Creating fun and modern pet products with originality and innovation
By Leila Lotfi
|The Deathstar print is one of eight prints available from the Avant Garde retractable leash collection. (Courtesy of 26 Bars and a Band)|
Sandi and Mike Kaneko, founders of 26 Bars and a Band
, wanted to move from the corporate world into a business where they could be free to do what they chose. With Sandi’s degree from FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise) and Mike’s business finance degree from USC, this husband-wife duo decided to combine their individual expertise along with their love for animals and create a pet business.
“Our goal was to create a successful company that satisfied my need to be creative and [Mike’s] natural business sense,” Sandi says. “We wanted to create beautiful, fun, and modern pet products that are completely original.”
In 2004, Sandi and Mike’s goal came to life with the opening of 26 Bars and a Band.
The first product they designed and manufactured was The Original Bling Collar which can be personalized with rhinestone slider letters. The 26 letters in the alphabet, the “band” represents the collar and the “bars” represent the letters.
26 Bars and a Band At a Glance
Founders: Sandi and Mike Kaneko
Location: Phillips Ranch, Calif.
No. of Employees: 5
Flagship Product: The Original "Bling" Collar
No. of years in business: 4
The company, based in Phillips Ranch, Calif., currently features four collections: Avant Garde Retractable Leashes featuring eight prints from pirate to princess; Identi-tees vintage-inspired, breed-specific dog tanks for small dogs; the original Bling Collar allowing pet owners to choose sparkling designs for their pet; and Toffee & the Rescues plush toys, promoting awareness on rescue dogs.
The most popular products to date are all from the Avant Garde Retractable Leash collection. These printed retractable leashes sport stylish designs including army, animal prints and more. All eight styles are available in two sizes.
“These items are selling so well that we've sold out of them four times already,” Sandi says. “Whenever we design a new line or add to our current collections, we do everything with innovation.”
In addition to creating original and innovative products, Sandi and Mike pride themselves on excellent customer service.
“We make sure all of our customers, no matter how big or small, are completely happy with our products and service,” Sandi says. “We go out of our way to make our customers happy.”
All 26 Bars and a Band products are available in pet boutiques and gift shops worldwide with distributors in Europe and Asia.
Future plans include focusing on new designs for the Avant Garde series and a re-designed website so retailers can order directly online.
26 Bars and a Band strive to make pet products that are not only adorable, but also reasonably priced.
“We have a fantastic line of products and all of our items are excellent sellers,” Sandi says. “Carrying 26 Bars and a Band in your store shows that you care about good quality and about being unique.” <HOME>
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