Scottish family-owned luxury dog accessories start-up sees fast growth during pandemic

Mairi Robb with Stella

STOCKY & Dee, a luxury dog accessories firm created in Scotland in 2019 by husband and wife team Mairi and Chris Robb, is experiencing rapid growth, partly as a result of the surge in pet ownership during the pandemic.

The start-up, founded from home, has thrived during lockdowns with increased demand from new and existing dog owners. Stocky & Dee moved into its dedicated studio in Leith at the start of 2021, after the business outgrew the first site it had moved to in Edinburgh when it had become too big to run from home.

It now employs four full-time members of staff, including a textile designer and it has taken on a textile intern. The firm appointed Eddie Robb as chairman last year to offer advice and guidance based on his many years working with several start-ups in different sectors.

Stocky & Dee has sold more than 6,500 products and fulfilled 2,300 orders over the last year. Popular products include customisable collars, leads, harnesses and even doggy bow-ties.

The business was the brainchild of textiles graduate and dog lover Mairi, who studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee. She has since expanded the firm during the pandemic with her husband Chris, a professional golfer who was unable to focus on in his usual career as tournaments were cancelled and travel restricted.

Mairi was inspired to start designing dog collars while running a gift shop in Royal Deeside before moving to Edinburgh. Their Olde English Bulldog Stella is the muse of Stocky & Dee. The brand name combines Stockbridge in Edinburgh, where the family now live, with Deeside, where they come from.

Stocky & Dee focuses on sustainability, tailored customer service from building relationships with clients and their dogs, and providing high-quality, stylish canine products. All products are handmade to ensure a perfect fit and are manufactured using UK-sourced yarn colours and patterns. Its products are currently mainly sold through its own website. They are also stocked in a small number of retail outlets in the UK, US, Norway, and Belgium. Stocky & Dee is looking to increase the number of retailers it works with and is currently finalising discussions with a major European brand.

From the outset, Stocky & Dee has been committed to giving something back through charity initiatives. In December 2019 it created its Pup-Cycle campaign to limit waste by recycling collars that it donates to a different dog home every month. It also created a Rainbow Collection during lockdown on the back of the popularity of the NHS rainbow image, with half the profits of sales of those collars going to a cat and dog home.

Mairi Robb, Stocky & Dee co-founder, said: “Asa textile graduate and dog lover, Stocky & Dee has given me the chance to use my skills and passions to build a successful family business. We started to grow before the pandemic hit, but demand has surged beyond our expectations as a result of the growth in dog ownership over the past 18 months. There was clearly a gap in the market for high-quality, bespoke dog accessories and we have helped to fill that space.

“Our dogs are an extension of our families, and we want to reflect their unique personalities through our products. We’ve seen a rise in owners wanting to invest in fashionable options for their pets, and we didn’t feel there was anyone out there offering bespoke, handcrafted accessories for their four-legged friends.”

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