GS PETS Winter 2019
Vanderpump Rules of Thumb By Sam Ujvary

The reality television star and businesswoman reimagines the standards with newest endeavor

For years, television viewers have watched the progression of entrepreneur and restauranteur Lisa Vanderpump and the perpetual expansion of her business portfolio in various industries. If you’re a Bravo-watcher, you’ve seen her launch her own line of rosé wine, open multiple restaurants, continue to be a forthright advocate of the LGBTQ community and, in 2017, start The Vanderpump Dog Foundation.

At her storefront in Los Angeles, The Vanderpump Dog Rescue Center, not only are there plenty of pups up for adoption, but there’s also shelves beyond shelves of product that falls under the Vanderpump Pets line; Lisa and her husband Ken’s namesake collection of pet products that range from carriers to plush toys to grooming washes.

Photos by Michael Pool Photography

The center incorporates retail, grooming and dog adoptions, making it a true one-stop-shop for everything pooch-related. “On top of grooming, adoption and products, we offer monthly low-cost services to the community for their dogs. This includes monthly dental clinics as well as spay and neuter/vaccine clinic days,” said Dr. John Sessa, co-founder and COO of the organization.

“The inspiration to open Vanderpump Dogs was from a significant need that we saw in the Los Angeles area in helping the problem of overcrowding in shelters across the city,” he added.

The thought process, especially when it came to the décor, was to offer a different experience that would benefit both the dogs as well as humans looking to adopt.

The shop oozes luxury; velvet couches, chandeliers and anything else you can think of that reinvents the idea of a shelter.

Gift Shop Pets spoke with Dr. Sessa to learn more about the operations of both the rescue center and the shop.

GSP: When did you decide to develop a line of products for pets?

JS: The entire endeavor started with us designing one gold collar for Giggy, Lisa’s famous pooch. We quickly sold out on Amazon and invested the money we made into designing and manufacturing more collars (as well as) leashes, carriers, blankets, beds and bowls. Basically, everything you need to Vanderpump your dog’s style. We recently launched a full line of vegan, animal-friendly grooming products called Vanderpuff, and of course a portion of everything we make goes back to saving more dogs.

GSP: So far, what are some of your bestselling items and how has that affected the design of future items?

JS: Our bestselling items are our carriers, blankets and beds. We have continually sold out of the black quilted carrier and our pink blankets and beds. The styles that do well for us will continue to be made better and more stylish. This season, we really invested a lot of time and money in the newest styles of blankets and beds. We increased the quality of the fabrics and really tried to get a perfect color palette for the season, so we are really excited about our new line out for Christmas time.

GSP: What’s in the future for Vanderpump Dogs and Vanderpump Pets?

JS: The ultimate goal for Vanderpump Dogs would be to continue our West Hollywood operations, rescuing dogs from high kill shelters, work with legislators, increase our efforts to end the dog meat trade in Asia, as well as eventually open a sanctuary in Malibu. With regard to Vanderpump Pets, we are excited to be releasing our newest designs in time for Christmas. We are also launching the Vanderpup Box, which will be delivered to your doorstep on the first of every month and will include our very own Vanderpump gourmet kibble and treats, grooming products and one accessory picked for your pup by Lisa herself. Everything you need to take care of your furry best friend — food, treats, grooming and an accessory!

GSP: What’s the cycle for adoption look like? How often are you receiving new animals and how long does it take to find them a forever home?

JS: To date, we have adopted out over 650 dogs. We receive new dogs almost every day; however, the number of dogs we can have at The Vanderpump Dog Rescue Center depends on our current capacity. We are thankful that due to our successful marketing efforts, we are able to find forever homes very quickly for our rescues. That being said, we have had our fair share of longer residents that may be here for a few months, which is fine for us, as we have an amazing staff and regular volunteers that love to give them as much attention and cuddles while they are living with us. As a no-kill shelter, these dogs remain with us no matter how long it takes for them to get adopted.

Sam Ujvary

Sam is the managing editor of Gift Shop Pets, Museums & More and Party & Halloween Retailer, and is a contributing editor for Gift Shop Magazine. She has a copywriting background and has been in publishing for six years.

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