook under All Things Sassy Bermuda.