Behind the Bar,
Company Spotlight: Pucci & Catana Luxury Pet Boutique Posted by: emy_h
Pucci and Catana Store Florida
Ashley Scouller doesn’t mind if you’re curious about the name Pucci & Catana. You might be thinking Italian, high fashion, luxe living, or the next Dolce & Gabbana? She’ll then flash her dazzling smile, chuckle sweetly, and draw you in by starting with, “Do you like dogs and cats?”
Pucci & Catana is the brainchild of Ashley’s mother, Laura Scouller, whose love for animals and fashion culminated with the opening of her luxury pet boutique in August 2010. Always fashion forward, Pucci & Catana carries couture pet apparel and accessories including designer collars and leashes for dress, travel, and play.
Pucci & Catana introduced the 26 Bars & a Band to their product roster shortly after their first pet boutique opened in Naples, Florida. Ashley adds, “I was searching for modern looking retractable leashes and instantly fell in love with 26 Bars product design and branding. Funny enough one of the first harness and leash collections we ordered was called Fifth Avenue, which is the street name for our Naples location and has the same black and white color scheme as our front window curtains and store décor. That was three years ago and since then, 26 Bars has continued to be a staple in all of our locations. Currently, we are #obsessed with the meet matte capsule collection of retractable leashes—the soft texture and design are perfect for everyday walks.”
In just 3 years, Pucci & Catana has gained an impressive reputation and a loyal following as the high end pet retail destination in Naples—and now in Palm Beach. We chatted with Ashley, who serves as the general manager and creative force behind the stores’ day-to-day operations, about what makes Pucci & Catana stand out and what ‘s next in their expanding retail business.
1. What is your professional background? What prompted you to start a small business?
We are a family-owned business, and animals have always been a part of our lives, for work and pleasure. We own Cavan Hills Veterinary Services, a 24-hour veterinary hospital in Canada, which also is the base for our nonprofit dog rescue, Coconut Retrievers. My mum came up with the concept & name “Pucci & Catana” in early 2010, when we were throwing around ideas for our first retail venture.
2. Why specifically did you want to open a pet boutique?
We wanted a lifestyle brand that mixed fashion and pets. So with a little inspiration from our newly rescued pup Pucci, a Boston Terrier, our family came up with Pucci & Catana as the name for our first luxury pet boutique in Florida. Of course, Pucci, as our mascot, became the face of Pucci & Catana. However, the second half of the name “Catana” appeals to the feline inclined, as our goal is to make our store a retail destination for dogs and cats. It’s very catchy and turned out to be an excellent choice as customers love snapping photos. Pucci was a very special little terrier and taught us how to live in the moment. He is no longer with us will always be our inspiration and store mascot. We recently designed our logo after Pucci the Boston Terrier in a pop art theme to redefine our store’s luxury image with a touch of fun.
3. How would a consumer experience customer service differently at your retail location(s)?
I surround myself with a passionate and free-thinking staff. Together, we strive to give the best customer service and offer the best products on the shelves at P&C. The most important thing is to know what my customers want—which also tells us what they are not looking for. I love to spend hours chatting in the stores with customers or reaching out to them though Facebook and Instagram. Working in a luxury pet boutique is very different from operating a retail store for people. Modern pet parents come into our store with their phones out ready to show us photos of their pets and excitedly tell us stories about them. This creates a very relaxed environment for both the sales associate and customer. We chat about everything from their pets to travel, life, food and family. Since Florida is a renowned travel hotspot, we have the privilege of meeting people from around the world wanting to pamper their pet, share stories, and make new friends.
4. What do you look for in a company or product before putting an item in your store?
At P&C, we look for quality and product innovation, and we need to feel excited about a company or item. We are lucky to have a full house of rescues who enjoy testing out new products—especially the squeaky ones. As a young buyer, I find myself constantly networking with vendors and designers and searching for inspiring products to add to my Boston Terriers’ Pucci & Pho’s dream closet. Pucci and Pho are both rescued Boston’s—Pucci from Canada and Pho (named after my favorite Vietnamese soup) from the Naples Humane Society in Florida. The Internet makes trotting the globe to find the latest trends much more accessible although I still love the traditional methods of travel to exotic locations. A few years ago, I was in Bangkok and was completely blown away by the underground pet accessories markets that dotted the city. The Asian markets are more advanced in pet fashion than the US. Most recently, we introduced a new line of collars full of wool fabrics, chains and ornaments and uber plush beds that come from a designer’s “Fantasy World” in Hungary. As our staff routinely say: We are #obsessed!
5. What is your favorite part about working in pet products?
This one is easy. The relationships I make along the way: the people who love their pets and the stories that follow. We are a very socially-driven store, so new friends are found daily!
6. Tell us about the company’s involvement in the community in the areas of pet adoption and giving and sharing opportunities.
We pride ourselves in rescue work. Being a pet boutique, many people think we sell puppies, but this is not the case. We rescue them and then give them fashion advice. Since Pucci & Catana was organically created along side our Canadian nonprofit dog rescue, the “Coconut Retrievers,” we absolutely thrive on working with and supporting local shelters. Our first major partnership was with the Naples Humane Society (NHS) on the West Coast in Florida. We adopted a Boston Terrier through NHS just after opening our first Pucci & Catana location. Since our grand opening in August 2010, we have worked on numerous fashion shows (most recently with Nordstrom), charity events, and fundraisers. On the East Coast of Florida, we have been involved with Tri County Humane Society, which covers the counties of Palm Beach and Miami-Dade. We were proud that their pups modeled our fashions for our Worth Avenue“Red Carpet Fashion Show.”
7. What many pets do you have and how did you come to own them?
We have many animals. We live in Canada and Florida, and between the two places, I’ve lost count! But to give you some idea, we have 21 horses, 9 dogs, 10 cats, a donkey, koi fish, and a veterinary clinic full of adult cats who need forever homes. We rescue all of our animals. As we like to say: “True love is rescued.”
8. What characteristics or principles have sustained your company?
We are always there for our customers. Our stores are open 7 days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Since we’re open late daily, we create a fun atmosphere that is inviting featuring stellar décor with black leather couches under crystal chandeliers and music from a super, upbeat iPod playlist (of which many customers ask for a copy). Our favorite mixes range from our friend DJ Lindsay Luv in Los Angeles and Rihanna to Nikki Beach from Saint Tropez.
In season, we throw weekly “whine & cheese pawties” to encourage customers to have fun while they shop for their pets! Creating an enjoyable retail experience by setting the right atmosphere has been key for us since day one, as having a good time and shopping for your pet go very well together.
For our most ambitious and luxurious event to date, we hosted the “Red Carpet Style Pet Fashion Show” on Worth Avenue as a part of Fashion’s Night Out Palm Beach. We rolled out the red carpet and had dogs from all across the country audition (as well as local rescue pups looking for homes) to model our fall 2012 collections. We hired LaFrance Films, a young innovative company, to capture that evening as it was a very special one. Worth Avenue is not closed to traffic on a regular basis, and our runway stretched from Chanel’s front door to Tiffany & Co.
9. How do you see the pet industry changing in the future? What trends are you seeing in 2013?
The pet industry is evolving and changing daily all over the world. People love their pets and want something special and unique for them. The trend that I see already happening is eco-friendly fashions. People and their pets are more conscious of what they are buying and where it is coming from. We have an “Eco Friendly” section on our web store to cater to this growing market. Another trend is uniqueness. We carry so many unique pet products, and it would be unfair to name just one. Last week, I would say our Snout Stix would be the most unique. It’s chapstick for pets with a dry nose. Next week, I predict the Cat Nip Bubbles will be my favorite. Yes, the bubbles that you blow into the air and cats chase around until they pop. Our Susan Lanci line of ultra-suede (a micro-suede that can be found in exotic cars) harnesses, collars and leashes is constantly growing. We carry her entire line and pride ourselves in having her newest designs. We get the most repeat business from our Susan Lanci collection since her products are made (in California) with the highest quality in mind and designed to make everybody ask “Where did you get that?”
10. Are there plans to open more Pucci & Catana boutiques in the US?
Yes, we plan to expand to other fashionable cities in the US and grow Pucci & Catana into a lifestyle brand for your pet. With the addition of our web store in 2011 and combining great style and a fun atmosphere, our store Pucci & Catana has quickly gained a following among celebrities, trendsetters and pets worldwide. Our most recent addition is our new location at CityPlace in downtown West Palm Beach, Florida. We will be moving in and throwing one of our infamous parties in mid June! You can follow us on Facebook & Instagram for updates on the new location, behind the scenes photos, secret sales, VIP parties, photo contests and pet fashion shows.