Meet Stacie Amador, the founder of Rebel Dawg which is the first of it’s kind fully customizable pet tag and charm shop. Each style comes in multiple colors, sizes, and with a signature mini charm of your choice to add that extra bit of swag. All of the Rebel Dawg products are hand-crafted from start to finish in their Brooklyn, New York studio. All of the materials used are sourced in the United States – including their exclusive hand-poured acrylic.
Their motto you ask? “Make it Personal” – that means any way you want it, that’s the way Rebel Dawg will make it!
What was the need for this brand?
Stacie Amador (SA): Rebel Dawg was created for my pup Mika. Within a year of adopting her, she started having severe epileptic seizures. While we were trying to figure out the proper protocol, we noticed that her seizures sometimes seemed to be triggered by the jingling of her metal tag. In addition, on a cosmetic level, the metal tags would turn her white coat grey. For these reasons, I started looking for dog tags that would be more suitable for Mika and her brother Charlie. There was nothing I found acceptable in the market. It was either cheaply made or not at all fashionable or both. There were certainly not trend-forward tags to be found. I took it upon myself to conceptualize the shapes, fonts, and mini charms I wanted- all based on the things that bring me joy within the fashion world. Also, there was not an old-school style Nameplate designed for dogs, which was something I desperately wanted. These days you can find similar products, but they’re all knockoffs.
With 30 years in fashion accessories, was it easy to transition to dogs/pet items?
SA: Super easy! We all want our dogs and kittys to be as fashionable as we are! The only immediate difference I found was making sure that there were no sharp edges or holes for canines to get stuck on- something that was not a concern for human fashion. Otherwise, my experience in observing and working in the junior market really led me on the RD path. Being both a buyer and editor in the past, I gleaned valuable skills specific to each position. I was able to find where these two positions met and create the perfect equation for being the first for spotting, executing, and bringing trends to the market. Rebel Dawg is the natural pet extension to my love of product creation and glitter.
Why are dogs and animals so meaningful to you?
SA: I grew up as an only child. I cannot remember my life without a pup or kitty in it. My mom surrounded me with stuffed animals and then when I was old enough (age 4) to be responsible to feed a pup or clean a litter box, my mom adopted a cat named Ketzle and dog named Brandy. They were everything to me. Throughout my life I have always had dogs and cats. Through times of adversity and wonderful moments alike, these precious souls have kept me going. My life is grand because of animals. Till this day I sleep on an angle in a king size bed because my two 10lb dogs take up the bottom half.
What is the design process of each Rebel Dawg tag?
SA: Since every item is 100% customizable, each Tag is made to order. It’s roughly a three day process. We design, create, hand paint, polish and assemble every Tag ourselves. We then go through a rigorous two rounds of quality check. Something super fun that we have noticed in the creation of thousands of Tags is that it’s very rare to find the same combo twice. Part of what makes Rebel Dawg so special is that the customer has a hand in the design process.
Is being made in the US important to you?
SA: Definitely. I wanted complete control of all my materials start to finish. This includes an absolute final quality check of every product that leaves our studio. Community is everything to me as well. My small part in giving back to our local community is creating a working environment solely made up by badass women. It just makes my heart explode.
How do you manage stress (holiday sales can be stressful I am sure!)
SA: My team is beyond fantastic. We all support each other and are very organized, so whether it’s holiday sales, or basic day to day operations we’ve all learned to communicate. Since our growth is so fast, we have all learned how we work as individuals and a team, how to properly allocate time, run a tight production calendar, laugh, tease each other, listen to music, have pups in the office, while still keeping to our strict hours of 10-4:30 weekdays. These are all key to managing stress and having success.
How do you juggle it all?
SA: I am dedicated to acupuncture and pilates. I have been practicing both for about 20 years and they have changed my life. My other stress reliever is walking my pups. Wandering the parks and streets just helps me to unwind from the day’s work.
Why is being a working woman important to you?
SA: My mom worked 3 jobs when I was growing up, she helped me start my jewelry company in the 90’s and was very clear that I had to take care of myself financially & holistically. I grew up with strong women, and my mother in particular was a constant role model in the virtues of hard work, drive, and dedication. Perhaps most importantly though was her blind support for my artistic endeavors. She always encouraged me to do something quirky and outside of the box as opposed to following a more traditional path that didn’t necessarily suit me. Being a working woman is important to me because I want to emulate these amazing gifts my mom gave me.
What are tips for women looking to start their own business?
- Know what you want to do and stick to it. Trust your gut and have conviction when making decisions.
- Widen your lens. Have peripheral vision.
- Don’t get tunnel vision or you’ll get bogged down when you need to see a bigger picture. Something as minor or fleeting as the color of a restaurant awning in the distance can be enough inspiration for an entire collection. Keep your eyes open.
- Passion. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you won’t do it well. Passion is key to life.
Anything else in the works?
SA: Rebel Dawg has recently launched a human component to make sure that the Rebel Dawgies aren’t the only ones looking fashionable. So far, RD has created hair accessories, jewelry, coasters, keychains, totes, and many other gift-able and personalized items.