Bulldog Bed and Co. pampers pets with its line of designer beds.

A canine enjoys lounging on the “Nights of Arabia” bed, part of the aptly named Majestic Paw Dream Design Series.

Sometimes an unfortunate situation can turn into a blessing in disguise. Such was the case for Helena Pechacek, owner of Bulldog Bed and Co.

“One night I woke up to my English bulldog, Margaret Louise Potato, throwing up on my new down comforter,” says Pechacek. “I decided that maybe in my bed was not the best place for her. But she wouldn’t sleep on the floor pillows.”

Having learned basic carpentry from her Czech mother, Pechacek built her dog an exact replica of her own bed, just smaller. The dog loved it and was on it without any coaxing. So Pechacek spent a year doing research.

Pechacek built the original prototypes at a friend’s woodshop. She says it was important to take weight, cost and cost of shipping into consideration when designing the beds, which are made with solid pine and are put together using a simple hooking mechanism for an easier assembly.

Pechacek’s design influences are, for the most part, homegrown. “I didn’t like what was in the market,” she says. “I had no interest in spending so much money decorating my house with beautiful furnishings, just to plague it with a pink and leopard print dog bed. I designed the beds after the furnishings in my home. I love chocolate and olive.”

In the beginning, Pechacek would feature the beds at dog shows and festivals around Southern California just to get the product seen. Though it has taken some time, she says business is looking up. “It has its frustrating days and it has rewarding days,” she says.

Having not been able to find a manufacturer for the beds in the United States, Pechacek looked to China. She says the arrangement does have its challenges, but has worked out fine.

“Anyone who has manufactured in China knows certain things,” she says. “I think you need to carefully monitor the samples so there are no future disagreements. I went with a very small factory off the beaten path, and I inspect every item before shipping to catch any mistakes before they ship. I have no regrets with my choice, but I think one must be very cautious when dealing in furniture manufacturing overseas.”

Celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Claire Danes are proud owners of the pet beds. And based on customer feedback, Pechacek is looking into some new models as well, including larger beds for bigger dogs, which she says has been a big request.

Pechacek advises new business owners to be patient and not to be afraid of making mistakes. “Be confident in the product, otherwise the consumer’s money will go elsewhere,” she says. “People thought manufacturers were crazy when they started building furniture for children, but now it’s very common. That’s how I feel about pet furniture. It’s only going to get bigger.”

For more information on Bulldog Bed and Co., visit www.bulldogbedandcompany.com.

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