Women in Business
We chose our suppliers initially because we love their products. Over the last few months, we’ve noticed as we’ve been communicating with them, that many are entrepreneurial women, who’ve followed their passion and built a life and business around it.
Their stories are fascinating and inspiring. We’ll kickstart 2018 with Petra Jungbluth, CEO of award-winning Cloud7, based in Berlin.
What inspired you to set up your business – apart from your dog, of course?
In the beginning I didn’t actually plan to establish a brand for dog accessories. A lot happened quite unintentionally. Coming from a previous career as a fashion design designer I began to design some essential products for my own dog Johan, a senior Labrador at that time, not being too convinced what was offered on the dog accessory market. Most of the stuff was quite tacky in design and badly produced coming mostly from China. My first prototypes of dog beds and dog travel beds then got quite popular with our friends who had dogs, then their friends with dogs and it became a word of mouth thing. With that confidence, we then decided to showcase at international interior fairs and quickly had a nice selection of retailers. The main focus for the design was to do things that is minimal with a strong interior approach (not touching any doggy clichés) and to produce in the highest quality possible. Additionally, from an ethical point of view, all our products had to be produced fair trade and with sustainable materials. Motivated from the very successful start we then developed the ambition to demonstrate that dog products can actually look beautiful and be of long lasting and good quality.
Was the journey what you expected?
It is often good not to know the journey that lies ahead of you. Especially as a young and new brand founded with no external capital, it’s been a rough road to find perfect and trustful manufacturers, to deal with minimum order quantities for fabrics and other materials and to make yourself visible in the world. We went quite a big risk in the beginning with me quitting my work as a fashion designer and my husband Todd quitting his job as an Executive Creative Director job at Saatchi’s German subsidiary to manage all communication aspects of Cloud7. Now, seven years later we are feeling a little proud to have established Cloud7 as a leading global brand for high end dog accessories with a wide product portfolio, embracing all relevant product categories and with great retailer partners around the world.
What have you enjoyed the most?
It has been very fulfilling to see that an initial idea has turned into a successful brand and to find out that what we had been missing for our own dog is being shared with a large numbers of other dog lovers. I’m just very grateful to be able now to combine my general passion for design with my passion for dogs. Over the years Cloud7 has changed our lives in many ways, having moved our home and office from the city center of Berlin to the country side outside the city, where we now live with three dogs and having a great team of ten people and a total of eight dogs coming to the office every morning.
Any tips for other female entrepreneurs?
Work hard and don’t give up easily if you really trust your idea.
By Vivienne Huang