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Ain't no business like doggie business

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Cyndi Rollins and her Yorkie Jack sport Cyndi's latest Dogn'i creation - matching scarves. Cyndi Rollins and her Yorkie Jack sport Cyndi's latest Dogn'i creation - matching scarves.
Bangor shop makes matching pet & owner apparel

BANGOR - After years of making jackets for her dogs and other friend's dogs, Cyndi Rollins of Bangor has turned her love of animals and fashion into a viable business. This Yorkie owner creates custom made dog leashes and collars that coordinate and match with belts, headbands, boat shoes or flip-flops worn by their owner. All her fashions are made right out of her own home on Sixth Street in Bangor where her Dogn'i business is located.

"I always wanted a business of my own," said Cyndi Rollins, owner of Dogn'i. "I kind of made a list of all the things I liked to do and I got down to pets and fashion. That's how I came up with the idea of pet apparel and coordinating fashions for owners."

That was back in 2000. It took Rollins, who is a full time insurance agent, another eight years to truly launch a web site, promote her products and start ringing in sales.

"I used to [put in] two or three hours a week. Now I'm up to 20 to 30 hours a week because I also do trade shows and dog events where I have a booth and can sell the wares," explained Rollins.

Her increase in hours has also caused her Dogn'i product line, which used to consist of just doggie jackets and bandanas, to expand as well.

"The leashes and collars with matching flip flops have been very popular," said Rollins. "I make head wraps for people going through chemo so they can get a matching outfit for them and their dog. And I'm just starting a scarf line.'

This Bangor business owner can even make items that pet owners have only seen pictures of in magazines.

"I had one customer who wanted a kennel cover. She showed me a picture of what she wanted, we created it and now it's a viable product for us," said Rollins.

That customer was Lisa Eldridge of Brewer. She has an Olde English Bulldogge named Zuzu.

"Now that Zuzu has her crate cover she uses her crate a lot more and seems to enjoy it," said Eldridge. "[The cover] works and it looks great."

Business is going so well for Dogn'i that Rollins hopes to soon hire her first employee.

"Hopefully next year I'll be in a position to hire a seamstress so I won't be doing all the sewing myself," said Rollins.

In the meantime, Rollins continues to enjoy stocking up on fabric, ribbon and other supplies to create one-of-a-kind items for pet owners.

"I go onto Chanel and all the top designers' websites and see what's popular, and paisley is really popular this year. I do stay on top of the trends, which is important if you're going to be in the fashion world," explained Rollins.

Dogn'i is open Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, log onto www.dogni.com.

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