As the 'humanisation' of pets continues, Kiwi company Camp Cloon aims to fill a canine-shaped gap in the apparel market

New Zealand has no shortage of fashion designers barking loudly on the international stage. It was only natural that our fetching four-legged friends would get to enjoy this creative talent for themselves. And mid last year, Camp Cloon was launched to fill a gap in the booming fashion industry - the gap where dogs reside.

The label is outdoor-centric and draws inspiration from Huffer, with touches of the classic American scout culture thrown in. Think checkered neckties, woollen blankets and pup-tents. For pups.

The brand follows the global trend towards “humanisation” that drove global spending on pet goods past the $100 billion mark last year. Market research firm Euromonitor International expects 2016 sales to continue their robust growth in New Zealand, America, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

  • Check out NZ Retail's in-depth feature on the growth of the pet industry here

Camp Cloon founders Ryan MacPherson, who previously worked in advertising, and Jocelyn Closs, who worked at Karen Walker and Superette, have decided to ride that wave, and while MacPherson wouldn't give any specifics about revenue or growth, he says they have been able to “leave their day jobs” to focus on the company. They were also named as ‘ones to watch’ after being featured as a Shopify success story.

Ryan MacPherson and Jocelyn Closs

“What’s cool is that it’s different - it’s not cliché or tacky and it has a human element," he says. 

The name is a mash-up of the scout vibe with the name of the founders' own pup, Clooney.  

“When we got Clooney we needed the basic accessories and couldn’t find the level of quality we were after at pet stores. There needed to be something more premium and design-focused," he says. 

The brand has created more than 90 products so far, including this stick that sells for $24 ("The only thing better than a real stick, is a Petstages Durable Stick. A truly revolutionary stick — that looks JUST like a stick and is made out of wood...") There are also products designed for humans, like backpacksbeanies and prints

It's used social media to get the Camp Cloon name out there, with powerful social influencer ‘The Fat Jewish’ helping its entry into the American market.

“We sent him some clothes for his dogs and he liked them,” he says. 

And importantly, he shared them with his more than eight million followers.

One of its first stockists was in New York, which was a hugely valuable first step. North America now represents its biggest market.

“North Americans are much more accustomed to dressing their dogs, while New Zealanders and Australians haven’t quite embraced it in the same way.”

While there are now stockists in more than ten countries, the brand doesn’t have any stockists in New Zealand and is focused on selling through its website.

All products and their production processes, from leather stamping to screen printing, are done by different craftspeople in New Zealand.

“It means we can oversee every step of production, instead of waiting for a container to arrive from China," he says. "Quality is the focus.”

The company hopes to keep building momentum to make all the ideas it has a reality, but, "at the core of it, it’s just fun".

"People's dogs are like their family members and we can relate to that. We want to give them the best of the best.”

Woof to that.