10/26/2010 at 06:00 PM EDT
When Kate Cheng and Patty Chan met in a metal class at San Francisco's Academy of Art, Chan already had her sites set on collaring the dog-collar market. Her family owned fashion jewelry warehouses in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and she wondered: Why couldn't someone design upscale accouterments for pups with the same gemstones – turquoise, tiger's eye and red jasper, among others – featured on human flair?
The duo put their artistic talents together to produce their first collar – which was embellished with scores of tiny pearls, jasper, green aventurine, amethyst and other stones sewn onto colorful leather – in 2007. "Even though it was just [after] the economy slumped, we sold that collar so well that we thought, 'Hey, this is great!'" Chan tells PEOPLEPets.com. "Then we found out that we actually had to keep coming up with new collar designs. I thought, 'Why can't we just sell this one collar for the next 10 years?'"
Since then, Chan and Cheng have been designing and hand-crafting collars together under the Dosha Dog
label. Named after Chan's pooch Dosha, a Lab/pit-bull mix, the company now sells more than 50 different models of chic collars for dogs and cats, as well as leashes and harnesses. Dosha and his sibling Porky, a pug, serve as Dosha Dog's primary models.
Other beautifully embellished collections include Half Moon (which features large, chunky gemstones on dark leather), Pebbles (circular gemstones on colored leather straps), Petals (sweet floral cut-outs sewn onto braided leather), and the new and already best-selling Happy Campers, a combination of the Petals and Pebbles looks. Prices for the collars range from $28 to $120, and each one is handcrafted in the pair's San Francisco-based production facility out of genuine leather and branded with the signature Dosha Dog tag. Metal hardware on the collars are brass- and zinc-alloy based for durability and rust resistance.
Cheng and Chan have satisfied customers in every state and have received orders from as far away as Russia, Brazil, Australia, Dubai and Taiwan. They continue to draw inspiration for their designs from Doha and Porky. "We go by our intuition [to decide] color combinations," says Cheng. "We choose what we'd like our dogs to wear." See more dog collars on PEOPLEPets.com:Aroo Studio's Crazy, Colorful Collars for True 'Collarholics'Bold, Beautiful Paco Collars Stand Out from the Pack