Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Interview | Morgan Cummins, Houndworthy

Houndworthy provides discerning like-minded individuals with the finest selection of quality dog goods ever assembled. More than just an accessories company, Houndworthy is also a collection of thoughts feelings, images and ideas about how life with dogs is inherently rewarding. 

Their products are selected carefully and everything they stock is something they either use regularly or can recommend unreservedly. These are genuinely worthwhile goods, and Houndworthy is their way of sharing them with those who will appreciate them most.

We caught up with Morgan Cummins co-founder of Houndworthy to get a bit more of an insight into the brand.

An Interview With Morgan Cummins

Who are you and what is your role in the company?
My name is Morgan Cummins and I'm the Creative Director and co-founder of Houndworthy.

When was Houndworthy founded and by whom?
Houndworthy was launched in June 2013 by myself and co-founder Jo Holdaway.

What was the reason for starting Houndworthy?
We came to the realisation that there wasn't really anyone looking at the dog owning lifestyle in a way that genuinely reflected what it is like to be part of this great fraternity of dog-lovers. When you live with a dog, you truly are part of a lifestyle that experiences the world differently than those without a dog; you spend a lot more time outdoors, you tend to be incredibly social, and you're constantly engaging with not only everything around you, but also with the crazy little maniac running around at your ankles (sometimes its a big maniac). 

We concluded that having a dog was every bit as much a lifestyle choice as surfing, or camping, or running, or any of the usual lifestyle pursuits. In fact, more often than not, you probably get involved in all of the above, thanks in part to your dog. The dog shopping experience on the other hand, was nowhere near as enjoyable or rewarding, so we decided we were going to change that. We developed the HW idea as somewhat of a reaction to all the twee, girlie stuff that seems to be how the vast majority of dog retailers (and manufacturers) communicate. Visually, verbally, tonally: everything seemed either very childish or very unsophisticated, permanently stuck on repeat using cute terms like pooch, woof, pups, doggies, etc. which kind of felt like it alienates guys. Over half the people I ever encounter walking their dogs are guys, yet I know for a fact that 99% of online dog stores would instantly make a guy think "what the hell am I doing on this lame site!!!???". We figured we could fix that. Make a shopping experience that didn't reduce things down to kid-replacement levels, and where guys and girls, young and old, could appreciate the cooler aspect of owning a dog.

We believe dogs are incredibly worthwhile creatures, great friends, and awesome companions. You choose your dog and they choose you. So why aren't the goods that you use with them treated with as much respect? Houndworthy is our way of filtering out the crap and providing other dog owners with a collection of great canine gear that not only looks great, but also is outstanding in terms of quality and design.

What is the first thing you do when you get to work?
Double Espresso Macchiato, usually with a dash of cream and one brown sugar. Jo invariably draws the morning shift for dog walking and the boys always get a good run-out with her first thing each and every day. While she's out trying to knock the wind out of our two terrier-poodle crosses, I get stuck into the multitude of things that need to be done in order to keep a business like ours firing on all cylinders. Email, social media feeds, PR meetings, supplier/partner phone calls, cleaning my teeth, you name it, I'm doing it. And often in no particular order.

Could you tell us what a typical day at Houndworthy HQ is like?
Orders from the previous day are sorted, packed and sent out first thing in the morning. We maintain our own social media feeds so these are essentially "always on" and have to be tended to throughout the day (and night). But we both enjoy this aspect of running an online business, and because Houndworthy really is much more to us than just a store, we both really like investing time and effort into getting to know who our fans are and why they enjoy engaging with our brand. 

Jo does the majority of our photography and it is a never-ending requirement for a visually-driven brand like ours. In between all this design and brand-building effort, we also keep very open lines of communication with our suppliers who are all over the planet. We spend a lot of time on Facetime and Skype!

How do you go about sourcing and selecting the quality goods you stock?
We try and trust our instincts. So many companies say they "scour the planet for the very best blah blah blah" but we know that it isn't really about searching relentlessly. It's about finding simple, well conceived products that can stand on their own merit once you give them a platform from which they can be admired. Houndworthy is our platform, it's our way of showing others the goods that we think are cool, we think will do a job, and are stylish choices that will live up to expectation. It's not always about being the most expensive or the most "luxury" thing available. Our goods are things we simply believe are good.

Tell us a bit about why you stock goods for dog owners as well as their four legged friends?
Life with dogs means you do loads of stuff together. You're outdoors together. You walk together. You play together, you go on road trips, you travel, you do so much stuff together. You head into town together, you meet friends together. Over time, you start to realise there are things you tend to always  have on you when you're with your dog. We figured our store wouldn't be complete if we didn't provide some of the things we think make life with a dog easier or more enjoyable. Excellent people goods that go well with our fine collection of hound goods.

Is there plans to open up a brick and mortar store?
Houndworthy has the potential to be many things in many places and that may include retail locations when the time is right. We have our eye on the long game with this business and anything is possible. Dogs are the most pervasive companion animal in human history, and they are everywhere we are. Houndworthy can be too.

What does the future hold for Houndworthy?
We are building the world's most recognisable dog brand. That is our goal. If you ask anybody to name a famous dog brand, or any brand to do with owning a dog, they can't. At best they might start naming dog food brands. For us that's lame. We are going to establish Houndworthy as a globally recognised company that celebrates all that is great about owning a dog. And we'll do it with a level of style, authenticity and honesty that we don't believe exists in the market right now. We're going to change dog retail for the better!


Thanks Morgan, for taking the time out to help us better understand the inner nature of things at Houndworthy. We wish you all the best for the future.ACM

1 comment:

  1. Houndworthy is such a cool store, seriously. Never come across a better one of this genre and I don't think I will. Hope they continue to build and dominate the market.