BOLLI, now BOLLIAM, is an outdoor clothing company founded by dog lovers for dog lovers. We are passionate about these smart, loyal and beautiful animals and have a background in fashion design. So why not combine the two?
We came up with the idea for Bolli while we were getting our first dog.
While we might not have expected what would come next, we decided one day after browsing the shelters online for hours on end that we wanted a chocolate lab or some kind of lab mix. Basically, we narrowed down our choice to a happy dog that is big enough to exercise with.
Then, one sunny late summer’s day, a friend posted pictures of his vacation in Sicily. And there, they were a handful of the cutest puppies you can ever imagine right at the beach at the Kite camp. There were so many cute puppies, it was hard to pick, but we eventually spotted one.
It took two looong months of waiting to get him vaccinated and strong enough to separate him from his mother, but then we were finally able to bring him home to Munich.
In our opinion, Munich is one of the dog-friendliest cities in Europe. Everywhere you can find nice dog people, large green parks, and water close by. Even at the famous beer gardens, dogs are allowed in on a leash and wherever they please.
Since Munich is also such a fashionable city, dog owners are either very stylishly dressed and spend the entire dog walk trying their best not to get dirty, or they don’t care about their outfits at all and don’t mind getting all of the hair, drool, and dirt all over them!
Personally, I am like the second type. I’m all about having fun quality time with my pooch. My business partner Sidriti, a born fashion designer, is definitely more like the first, but of course still has a lot of fun while playing with Bolli. We’re the perfect match for a start up team: fashion and functionality. This led us to the turning point and a new chapter in our lives, and to the reason why you’re reading our story in the first place.
Many dog owners and dog walkers we spoke to face the same problem: perfectly equipped for a dog walk while still looking fashionable. We couldn’t believe how few clothes on the market offered such obvious pockets, holders, etc. We scanned the global pet supply markets and found nothing that was both fashionable and functional for the modern dog owner.
So Sidriti grabbed a pencil and started drawing some ideas. What do you really need when you’re outside with the dog? All kind of things came into our minds: leash, treats, dog whistle, pouch bags, toys, ball launcher, and more. We couldn’t forget about our human stuff like a cell phone, keys, drinks, energy bars, sunglasses, wallet etc. Everything fell into place, and we created the first prototype. We allowed some dog owners and even professional dog walkers to test the jacket and give us some feedback. Initially most loved it, but then we also demanded some constructive criticism and fully honest opinions, so we also got some negative comments. We (well, mostly Sidriti) went back to the drawing board using these comments to develop an even better jacket.
One huge advantage, besides her diploma as a fashion designer, is the fact that Sidriti was born into a textile production plant. Her father owns one of the greatest manufacturing companies in Albania/Europe, so it was relatively easy to have the first jackets manufactured.
Nevertheless, we wanted to do as much on our own as possible. We love doing new things and this was a new, exciting challenge and adventure. We also needed to partner with experts in this field to deliver a premium quality product that would last. When we delivered our first jackets, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Most people didn’t know that a product this modern looking could be this functional. That’s because we put fashion first, using Sidrit’s expertise in design and my experience carrying all of the dog treats and accessories, knowing where they should fit in her design. We especially focus on making everything environmentally friendly. Our jacket is PFC-free, which is unfortunately still very rare in today’s outdoor clothes market.
Now, we’re offering our jackets to people just like you that wish there was an easier, more fashionable way to walk their dog. Bolli is always running around of course, and he’s our source for endless inspiration.
Within one year, we went from having absolutely nothing to do with dogs to the market’s most innovative producer of dog owner clothes, globally. We’re lucky enough to proudly say that we already have customers from Alaska to New Zealand! Our customers are across the board, from ecologically concerned mothers and fathers, to everyday users like dog walkers, fully-equipped dog training schools, nature loving hikers, and many more. At the end of December, we received an email saying that a very sad woman just lost her dog but still wears the jacket. I wasn’t sure how to answer that but it makes us very happy.
We can only thank our little furry companion from Sicily that changed our destiny. We love what we do, each and every day. Business can be very demanding, but we have to put food in the dog bowl somehow! We’re always listening to our customers to see what we can improve and do better and strive to offer the best customer service.
Thank you for shopping with us and we hope to hear from you soon!