For Viviana Rivera, creator and owner of Toy Doggie, creating pet products that fit the needs and preferences of Puerto Ricans and Hispanics in general gave way to materialize a dream and passion into a company that, for the past eight years, has expanded to satisfy pet parents beyond Puerto Rico.
"I am Puerto Rican, proud mother of eight dogs and a cat, and I developed a pet brand!", Viviana proudly pointed out, as she explained that she studied Pet Fashion Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York to "design, taking into consideration those details that make all our products comfortable and functional, but at the same time, fashionable".
Following this philosophy, and complementing it with the use of high-end materials, Toy Doggie has become the brand of choice, loved by thousands of satisfied customers and celebrities in Puerto Rico and abroad.
"I started out designing clothing and accessories for one of my smallest dogs. Then, this led me to continue expanding my creativity, to the point where I became certified as a canine fashion designer," said the entrepreneur, who added that "[...] since I started designing for the brand, my commitment to my pets was to find that point where I could offer ethical products that would respect each species, protect them from the elements and also keep them cute and safe. This commitment extends to each and every pet parent who has supported our brand over the past eight years," she emphasized.
Viviana expressed that Toy Doggie is her passion and a way for her to show her love for pets in every single garment she designs.
"As a pet mom, I am always focused on getting only the best, in terms of pet products, textiles and materials. I don't hold back on quality, while offering a popular price that appeals to all budgets," she said, mentioning that Toy Doggie is the leading pet accessory brand in Puerto Rico and one of the Top 25 in the United States, according to the specialized site Wag.
"All our designs are created with the wellbeing and the anatomy of the animal in mind. We, as a brand, were born with the purpose of providing functionality, comfort and style at an affordable price," said the businesswoman, who added that all Toy Doggie products are designed in Puerto Rico and characterized by the use of colors inspired by the biodiversity of the island.
"All our collections have brilliant colors that stand out on the pet, as well as original and fun designs," she said.
While discussing some people's perception of the viability of a business of this type, Viviana shared an anecdote that, far from discouraging her, gave her encouragement to undertake.
"I always remember a businesswoman I admired very much. When we told her that we were starting Toy Doggie, she said: 'but, clothes and accessories for dogs? Why for dogs and not better for babies?'. I said, 'because I think it's an unserved market and there's a real need for a non-American product. Something that is more suited to us as Hispanics and as an island'. If my thoughts were weak, I might have listened to the comment. I thank life that I didn't! We went even stronger and today Toy Doggie reaches the homes of thousands of pet parents in Puerto Rico and the United States.
Toy Doggie continues to expand and there are already plans to expand its facilities to produce locally.
"On the other hand, we wish to continue working collaborations of exclusive collections, using themes that appeal to the Puerto Rican and expatriate Puerto Rican community.
Although there is still a long way to go in Puerto Rico and the world, I have noticed more attention on the issue of protecting pets. In Puerto Rico, we have also seen progress at the legislative level with Law 154, which condemns abusive behavior towards animals. Working in the canine sector, we have met and collaborated with other people who also feel the same responsibility and love for pets," she concluded.
Toy Doggie products are available at all Walmart stores in Puerto Rico and online at Walmart.com and toydoggiebrand.com.