Our maker of the month for September has a passion for creating with sustainable materials, giving back to her community, and loves dogs…so basically, meet your new BFF. Kate Ely is the founder of Little Donkey Supply Co., a small-batch pet supply brand making everything from eco-friendly collars and leashes to plant-based shampoo for your pup. Read on to learn more about Kate, her pups, and the ethos behind Little Donkey Supply Co.!
All of your pet products are natural and earth-friendly. What inspired you to create a line of more sustainable products for pets?
Respecting and protecting the planet we all share is important to us. Our product designs start with finding the most sustainable materials that mother nature has to offer. I wanted all components to be naturally-derived to be bio-degradable or recyclable, while also having a low environmental impact to create.
You use a variety of unique, sustainable materials in your products (like waxed canvas, cork, and hemp). How do these materials and techniques differ from the usual leashes and collars that are sold at big-box stores?
These beautiful materials give a human-grade feel to our products that you won’t find in mass-produced pet products. By avoiding the use of plastic, synthetic fibers and leather, the naturally derived products create a classic, minimalist style. Our products are sewn and assembled in small batches which gives them a special, handcrafted quality.
Some of your pieces feature colorful, durable loom-woven fabric from central America. Tell us more about where you source the beautiful patterns and the craftspeople that make them.
We have a wonderful buying partner who has long-standing, personal relationships with small time weavers in Guatemala. Each piece of vibrant fabric is woven by hand without the use of electricity. The weaving tradition is handed down through the generations in Mayan villages. We buy these beautiful fabrics at retail prices with pride knowing that these talented weavers are fairly compensated for their craft.
“Our products are sewn and assembled in small batches which gives them a special, handcrafted quality.”
We love that you donate a portion of your company’s proceeds to animal rescue organizations! Why is this cause so important to you and your company?
I have always been an animal lover with an extra special place in my heart for dogs. Ever since my parents took us to the county animal shelter to adopt our childhood dogs, it has been a place close to my heart. I volunteer regularly at our local shelter where there are hundreds of dogs who deserve loving homes. It takes lots of money and hard work from volunteers and staff to save the lives of these beautiful animals by socializing them and matching them with forever families. We are committed to this work and advocate for rescue over purchasing through breeders.
Because we obviously have to ask…tell us about your own furry friend(s) and what products are they currently sporting?
We have two amazing rescue pups who fill our lives with so much joy!! Olive (13) is a Potcake from the Bahamas who is currently wearing a faded indigo mud cloth collar. Otis (6) is a Jack Russell / Chihuahua mix. That classic little man is sporting an Earth Buckle Collar with a Burro Bandana.