Kennewick business designs custom clothes for canines

An online business based in the Tri-Cities ships all over the country to provide custom creations for people who want to dress up their dogs.

Kori Pollington of Kennewick put a new leash on retirement life by opening an online boutique featuring custom dog apparel.

K9 Haberdashery offers custom outfits designed to wear frequently, and not just for parties or parades. “I think we have our pets way too little of time and we need to enjoy every single minute with them,” said Pollington, who launched her online store in 2019.

Ranging in price from $25 to $50, the outfits can take up to two days to make, sewn by hand and custom fit to each dog’s measurements.

Pollington got her start in textiles in middle school when she took a home economics class and continued learning the trade with courses at Washington State University.

She sewed on the side just for fun, sometimes making clothes for her children. Her grandmother was a professional seamstress.

“It’s just something I’ve always done,” she said.

But it was when she got her first dog, a dachshund named Rusty, that her talent and passion for dog clothes first developed and she found she could market her skill.

“I would see pet clothes in stores and think, ‘I can make that and I’d do it better,” Pollington said.

Her first outfit had a Seattle Seahawks theme.

“When I realized I had turned a hobby into a business, it was special. When I first sewed my label into fabric, I said, ‘This is the real deal.’ It was a moment.”

Whether a dress, jacket or Halloween costume, all of the outfits are lined to make them sturdy and comfortable for the dogs to wear, including harnesses and hats.

“Dogs will wear hats if you do it right,” she said.

Each clothing item features a metal attachment or opening for a leash to encourage ease of use, in addition to a thick piece of Velcro to hold it on snugly.

“If dressing them up helps you go to a party with them, or a parade with them, it’s just that much more special,” she said.

Kori Pollington poses with her dogs Rusty and Sophie in their Seattle Seahawks 12th Man costumes. (Photo by Wendy Culverwell)

Retired after 30 years with the Pasco School District, Pollington launched the business upon the encouragement of friends who saw her outfits and told her there’d be a viable market for them.

Most orders come to Pollington through her website, which was convenient during the pandemic, as she wasn’t relying on a storefront or face-to-face sales.

Customers who likely Googled “custom dog clothes” will quickly find Pollington is up for any challenge, whether it’s a costume to turn Samoyeds into German Shepherds, or a French Bulldog into a plate of fries.

A camouflage jacket included military patches and another outfit was made out of work shirts originally intended for humans.

She ships all over the country and also sells off the rack creations at a variety of price points during the summer at the Kennewick Farmers Market and hits the holiday bazaar circuit.

It can take up to eight hours to complete one of the most complicated outfits she prices for $50 and turns around within about a week.

After acquiring a second dachshund, a rescue named Sophie, Pollington enjoys entering the pair in costume contests or making appearance at parades.

Rusty took home the top prize twice at the Tri-City Americans Wiener Dog Dash. One of Pollington’s prized creations is a replica of the heritage jerseys worn by the Ams and signed by the entire team during one of the seasons. Last year they donned steampunk costumes, complete with a fur-lined cape and mini metal gears, and this year the his-and-her duo went as Kermit and Miss Piggy.

While Rusty and Sophie provide inspiration, Pollington doesn’t always have a vision when she sits down at her sewing machine. “I think, ‘What does this fabric want to be?’ ” and she lets the creativity start to flow.

She can add personalization and embroidery to any creation. Most orders are for small dogs, often a Maltese, Chihuahua or Yorkshire terrier. The fall holidays are her busiest time, which then rolls into Valentine’s Day.

Pollington put her sewing skills to use during the start of the pandemic, selling and donating hundreds of cloth masks she designed for ease of use by children. She doesn’t have a count for the pup pieces she has made but estimates it to be in the hundreds.

“This isn’t serious stuff, it’s all about just having fun with your pets, and enjoying them.”

K9 Haberdashery:; 509-430-5801; @specially4dogs.

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