About The Founders
Anyone who has ever experienced the joy of having a dog in their life knows how challenging it can be to choose the one that gets a piece of your heart. Do you go with the shy one with the big eyes and sweet disposition that clearly will be a loyal companion or are you more inclined to select the noisy, tail-wagging one with the big personality that might be a challenge to train but will win over everyone at the dog park? If your heart and your yard are big enough, you choose both because the unlikely pairing is a winning combination.
Amy and Tony Waara (owners of the Dog Perk) are two “rescue people” who adopted each other in 2006 after things didn’t work out with their previous “owners”. When the ink had barely dried on their Las Vegas marriage license, the economy and corporate scandal found them both in need of employment. With little more than love for each other and a mutual love of dogs they decided to launch a business from their small St. Louis Park Minnesota home.
What started as a dog-themed T-shirt company morphed into the nation’s largest producer of screen-printed dog bandanas. The couple started out with booths at small local pet-oriented events which soon led to participation in large tradeshows. FunDog Bandanas has become a favorite stop at the Minnesota State Fair Pet Center, where in addition to memorable bandanas they sell popular T-shirts and their annual labor of love; homemade dog biscuits on a stick (for those not familiar with the Minnesota State Fair, most foods come “on a stick”).
While the dog biscuits are still lovingly made in the Waara home, the success of the company has allowed them to move printing operations (after two years) to a small light manufacturing site in their community and eventually to their current 3000 square foot location. With a passion for pets, product and people, Amy and Tony are committed to foster an environment in both their home and work that is loving and fun. Employees are encouraged to bring their dogs to work with them and inspiration for new bandanas has often come from friends, family, coworkers, customers or their own rescue dogs.
An early bandana “Shut Your Barkhole” was the result of the Waara’s dog Rodney (their first of numerous Beagles) who fancied himself as the neighborhood watchdog. In addition to pop culture designs such as Game of Bones or the Hairy Pawter line the 320 current offerings include bandanas for holidays, wedding festivities and various humorous and heart-felt dog descriptors.
A commitment to rescue inspired a line that is sold at discount to animal rescues and allows for organizations to use bandanas as a fundraising method. Custom bandanas for annual walks are another niche market that they cater too. Annually they donate their less-than-perfect bandanas to rescue groups as a means of giving back to a community they are inspired by.
In addition to rescuing senior dogs (currently Daisy and Truman) they have fostered and assisted in finding homes for litters of puppies and their mothers. They have taken their personal passion and fashioned it into their company mission by making the world a happier, more positive place for people and pets by providing the largest selection of top-quality, meaningful dog bandana products.
Amy and Tony have not only fashioned dog bandanas but a winning customer service model by creating a company model where they don’t mind taking their work home with them!
By the way, the opening paragraph really isn’t about dogs at all, it aptly describes the company owners and the pairing of two distinctly different personality types that have created the perfect union at home and in the workplace.