Wallace and Gromit Create Dog Clothes with NI’s UrbanPup
The creators of Wallace and Gromit merged their talents with a company from Northern Ireland to make dog clothes and accessories for the global market.
Aardman, the billion dollar name behind The Wrong Trousers, Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep, reached out to Co Down man Denis Kelly in a short and straightforward email requesting a collaboration.
Now, eight months later, they are announcing the global availability of a Wallace and Gromit line of dog clothes from UrbanPup.
From his warehouse in Balloo, Bangor, Denis said the chance of his life could have passed him by.
He explained, “I’m just glad I didn’t miss this email. It was a first introduction and I didn’t know it was from Aardman, and it was only after a few messages to go- back that Aardman was mentioned along with Wallace and Gromit.
“They had seen that we were making dog football jerseys for the Northern Ireland and Scotland football team and asked me what I thought about doing a range for Wallace and Gromit.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I’m a Wallace and Gromit fan so I knew immediately who I was dealing with and it was huge. I only had to think about it for a second, just to catch my breath before I said yes.
“My stomach hit the ground because they’re absolutely huge, an award winning brand, huge in the US and all over Europe and UK and I thought it would be a big break for us if we could do it. “
Denis, 60, started UrbanPup in 2007 with his business partner Andrew Cosgrove, of Lisburn, Co Antrim.
Denis explained that the idea for the business came from a chance conversation with his daughter about Kelly’s family dog, Buster.
He said: “Buster was just a puppy and my daughter was worried he would get cold while walking so she took a little coat to keep him warm.
“It reminded me of people in London and the United States who at the time dressed their dogs in designer clothes and I thought the trend would probably come to Northern Ireland as well.
“So we started making good quality leashes and collars, coats and harnesses and sales started to go up. It was 14 years ago and we have never looked back. The demand is huge, and now we even make pajamas, onsies, terrycloth robes, and car cribs to keep dogs safe on trips.
“So teaming up with Aardman has been an amazing experience and a huge boost and now we’re ready for people to take advantage of what we’ve created together under the Wallace and Gromit brand at UrbanPup.
“We’re a big dog-loving company and we’re a dog-loving family. Sadly, our dog Buster passed away two years ago at the age of 12. He had been diagnosed with diabetes and we finally had to let him go peacefully and that was one of the hardest things to face as a family.
“We’ll bring another dog into our lives someday, but even two years later we’re still pretty raw about Buster and just not ready to have another dog yet.
“When the time comes, we’ll take the plunge and in the meantime, I guess we have to thank Buster for so much success, including being recognized by Aardman. Without Buster, we probably wouldn’t have gotten into dog clothes and dog business. ‘accessories at all.
“The Aardman team were great to work with and we continued design and production and explained that the quality has to be the same as what we’ve always put in place, it has to be practical, washable, fashionable, durable and good to look at.
“They agreed and basically let us go with our deal while they sent us the images they wanted to use and we are all very proud of the end result.”
UrbanPup’s Wallace and Gromit line goes on sale Monday, October 4 and after agreeing to operational silence on the deal for the past eight months, Denis said he was thrilled and relieved to be able to talk about the news. business.
He said, “Aardman wanted to have a Wallace and Gromit line of products that would be taken seriously, that would be fashionable and practical, so they really wanted to mix the two brands to produce this line.
“We suggested making the famous yellow sou’wester coat and hat, and although it was quite difficult to do, we did and now we have an outer coat and a PVC hat with ear flaps, both fully lined with fleece. and waterproof.
“Then we have Wallace’s sweater with a chunky knit shirt and tie that goes over the dog’s head.
“We also made a rainproof fleece lined coat, collar, leash and harness as well as the collar bandana in the same print. We already had an UrbanPup print with umbrellas that Aardman liked and with help from their design team in the emails we added Gromit in the sou’wester and his bag.
“Looking back, the whole experience has been incredible. Being invited to join this industry giant was one of those times I needed to pinch myself.
“We probably wouldn’t have approached them myself because they are such a big company and I would expect an email like me to get lost in the sheer number they have to receive. ‘they came to see us and asked us to work together was just amazing.
“It gives our brand a lot of credibility and it feels like all the work we’ve done over the years has been recognized now and it’s a very satisfying feeling.
“Our big markets right now are England, Scotland and Wales, then France, Italy, Spain and Scandinavia, we have a good market in Australia and a decent market in the US and in Canada.
“Now, after working with Aardman, we think the business will expand further and also help us put Northern Ireland on the map and that’s very nice too.”
Adam Vincent-Garland, Category Manager, Aardman said: “Gromit remains one of the most recognizable doggies in the world, so it’s only fitting that he finally has his own line of high quality pet clothing. .
“Urban Pup did a great job creating the collection in time for the new fall / winter season. Each piece features special attention to detail that fans of the series will appreciate. From London, Paris to West Wallaby Street – all over the world. world where you walk your canine friends; now animal lovers can do so in style with this fabulous and fun collection. “
Aardman is estimated to have a global value of $ 1.1 billion worldwide.