I have a theory about pet boutiques: They require access to a certain niche market to prosper. There is no way a lavish pet boutique would thrive in Brandon, Manitoba. However, Vancouver seems to hold the correct ingredients – money, urban lifestyles, and a lot of cat and dog lovers.
I decided to investigate these unusual stores. What I found gave a whole new meaning to the words pet lover. Vancouver’s pet boutiques offer sass, swank, and flash. There are doggie tuxes and gowns, designer cat collars, and even cute pet bags. I found wardrobes that were more stylish than my own clothes.
“Business has been great in Vancouver,” said Christopher Steele, co-owner of The Pet Shop Boys boutique. “It’s really high-end, and there’s a niche market for it.
“Some people appreciate the place, but think it’s too much money. But you always have that one woman who comes in and spends $2,000 on her dog.”
What are these pet lovers spending $2,000 on? I searched over a dozen boutiques in Vancouver to find out how people were dressing and accessorizing their pets. Here is what I found:
- Dog collars made from Italian leather and Swarovski crystals ($240)
- A Rolling Stones T-shirt equipped with crystals ($155)
- Small denim skirts for a pugs and Chihuahuas, accessorized with pink lacing and a studded belt ($150)
- A tiny pink ballet dress for a really tiny dog ($150)
- Pouch baby slings – for dogs ($80)
- Dog necklaces ($75)
- A leather jacket ($110)
- A Juicy Couture, faux-fur leopard print jacket ($110)
- Organic dog moisturizer and colouring hair product (to style, colour, and spike your pet’s hair) ($18)
- Fur Scents, a pet perfume ($13).
The last product seemed a bit over the top. Aren’t animals supposed to smell like animals? I decided to try it out before I judged. I bought a bottle – apple pie scented – and gave my stinky kitten a quick spray. This did not go over well. Immediately she tried to bite me, ran under the table, and attempted to lick the scent off. She spent the rest of the night avoiding my perfume and me. Needless to say we both were not impressed with Fur Scents.
Although expensive and at some times unconventional – Vancouver’s pet boutiques offer absolutely everything for a pet owner wanting to give their furry friend more than a chewy treat and a belly scratch.