Cheshire apparel business celebrates all things canine
CHESHIRE — Rhonda Holloway, co-founder of The Spoiled Dog Shop, went through a chain of major life changes that encouraged her to open a business while spreading an important message.
The Spoiled Dog Shop sells apparel for female dog owners and lovers online. Merchandise includes t-shirts and hoodies with sayings like “Dog Mom,” “Dogs are my favorite people,” and “Cheshire Dog Mom.” Customers can also purchase mugs, water bottles and stuffed teddy bears with similar sayings.
In the near future, The Spoiled Dog Shop will be launching clothes and accessories for dogs.
“I had a series of losses in my life, that led me to wanting to show my commitment to dogs,” Holloway said. “I was married, my mother was battling stage four breast cancer at the time and at the same time I was trying to start a family.”
Holloway, 48, eventually learned that she would not be able to have children, which was detrimental to her marriage, and her mom lost her battle with breast cancer.
One rainy Saturday morning in 2019, Holloway had her first chance to mourn the loss of her her mom and the end of her marriage, which she said she never thought would happen.
After crying on the floor for 12 hours, her dog was there to nudge her and help get her off the floor.
“That dog literally saved my life,” she said. “She not only got me off the floor, but I realized I was a mom, I was a mom to her.”
Just before the start of the pandemic, Holloway got the idea to start a business with her sister, MeShell Cole, selling apparel honoring dogs and in support of dog moms, including women that are unable to have children and women choosing not to.
“I did my research and I noticed more millennials are opting to not have children,” she said. “They want to travel, they want to do other things and are postponing these kinds of things.”
According to Pew Research Center, in 2021, 44 percent of non-parents ages 18 to 49 say that it is not too or not likely at all that they will have children someday, an increase from 37 percent in 2018 for the same age group.
Holloway also uses her business to give back to the community. With every purchase, money is donated to help feed a homeless pet, Breast Cancer Awareness and several other organizations.
She said she wants to inspire woman of color to follow their passions and not always follow what is expected of you.
“I pride myself in being not only charitable but also a family-owned, female-owned and black-owned business,” Holloway said. “I think our voices are usually suppressed. I wanted to come out and say I can do this, you can do this, let’s get it done."