Our Favorite Things – Atomic Collars Interview

December is lurking, just behind the turkeys, with attempts at S**W to add a little extra chaos to traveling for the holidays. (Be safe with this week!)

November started the flood of the merry holidays, trimmed in tinsel & gift giving. Inspired, THE Holiday Gift Guide was launched. Aligned with the Holiday Gift Guide is a series of interviews with the businesses behind our favorite things.

CuddleMutt, Val’s Brew Treats & the book Dogs of Minneapolis have all been featured.

Time for another! Atomic Collars!

Our favorite things: Atomic Collars!

Hello Cahlean!

Cahlean is epically amazing, with not only the talent you love and know as About A Dog Photography, but she sews BOMB accessories for dogs as Atomic Collars.
(Yes giving yourself an interview about your own business is a bit unique, it works out in the end haha!)

How did you get started?

It was a bloody cold day, Jan or Feb if recall is correct. Bender (at the time a foster) needed a stylish martingale collar. Locally, the options were super limited to black, blue & red inch wide. A trip to the thrift store, a bold red necktie partnered with a tan men’s belt, sewn together with vibrant red thread and the first collar (Atom) was conceived. 

Where did you get the idea for Atomic Collars?

With the collars being upcycled especially from vintage (sometimes fugly) neckties, it seemed fitting to have a “retro” name. Atomic always carries the feeling of pinups, bowling shirts, and just enough sass. There wasn’t a ton of wide (1.5 to 2 inch) collar options, especially for girls. We wanted to offer collars that were durable and wide enough to be stylish

What’s unique about Atomic Collars? What sets you apart from others in your industry?

The material for the collars is upcycled found fabrics – everything from neckties, skirts, suit jackets, leggings, even dishcloths. Its a process of giving new life to a garment or fabric source. Plus the amount of collars or scarves from an item is limited so it makes each one unique.

* The metal bits & most of the webbing is usually new, so as to ensure durability. 

What is something that surprised you about owning a business?

How different it was running a retail business vs a photography business (About A Dog Photography). Inventory is a THING! The ideal is a new pattern launch (on the website), give it a lovely picture and call it good, when actually there needs to be a count of how many bits of the new pattern there is!

Did you have any early challenges? If so how did you overcome them? If not, what is something you’ve accomplished with Atomic Collars that makes you the proudest?

Early challenges was with the sewing machine (bobbin tension oh vey!) and finding strong d rings. Rings from men’s belts were fairly easy to quest for, most of them aren’t designed to take the full force of a 65+ dog hitting the end of the leash in a chase after a squirrel. We’ve found welded ones that should handle everything a dog can get them into. 

What is some advice you’d give someone just starting out? 

It can be a ton of work, but its also super rewarding to have people excited about the collars and scarves and seeing dogs rocking things you crafted!

What is you most popular product?

Martingale collars. A close second would be the newest addition – scarves!

Do you have any pets?

Indeed – the foster fail who inspired the start of Atomic Collars, the pittie Bender. And a boxer mix named Axel (he’s the inspiration behind About A Dog Photography).

Tell us about the humans behind Atomic Collars:

Cahlean (waves). I’m the creative gusto behind all the ideas at Atomic Collars, the lover of dogs and milk glass cake stands, everything cider and the warmth of summer, photography, sewing and collecting a horde of vintage patterns.

Where can we find Atomic Collars?

atomiccollars.com as well as the socials IG @ atomiccollars Facebook @ atomiccollars

We’ll also be at Inbound Brewco on Dec 1st (THIS SUNDAY!) for the “Maker & Baker” event as the Maker! Swing out from 12-4 and pick up a bomb collar and a smart scarf!

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