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How a Passion for Dogs Inspired a Thriving Handmade Leather Art for Pets

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Source: Photo courtesy of Hao Liang

Jun. 28 2024, Published 1:03 a.m. ET

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During the pandemic, Hao Liang found inspiration in her beloved dog, Akasha, and started creating pet accessories. This bond led her to create The Windy Glow, a brand dedicated to crafting leather accessories for dogs and their owners.

"My dog Akasha is a pandemic pup," Liang recalls. "I constantly browsed high-quality leather pet accessories on social media during that time. Most were made in Europe, making them expensive and slow to ship. I wondered if I could make affordable, high-quality leather accessories in the U.S. That's how Windy Glow started."

Liang's journey began with the question of why these products should not be created locally. This led her to the Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts, where she honed her skills under the guidance of a master artisan. By November 1, 2022, she launched Windy Glow's online store.

Liang's academic background also influences her approach to craftsmanship. As a Ph.D. candidate in Philosophy with two master's degrees, she combines intellect and artistic creativity in her work.

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Designing with Dogs in Mind: Creating Functional and Stylish Products

At Windy Glow, Liang balances functionality and style in every product. She designs with the needs and lifestyles of dogs and their owners. "I put a lot of love and passion into making each product," Liang says. "I make sure each piece is aesthetically pleasing and built to last."

Liang focuses on functionality by choosing high-quality, veg-tanned English bridle leather, known for its durability and rich texture. For her technique, she uses hand-stitching to ensure each piece is strong and long-lasting. This attention to detail sets Windy Glow apart from mass-produced items.

The aesthetic appeal of Windy Glow's products is equally important. Liang blends classic elegance with modern trends in her designs, making them a stylish accessory for any pet owner. With these, she has garnered a loyal following and positive customer reviews.

One customer testimonial captures the essence of Windy Glow's craftsmanship: "This shop is amazing! They brought my vision for my furbaby to life. The process of co-creating was a pleasure. They listened to my ideas and communicated promptly. The final product exceeded my expectations!”

Ethical Sourcing and Environmental Commitment

Liang is deeply committed to ethical sourcing and environmental sustainability. For her materials, she uses leathers that are byproducts of animal farming, which would otherwise go to landfills if not utilized. This approach minimizes waste and supports a more sustainable leather industry.

"Although Biothane (vegan leather) is popular these days, I refuse to use it in any of my products because it is made of synthetic plastic," Liang states. Instead, she chooses veg-tanned leathers, which have a significantly lower environmental impact than chrome-tanned leathers. This dedication to sustainability aligns with her philosophical values and the ethical standards she upholds.

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Connecting with Pet Lovers: Sharing Art with the Community

Liang's journey with Windy Glow involves creating high-quality leather accessories for pets and building a community of pet lovers who appreciate the craftsmanship and the bond between humans and their animal companions. Through her work, Liang connects with pet owners personally, fostering a sense of community and shared passion.

Liang actively engages on social media platforms to achieve this connection. She shares behind-the-scenes glimpses of the crafting process, showcases new designs, and highlights customer stories, creating a space where pet lovers can celebrate their furry friends. This engagement goes beyond transactions; it builds relationships and trust, turning customers into loyal supporters and advocates for the brand.

Positive feedback and testimonials from satisfied customers reflect the impact of her work. "To this day, we have served more than 300 customers worldwide and received more than 150 five-star reviews," Liang proudly shares. "I appreciate your continuous love and support and look forward to serving new and old customers!"

The Windy Glow’s organic growth strategy helps the business thrive and creates a network of pet lovers who appreciate the artistry and dedication behind each product. By connecting with a community that values the unique bond between humans and their pets, Windy Glow is set to be a beloved brand among pet owners.

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