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Sophisticated Pup

American Made Since 2006

Michelle O'Hollaren

Chicago, Illinois
Sophisticated Pup is a Chicago-based designer of high-end pet apparel, collars, leashes, toys and pet beds.

Tell us about your business.

Drawing upon my passion and skills as a life-long artist and designer, I created Sophisticated Pup in honor of my little pug, Penny. Penny is a survivor of Canine Liver Disease and has been a never-ending muse and the lead model for Sophisticated Pup since its inception in January 2006. My product line has grown over the years to become an award-winning design company of pet apparel, collars, leashes, toys and pet beds. Keeping things local and American Made, all of my products are designed and produced in Chicago, IL. Over the 7 years I have been in business, Sophisticated Pup has expanded it's reach to be sold in numerous retail stores across the nation and a few internationally. I am looking forward to opening up my own retail location in Chicago this summer. I strive to create unique, high-quality, beautiful pieces for pets, and for pet owners with discerning taste and a desire for top-quality merchandise.

What makes your business stand out?

Sophisticated Pup is a unique product line due to the care and attention that goes into every pet product design. Our apparel for dogs rivals products for people in the quality of the materials and detail put into the design and construction of the garments. Giving back is a big part of the culture of Sophisticated Pup as well. I am active in supporting many local pet organizations. I regularly donate to animal shelters for the ongoing care of pets in need.

What's the best business advice you've received?

"You can sleep later!" I have learned to become an extreme multi-tasker as I have grown my business. Taking advantage of every opportunity that knocks on your door can be the difference between making it and breaking it when building a small business. Also- "When you love what you do, it is not work." Isn't that the truth? Growing my business has consumed me over the years. While it is technically work, it is the most rewarding and fulfilling experience I could imagine. And- "Good things come to those that work hard and never give up." Hard work and determination is so necessary for building a company and a brand. Building a business requires more hard work and dedication than any 9-5 job and involves a lot of sacrifice along the way.

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    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winner and Audience Choice Winner announced.

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