Minali Chatani Wants Your Dog to Have a Healthier, Happier Lifestyle—And Her Products Make It Happen
The founder of pet brand Wild One has made stylish gear, healthy treats, and toys her business.
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If you're a fashionista with a four-legged family member, then chances are you're already familiar with pet lifestyle brand Wild One. Beloved for their practical yet design-savvy pet gear, the company, co-founded by Minali Chatani, has been all the rage in the doggy design world since launching two years ago. "My co-founders and I have all had underwhelming experiences shopping for pets," she says. "We were consistently meeting the same three major shortcomings—products that were kitschy, overly outdoorsy, and/or industrial in their design; white-label products with no brand recognition or trust; and constant decision paralysis caused by an overwhelming amount of product choices."
Chatani, who grew up in Jamaica raising birds, cats, dogs, and guinea pigs, now spends her days designing chic and efficient dog accessories for aesthetic-conscious pet parents, including leashes, carriers, and more, with her two-year old rescue cat, Otis, by her side. "We're building a one-stop-shop for dogs, so while we're best known for our Walk Kits, we offer 26 best-in-class products across the six categories of Walk, Home, Carry, Toys, Grooming and Treats."
Like so many successful businesses before hers, Chatani says the idea to create Wild One was born out of necessity. "Being that my co-founders and I are all from start-up backgrounds, we decided to build what we couldn't find—a brand for pet people by pet people that you can trust to make high quality essentials that look good and are function-forward," she explains. "Our mission has extended to offering a one-stop-shop for curated basics across multiple categories, making the world of pet products a little simpler and stress-free."
Laying a Solid Foundation
Chatani says it took a full year to develop Wild One's first line of products before officially launching their shoppable website in September 2018. "Simultaneously, we had secured an amazing retail pop-up location in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, which we opened a (very short) two weeks after the site launched," she says. "It made for a very hectic launch month but the pop-up was our first glimpse into how incredible our community is! We worked out of the store for months, talking to customers about our products and bringing in new prototypes to get feedback—it was one of the best decisions we made early on."
Whether it's a harness or their USDA certified organic, responsibly sourced dog treats, Chatani says that all of their products are painstakingly developed with pet parents in mind. "We consider everything," she explains. "We take our time during the product development process and don’t compromise on function or aesthetics. It's what differentiates us from most of the other pet products out there." As for their bestselling products, she says the TSA-compliant Travel Carrier ($125, wildone.com), the ultra-stylish Harness Walk Kit ($98, wildone.com), and the extra-thick biodegradable Poop Bags are among the brand's most popular.
Raising Awareness and Giving Back
Along with raising her rescue cat, Otis, Chatani also serves as a foster mom for Badass Brooklyn Animal Rescue as a way to give back to the community. "We work with them closely to rescue one dog a week—that means lifting 52 at-risk pets out of troubled environments and putting them on track to find their forever families each year," she explains. "Proceeds from sales on wildone.com go towards fueling this program."
Additionally, Wild One released a limited-edition Vote Bandana ($20, wildone.com), in collaboration with When We All Vote (WWAV), just in time for the 2020 election cycle. "When We All Vote is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization started by Michelle Obama," she explains. "They're on a mission to increase election participation, close voting gaps and change the general culture around voting." She says that 20 percent of the purchase price of each bandana—which is designed to fit both dogs and humans—will be donated to WWAV, in an ongoing effort to support voter advocacy as we speed toward the election.
In the future, Chatani says Wild One plans to expand their offerings with new colors and accessory styles, and hasn't taken the possibility of design-savvy cat products off the table, either. "We got a lot of requests for cat-specific products," she says. "I myself have been on a six-year search for a better litter box! As a cat mom myself, I'm selfishly hoping to see this on our roadmap in the future.