Say hello to Amy and Bee who are the faces behind Hiro + Wolf and are the subjects of our final Meet The Maker.
We are huge fans of their products and are looking forward to a trip to Margate this summer to pay them a visit.
How did you start Hiro + Wolf?
Bee and myself (Amy) met walking Hiro and Wolf when they were just puppies. I had just graduated from London College of Fashion studying a BA in Accessories Design and Bee had a beautiful shop on Columbia Road (later to become ours). I moved into a studio above her shop and we decided that we would love to work on something together combining my knowledge of design and making with Bee’s sourcing and retail experience. There was very little on the market for dogs at this time and after lots of conversations with other dog owning friends in London Fields Park (Abigail Ahern was a big champion of our startup idea!) we decided to start working on a range of pet accessories using vibrant fabrics sourced from Bee’s home continent of Africa and all made in the UK.
Tell us about your dogs.
They are like chalk and cheese but have been best friends for over 10 years! Hiro is a Japanese Shiba Inu who is a champion sleeper. He’s independent but also incredibly loyal and very loving to those closest to him. Wolf is a Cocktail of Terriers whom Bee rescued. We call him our head of security as he’s very chatty and loves fuss.
How do you come up with your ideas for new designs?
We are inspired heavily by the African patterns and designs that inspired us on our first sourcing trip together to Kenya in 2012. However, we are always looking for new ideas for example our Wizard of Dog collection was inspired by someone saying how much Wolf looks like Toto in Margate a couple of Summers ago. I absolutely love designing new prints for us and then Bee and I build the concept for the photoshoots together.
How has the last 12 months affected Hiro + Wolf?
Everything was very scary when the first lockdown hit and we had to take the very difficult decision to close our London store as our landlords were not budging one bit on the rent. However our online business has gone from strength to strength and we’ve had incredible support from our customers around the globe. Ultimately I think it’s been an incredible learning curve for us and I think both our partnership and our business are all the stronger for it.
What are your plans for next 12 months?
We’ll be re-opening our Margate shop on April 12th which we are really excited about! We share the space with our sister brand Artisans & Adventurers and it’s a beautiful space in the Old Town with the sea right at the end of our street. We are also about to launch our long anticipated Vegan collection as well as broadening our offer for cats.
Hiro + Wolf often collaborate with other makers such as Cheyenne. What impact do these collaborations have on your business?
It’s always great having fresh energy injected into the brand and we love collaborating with people that bring new skills and ideas to the table. Cheyenne was fantastic to work with on our dog toys as she has been a customer of ours for a long time so really understands our brands identity.
Which other pet businesses do you admire?
We recently collaborated with Lords & Labradors on a range of exclusive prints which will be launching soon. They are another female founded brand manufacturing in the UK so we have a lot of respect for their business.
How do you see the future for Independent UK pet businesses?
Since lockdown hit in the UK and changed the way people worked for the long term we hope to keep seeing an increase in responsible pet ownership. Covid-19 has also made people become increasingly aware of environmental and social issues and we have seen a growing trend towards supporting British brands so I think the outlook for the future is really positive.
Follow @hiroandwolf and visit their store at 34 King Street,
Margate, CT9 1DA