Featured Dog Shop: The Olive Crow

1:08:00 AM

I’m happy to start the year with a post featuring a wonderful shop for dog lovers and pet owners called The Olive Crow. Diane Croston, is the owner and she personally designs and creates all the items you see from the shop.  She is a big supporter of pet adoption and is a proud owner of two beautiful, adopted dogs.  In this interview, Diane tells us how she started her business, some challenges she encountered and how she successfully got through.  She also introduces us to Scout and June, tells the story behind their adoption, and shares some tips for people who are planning to adopt a pet.

How old is your shop?
I opened my shop last February but did not start listing anything until the end of March!
What’s the inspiration behind your shop name?
I threw around a couple of names until I decided on The Olive Crow.  I wanted to use crow in my title because it is a family nickname, but had a hard time with the rest of the name.  My sister suggested olive due to my skin tone color and that was it I loved it!
What moved you to start you own dog apparel business!
It actually started when I was looking for a bed for my Great Dane-June.  Everything I found was either extremely expensive for it was made from cheap ugly fabric that I would not want to have out in my home.  I was looking for modern beautiful patterns that I would enjoy sitting in my living room and would go with my décor.  So actually it came from necessity.
Can you give us a peek on the creative process involved in making clothing and accessories for dogs?
Since I make three sizes of duvets, my creative side comes out of looking for fabric to use.  I get several home décor magazines and look for trends and new fabric companies to purchase from.  I am also in the process of adding on to the things I sell in the shop.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I love getting feedback from customers.  Some send me photos of their pet on the duvet in their home.  It’s nice to see the dog enjoying it along with their owner getting pleasure from having a bed that’s nice to look at in their home.
Is there anything you dislike about what you do?
There isn’t really much that I don’t like about running my shop.  I guess it would be when customers are looking for something specific and I am unable to get them what they are looking for.  I have had customers looking for a specific fabric or color and when I look and I am unable to find one that is made in a durable enough fabric.  There are so many gorgeous fabrics out there that I wish I could use, but many are not made to handle a dog.
What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?
When I first opened I had a decent amount of duvets listed that were not made yet.  Then one day I went to make a duvet for an order and my sewing machine broke!  I freaked out!  I immediately had to put my shop on vacation mode so no more orders came in while I looked for a new sewing machine.  I ended up getting a new machine the next day and got the order out in time.  I realized that I need to stay on top of my listings and never let my shop get behind.
Name you top 3 favorite picks from your shop:
I would have to say my Black/Denton Ikat Duvet Cover. It is the one that I have for my dogs in my house.
Next would be the Orange/Denton Chevron Duvet Cover because I can’t get enough of orange right now! I love the bold chevron print and the fabric is extremely thick and durable.
Last would be the Mingie Floral Duvet Cover.  I normally don’t like too many floral prints but this one reminds me something very vintage.  I am really into finding vintage clothes and attempting to alter them right now so this one is really sticking on me!
Your favorite dog shops:
First one is Courtanai, she makes the most adorable scarves for dogs and not to mention her cute model!  I just think that they are the cutest things!  I also love the photography from Unwantednycpets, they donate 100% of the proceeds to www.unwantednycpets.org.  The photography on this site just touches my heart.  My other favorite shop is Symmetricalpottery.  It is a husband and wife team that put together beautiful pottery and my favorites are their dog treat jars.  They are so beautiful and would look great on my kitchen counter…hope to order one soon!
Can you introduce us to the beautiful dogs who model?
Of course!  My two beautiful models are actually my dogs.  The little lady is Scout, she is a four year old lab/pitt/etc. mix my little melting pot of the dog world.  She was born on the front porch of a home in downtown Toledo. My Husband and I were looking for a puppy at the Dog Warden’s Office, and a man was bringing in two tiny black puppies only about four weeks old and we adopted her on the spot. 

Her personality is one that I have never come across before.  She loves to play but only when she wants to, she also loves to be petted but, of course, only when she wants you to touch her.  She is the feisty one of the two that likes to push the boundaries.  She is very similar to her mom! 🙂
The big beauty in my photos is June.  She is a two year old Great Dane.  I have always wanted a Great Dane but I didn’t want to purchase one from a breeder. We looked on Petfinder.com, local shelters, and non-profit organizations for three months and then found June.  We adopted her from a fantastic local rescue called Animal House Rescue. June’s story is that she came from a dreaded puppy mill; she also came with an infection on the back of her thigh the size of a golf ball!  But after her surgery (that the rescue paid for) she came home to meet her new sister Scout. Let me tell you, it was not love at first sight but they have grown to like each other.  June is our little (well I guess big) lover, with such a playful and childlike personality.
Why should people not be afraid to adopt a dog from a shelter?
A lot of people assume that there is something wrong with all the pets in a rescue or shelter.  This is completely false!  Many have been given up due to loss of their owner’s job, moving, or the most common one lack of responsible owner.  These animals are the same as if you were to go to a breeder and purchase a dog.
I know that many people are looking for a puppy of a specific breed and believe me they are out there to be adopted.  My situation is a perfect example; I found a pure bred Great Dane at three months old in a rescue.  It is possible, so take the time to look and please adopt and save a life!
Please tell us how you support animal rescue organizations all over the world?
I am little embarrassed to answer this question because I really don’t feel that I do enough for something that I feel strong about.  If you don’t have much time to donate like me there are little things in your everyday life that you can do to make a difference.  The first is to try to encourage anyone who is looking to get a pet to adopt!  Who knows you may be the influence to change their mind!
I have signed up with a web site called: theanimalrescuesite.com.  They email you once a day and you click a button to help feed animals in need.  They also have an online shop and every purchase you make helps feed needy animals.  This is a fantastic organization and I encourage everyone to sign up.
I also signed up for a Community Reward program through my local grocery store.  A percentage of every purchase I make goes to a local shelter of my choice.  I ask people to check out their grocery store to see if they have certain programs like this that you are able to sign up for.   I also have donated a few duvets this year to rescues for silent auctions, and I hope to do more of that this year.
What advice can you give to people who are considering pet adoption?
Be sure that you pick the right pet for your lifestyle.  Yes puppies are cute, but not everyone has the time to teach the necessary manners and potty train a puppy.  There are fantastic adult dogs out there that already know these qualities that you may be looking for.
For example, if your family is not that active, and you get a Weimariner puppy, you may be in for a lot of trouble.  Yes, their silver coat and amber eyes may cave your heart, but this breed was bred for hunting and requires a great amount of exercise and play time.   Your lifestyle and this breed’s requirements do not mix and you may end up sending this dog back to a shelter.  So I ask to please do your research and don’t just fall for the first set of cute puppy eyes.
What tips can you give to other dog owners?
As many other dog owners may say, patience is a must when getting a new dog.  Whether getting a puppy or an adult dog every dog will need to get accustomed to its new environment and you.  This will take time!  When you get upset the dog will sense this and end up getting strung out as well.   Find out what motivates your dog this could be treats, toys, or play time.  Finding this out will help you in the teaching process with your dog.
Businesswise, what tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?
Organization is key to keeping your shop running smoothly.  It may take a couple tries to see what works for you and your type of shop but it is a must.  Also don’t go into it for the sole purpose of only making money; you need to enjoy what you are doing to make it work.
Where else can we find you online? 
I have recently started a blog.  In this blog you get a better look into my shop and my life.
Any message to your customers and the people who support you?
I can’t thank you enough for giving me and my shop a chance.  This shop is such a fantastic outlet for me and I thank all of you for making it possible.  I would also like to thank my husband who has pushed me and supported all of my ideas along the way!
Please take a moment to visit  The Olive Crow to see all the beautiful dog beds featured on this article.  You can also check out their blog at theolivecrow.blogspot.com.
Thanks so much, Diane!

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