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Up Country Inc.

Posted: Jan. 30, 2008

From Pet Product News International's Archives

Ribbon collars for dogs and cats offer a new way to flaunt fashion trends.
By Leila Lotfi

“It’s no longer just about what the dog needs,” says Donna Boddell, director of marketing for Up Country Inc. “It’s about the fashion.”

Up Country prides itself on taking trends and making them fun. As the originator of ribbon collars, Up Country has become one of the leading manufacturers of high-quality dog and cat accessories in the country according to the company. 

Up Country collars
Spring-themed ribbon collars from Up Country's Mayfield collection.
All collars, harnesses and pet futons are hand sewn and finished at its East Providence, R.I., headquarters, with collars being Up Country’s most popular item.

“We offer fray and fade-resistant collars that wash well, wear well and don’t fade out,” says Boddell. 

Alice Nichols, founder and president, started Up Country in 1984 with six original collar designs. Porter, Nichols’ adopted German shepherd, was her muse and inspiration for the creation of ribbon collars.

“People thought Alice was crazy to make elaborate collars for dogs,” says Boddell who has been with the company for 13 years. “[People] bought a basic bed and basic collar … that was it!”

Now, 24 years later, Up Country offers more than 100 designs. 

“We don’t buy any stock ribbon,” says Boddell. “From day one, Alice wove her own ribbons and created her own designs.”

Up Country pet collars
Featured collars from Up Country's most popular  collection, Urban Portfolio.
Up Country’s collars are arranged by collection or theme. Arcadia represents hunting, Best in Show is breed-specific and Mayfield is spring-themed, just to name a few.

“Our most popular collection is Urban Portfolio,” says Boddell. “It started last year, and Curley Q and Lush Paisley have been its top sellers.”

Every seam in Up Country products is strong enough to hold even the strongest dog says Boddell. They cater teacup-size dogs to large dogs—anywhere from a 3-pound dog to a 150-pound dog is served.

Eighty percent of Up Country’s products are made in America. Its newest product line, Cuddle Toys, are made with soft fleece on the outside for cuddling and a squeaker on the inside for playing. Cuddle Toys are produced overseas and have been tested to European safety standards, the highest in the world. They are completely safe from lead and contain non-toxic materials.

Up Country Inc. At A Glance:

President/Founder: Alice Nichols

Location: East Providence, R.I.

Flagship Product: Ribbon collars and leads

No. of Years in Business: Since 1984

No. of Employees: 25


“Everything we do is with safety and quality in mind,” says Boddell.

For 2008, Up Country is unveiling a new pop art collection that solely follows current fashion trends. 

“Fashion percolates down into a lot of categories, and we adapt them for cute dogs,” says Boddell. “We take trends and make them fun.”

Boddell says some customers will order 12 collars at once; one for each holiday and/or season, including Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and Independence Day. 

“What we do at Up Country is create a lifestyle for pets,” she says. “We want to keep dogs on the cutting edge [of fashion].” <HOME>

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