Only the best for man’s best friend. Jacqueline Prehogan, founder and CEO of Canada Pooch, launched her own dog clothing brand shortly after adopting the first of her three rescue pugs. Faced with the harsh Canadian winter and frustrated by the sparse selection of well-made, properly-fitting coats for her young child, she created a line that doesn’t sacrifice form for function. That means good fabric and inclusive sizing. The pint-sized Chihuahua and the elephant Great Dane alike have options; “The largest size of the brand” can almost fit a small horse, says Prehogan.
Durable doggy outerwear was the brand’s original focus, but has expanded to include T-shirts, hoodies, and socks. There is also a small line of apparel for humans, such as dog walking gloves with leash grips and touchscreen-friendly fingers. (Plus, matching pom-pom hats for puppies and owners, because that’s true what they say about how they eventually look alike.) Product development is built on the idea that dogs are our kin, and us They should be worn accordingly. “They deserve the same care and quality-made products we expect for ourselves,” says Prehogan. The company’s affectionate ethos clearly resonated with dedicated pet parents—a decade after launch, Canada Pooch products are sold in 5,000 stores across Canada and the US.
If you’re going to sell an eco-friendly product, he had a better job as well as its unfriendly alternative. If not, it will become irrelevant. So it should come as no surprise that Brad Lisky, co-founder of True Earth, wasn’t initially enthusiastic about the idea of laundry detergent sold as a solid bar in an iPhone-sized package.
Then he tried the product, which is patented by a member of his extended family. The strips worked so well that he teamed up with his friend Ryan McKenzie and McKenzie’s friend Kevin Hinton to bring the product to market. They thought 150 subscription orders would start rolling in their first month; They ended up with 1,500. Strips are eco-friendly in many ways. Not only do they nix the plastic of clunky plastic bottles, but because they weigh so little (less than three grams per strip), they’re far less fuel-intensive to ship. And it’s not greenwashing—the product is less wasteful than traditional detergent. “Our competitors are focused on manufacturing and productivity,” Liskey says. “True Earth focuses instead on reducing the environmental impact caused by the quality and usefulness of our product and its transportation.”
Artica to live
The internationally bestselling book on Danish coziness—The Little Book of Hygge—made a great deal about lighting. We can’t be comfortable, the authors argued, if our home lighting is turned off. The recent growth of Montreal-based lighting company Artica for Living speaks strongly to the truth behind this idea. As people around the world cozied up to stave off the pandemic-era blues, Artica opened a new warehouse that doubled its storage capabilities. The pandemic has resulted in a 20% increase in revenue, which is significant for the company that has been around for 14 years. Artica began with a focus on candles (which, by the way, is also frequently emphasized in hygge) and homeware, and has since grown to specialize in durable, well-priced light fixtures. A new line of smart lights interact with voice assistants—in an age where we’re more careful than ever to touch things. “Artica product development is all about discovery and optimization,” says CEO and co-founder Mark Couture. “We discover ideas around the world in our industry and others, and we optimize for better performance, cost, and user experience.” With 50 patents, 300 products, and sales in over 20 countries, they seem to have found the right approach.
country chic paint
Anyone with a Pinterest account knows that refurbished thrift-store finds are better accomplished by a flashy paint job. Country Chic Paint—a company focused on the DIY market—offers the perfect option to help consumers who don’t have their next dresser come in flatpack from a global behemoth. There’s a broad enough—but non-intimidating—range of 55 shades, from muted neutrals to zingy brights, and a helpful menu of “color recipes” for mixing new colors. All are matte and “chalk-style,” which not only gives a rustic shabby-chic result, but also helps the paint go on smoothly with minimal preparation.
The company launched in 2014 but saw a serious spurt of interest over the pandemic, when we all had time to think about whether better furniture could make us happier than we stuck inside. The founders, husband-and-wife team Jan and Roseanne Corteland, attribute their success to good listening skills. “Product development takes a very collaborative approach in Country Chic Paint,” says Rosanne. “Our customers share what they are looking for in a particular product, and then we work towards creating the product they want to buy.”
Create super-precise technical equipment and make it easy for humans to use: These principles are at the core of RBR’s strategy for developing oceanographic equipment. “When RBR moves, we move fast, and our customers know we always put their best interests first,” says company president Greg Johnson. “This naturally leads to a constant stream of new developments that enhance the line of instrumentation we manufacture.” Those devices are needed to function everywhere from the deepest parts of the ocean to the polar ice caps—in other words, inaccessible places where reliability is important, and user-friendliness just isn’t a good feature.
Ocean health is a leading indicator for climate change, affecting water temperature, pH, salinity and dissolved gases, among other characteristics—all of which are measured by RBR instruments. and its products are built on a modular platform; Components can be easily changed to meet the specific needs of researchers.
Dr. Leon Laslow-Baker, founder and CEO of DB’s Organics, is probably exactly the kind of person you’d want to cook for your kids: He’s a medical researcher and expert on how toxins in the food chain can harm children. How do they affect health? Seeing her kids experiment in the kitchen one day, Laslow-Baker decided to launch a range of snack products that she would feel comfortable serving to her family. But she was also attached to the virtues of convenience and wanted a snack that was as nutritious as it is easy to eat in busy moments. She opted for Freeze, a product that’s reliably beloved by little ones and mercifully free of preparation time.
As you might expect, her fries are 100% organic fruit—no artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, or any of the top eight allergens that are a cause for concern for parents. Thanks to a special texture process, they have a remarkably smooth feel. “We like to say that we’re expanding our kids’ color ‘palates,’ by teaching them that real food can actually be fun,” says Laslow-Baker.
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