The last few years has seen a huge increase in the number of luxury dog bedding companies giving dog owners much more choice when it comes to buying a smart new bed for their dog. Invariably, the luxury label goes hand in hand with higher prices. So is it worth paying that extra money for a dog bed that looks fabulous? We asked Christine Chau, Italian Greyhound fanatic and co-founder of Charley Chau (www.charleychau.com), a small British business that specialises in designing beautiful bedding for dogs.
“No. (laughs). I guess that’s not what you were expecting from someone who runs a luxury dog bedding business.”And I admit it wasn’t.
“I don’t think anyone should buy a dog bed just because it looks great. There are lots of pretty dog beds out there that are sold as ‘luxury’ but a lot of them are made in the same factories that make the £20 dog beds you find in your local garden centre. The kinds of beds you want to throw out after three months because they’ve gone lumpy and bumpy.”
“Looks are important to lots of people, me included, because we live with our dogs in our homes and dog bedding becomes part of our home interior. But what has to come first is the comfort of the dog.
“What I would pay more for, and what Charley Chau customers are happy to pay more for, is a dog bed that’s been designed with the dog’s comfort in mind. A bed that will be uber-comfy not just when it’s new but months and even years down the road after its been bashed around and spun in the machine a zillion times. And if that bed looks great in my home then it ticks all the boxes!
“At Charley Chau our design mantra is cosy, stylish and practical. And quality is a given. We’re not interested in making dog beds that just look good.
“It took us two years to develop our Deeply Dishy Bed. Two years to design what looks like a simple rectangular dog bed!” Chau is indeed referring to a simple rectangular dog bed – it is beautiful, but simple and rectangular all the same.
“But it’s not that simple if you don’t want the mattress to go lumpy, or the sides to collapse, or for the person who has to wash it to stand there struggling to get the covers back on after a wash. And it’s definitely not that simple if you want this bed to last – not just months but years.
“The feedback we’ve had from our customers who have the Deeply Dishy for their dogs has been amazing and proved to us that it was worth taking the time to get it right.
“Our customers are the best advertising we could ask for our small business. Three years ago we started by chance when I made a Snuggle Bed for my own dogs and was inundated with requests after posting a few photos on Facebook. Now there are Charley Chau beds and blankets in more than 20 countries around the world and a large part of that is because our customers are happy to recommend us - they’re happy that their dogs are happy and they tell their friends.
“If you buy a ‘luxury’ dog bed that is nothing more than a bog standard dog bed with a pretty fabric on the outside then the chances are you’re not going to be very happy with how much you paid for it in the end. And you’re certainly not going to recommend that bed to your other dog loving friends. But if you choose carefully and buy a luxury dog bed that’s been designed to be super-comfy and to perform over time then that’s a different story – it’s a good investment, for you and your dog!”
Charley Chau will be at Crufts 2014, Stand 5-158. For more information about Charley Chau beds and blankets visit www.charleychau.com.