Inside Gunnel Pups HQ: Who, What, Where, When

February 1, 2023


Annie (O.G. Gunnel Pup) and Amy, founder and CEO, Gunnel Pups

Since July of 2020, Annie and I have been on many adventures together, so many of them in the ocean and in the woods. Annie is a real sweetheart most of the time, enjoying (like most dogs) many naps, snuggles, and belly rubs. But she has a feisty side too: where she barks at children, trash cans, and bicycles….and any dog who dares to be petted by her main man, my husband.

I’ve loved dogs my whole life and begged my parents for my first American golden retriever, Macintosh, who I finally got in the 7th grade and loved fiercely. Eventually I moved to Boston, and longed for another puppy, but my busy schedule prevented me from having one. Then, the pandemic hit changing life for most everyone, including me, and it was finally the right time to get a puppy.

Annie and Amy, July 2020.


The Collar

After two summers spent on the beach and in the ocean, I had bought more collars for Annie and her sister Bridie than I care to remember. But I wanted them to look their best and wear collars that reflected their beauty! Unfortunately, nothing would last: the fabric faded quickly, and the hardware always rusted staining both dogs’ necks.

So, I challenged myself to make something better: something classic, beautiful, and durable.

Faded, rusted collars. The one on the left was recommended for use in the ocean!


California and Massachusetts

The idea to sit down and research if I could design something that would work in saltwater came when I was on vacation in California visiting family. I had so many questions about how to begin, and honestly wondered if I could solve the problem. Could I really come up with something that hadn’t been done before? I am certainly no creative genius. But I stayed curious and kept researching, and before I knew it, Gunnel Pups HQ was born.

Gunnel Pups HQ is in Massachusetts and it’s anything but glamourous. But it’s where I spend a lot of time on nights and weekends. My space is transformed into a place to brainstorm, learn, take notes, dream, and sometimes wonder if I’m crazy to have started this journey. When I need inspiration, I look to my officemate who is usually snoring softly or loudly barking reminding me it’s time to go outside.

Annie, the sleepy but inspiring officemate.


Summer 2023

Chances are you’re wondering: how in the h***l could it possibly take nearly 1.5 years to create a dog collar? Honestly, I sometimes wonder this myself. For those interested, here’s a recap of how I’ve spent my time creating Gunnel Pups:

August 2021 – October 2021: So. much. online. research.

November 2021 – September 2022: Take a course to learn how the retail industry works. Spend countless hours researching materials, interviewing tech designers, graphic and web designers, and factories who would make my dream collar.

In early 2022, I selected my first factory and a few months later received my first prototype. I was on my way and so excited! That summer, the collar performed exactly how I expected and it was classic, pretty, and long-lasting! Yay!

But other challenges presented themselves: primarily, my factory and I just weren’t a good fit. In hindsight, there were red flags, but being a newbie, I continued the partnership longer than I should have.

Several months and a lot of money later, I made the decision to find a new factory and I am so glad I did.

October 2022 to present day: I found a terrific factory in Maine, willing to answer my many questions with patience and professionalism, and most importantly, deliver several iterations of my first collar to meet my standards of high quality and superior craftsmanship.

With pre-production activities nearing an end, I’m incredibly hopeful that Gunnel Pups will offer its first set of classic, beautiful, durable dog collars for sale by the beginning of the summer.

But I’ve been wrong before, so please stay patient as I work hard to deliver a collar I truly believe in and have put my heart and soul into creating.

Have you ever had a long-term project or goal that came to fruition? If so, please tell me about your journey below.