Bal and Brauser first thought of starting Dog-E-Glow after founding Direct Source China – a company headquartered in Shanghai, China, which aims to be a trusted manufacturing source for U.S. businesses – in 2008.
“After about two years of working with many U.S. companies who have their own products, Brandon and I decided we wanted to bring a product that was innovative to market ourselves,” Brauser said. “We were doing it for so many people that we were intrigued. We knew how to manufacture and do all the hard work in China, but we wanted to do it for our own product, where you would control the full production and then distribution.”
The next step was finding a product. The idea for the collars and leashes came to the duo during a factory visit in southern China in 2010. Bal and Brauser — who own a Husky named Topanga and a white German shepherd named Samson, respectively — noticed a big, bulky LED collar on the wall of one of the factories and were told that although it was created four years earlier, it was never profitable.
“So that night, we thought to ourselves, ‘Why didn’t this sell?’ ” Brauser said. “We quickly realized, it didn’t sell because it wasn’t cool. It wasn’t fashionable and it was just big and bulky.”
They spent the next six months developing a new design with their Chinese sourcing team, changing the structure of the collar. Once a simple, generic design was ready, they set up Dog-E-Glow in the United States.
Bal and Brauser sent samples to 400 stores across the country, including pet shops, college campus stores and the Burlington Coat Factory. Just one month later, 80 percent of the stores placed orders, Brauser said.
“Right then, we knew we were on to something,” Brauser said. “We decided to pursue licensing next. We were a new company and we wanted to grow. We know how much people love their schools and their teams, so we immediately went after the CLC licensing.”
In addition to its agreement with the CLC, the company has also acquired licensing agreements with Disney, Live Nation and Marvel. Bal and Brauser plan on releasing those logo designs next year. They will also add up to 50 more logo designs in the collegiate line for other top NCAA Division I universities and 10 additional design sets in the fashion line next year. Moreover, Bal and Brauser are working on agreements with professional sports leagues as well as a harness line for smaller dogs.
“I have never seen another collar and leash set like Dog-E-Glow’s that has the really nice LED design and the college logos like the one for FSU,” Helsper said.
“There are others with college logos on them or others with lights, but none that combine them both and are as nice as Dog-E-Glow’s.”