MICHELLE, BILLY & ODIN
We’re not playing around. For the first time ever, Lucy & Co. will offer toys thanks to Up Dog Toys’ beautiful and challenging design. Up Dog’s classic “Odin” toy is a modern, modular puzzle that puts the “fun” in functional.
“Our aesthetic is a bit of a reflection of our own personal home decor style, so our designs will always be what we want in our home at the time.”
Two years ago, Michelle and Billy started working in their tiny city studio apartment on something they felt was lacking in their dog, Odin’s life: cool, modern dog toys. Sure, there were lots of toy options on the market, but they were on the hunt for a hard good that challenged Odin. Rather than complain, they launched into action, creating a puzzle toy that was functional, complimented their home decor (rather than take away from it), and was unlike anything currently offered. Fueled by her obsession with dogs - especially, her Odin - and a belief that their toy was innovatively simple, Michelle left her full-time job and launched a Kickstarter campaign.
This campaign was well-received by Kickstarter funders and big publications, such as Fast Company, allowing Up Dog toys to remain independent and continue on as a small business. This was paramount to Michelle and Billy because they strive to be a design-based company that stays true to what excites them aesthetically. So, keeping their operation close to home was of utmost importance.
Design plays such a large role in Michelle and Billy’s everyday life and they take great pride in the things they thoughtfully curate for their home. They hold the strong belief that the products they produce should be well thought out in terms of functionality and that you shouldn’t have to compromise on how it looks to reach that end goal. Up Dog Toys believes that a good design will strike a balance between these aspects.
“We strive to be a design-based company where the products we produce are modern, minimalistic, have geometric touches to them (because we are obsessed with geometric shapes!) and stay up-to-date with trends.”
Up Dog Toys are designed in Seattle, Washington. It was important to Michelle and Billy that they create a high quality toy at an affordable price and they knew they could only do this through manufacturing with a trusted source in China. Keeping quality, transparency, and responsibility at the forefront of their driving principles, Michelle travels to the factory herself to oversee production, upholding that all manufacturing and material sourcing lives up to Up Dog’s safety standards.
Up Dog Toys also takes measures to ensure ethical practices within the factories, refusing to work with anyone who fails to meet their high expectations. Ever diligent, Up Dog Toys also conducts a third party U.S. based lab material testing to guarantee material safety for the dogs we love. The Odin is made from thermoplastic elastomers, which gives it both its hard shape and soft “give.” This TPR material is non-toxic, BPA free, phthalate free, and latex free, meaning your pup can play worry-free.
“Odin always seems to win employee of the month somehow - even though he is the laziest employee and just naps all day. That guy really has it figured out!”
Inspired by their five-year-old Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Odin, Michelle and Billy work to expand their product line, aspiring to create future toys that keep Odin’s eternal puppy spirit engaged and learning. Their longterm goals include helping pups close to home and at home. In addition to giving 1% of all sales to organizations serving animals in their local community, Michelle and Billy hope to adopt a rescue corgi in the near future, growing their family pack to four.
Photography courtesy of Up Dog Toys.
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