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It’s not surprising that in Germany, dogs are as beloved as anywhere else in the world. What might be less obvious, though, is that the constant search for better pet products that serve not only our pups but budget, environment, and — most importantly — household aesthetic is equally universal. It was this exact struggle that led Petra Jungebluth to create Cloud7 in Berlin over a decade ago.
Rewind to 2010: Jungebluth was a successful fashion designer who had worked with companies the likes of Strenesse, Tommy Hilfiger, and Liz Clayborne. She was in search of a dog bed that was sustainable, comfortable, and of course, complimented her interior design rather than annihilating it. When Jungebluth couldn’t find options that matched all three criteria, she decided to make one.
Jungebluth now has three dogs who inspire most, if not all, Cloud7 products. Over the past 12 years, the brand has expanded to offer collars, leashes, toys, sweaters, bowls, blankets, and pretty much anything else a dog could need. But as Cloud7 continues to expand its portfolio, the company has never faltered on the promise of being pet-friendly, eco-friendly, and designer-friendly in equal measure.
In fact, the brand has just released a new collection of stylish “Alaska” coats that are extra warm and made from 100 percent sustainable materials. Per Jungebluth, the line is nearly a perfect accumulation of Cloud7’s journey and where it’s headed. “After years of fine-tuning and optimizing our dog coat collection, I believe this comes very close to perfection,” she says. The Wildest spoke with Jungebluth about developing products for her dogs, striving for sustainability, and giving back.
Tell me about your dogs, their personalities, and how they influence your products.
Well, there are Freddie and Matti, two longhaired Whippets, and Otto, a rescue from Cyprus. We’re lucky enough to be able to live away from the busy streets in Berlin, in the countryside where [Freddie and Matti] have the freedom to test their speeds, whilst Otto, desperately without success, tries to catch up.
Otto came to us as a young anxious dog due to his early years living on the streets. But with the help of his two brothers, he has blossomed into a sweet cuddly buddy who is occasionally our supermodel at various photoshoots and has even made it to the big windows of a department store in Copenhagen. The three have the privilege of testing every new Cloud7 product before it goes into production and have been very helpful in being muses for our dog coats.
Cloud7 offers an extensive vegan collection of leashes and collars; was sustainability something you always wanted to highlight?
Sustainability has been very important from the start for Cloud7. From the beginning, we used natural and untreated fabrics and recycled fillings, wherever and whenever possible. We are not a fully vegan brand yet, but with new designs coming up, we hope to expand our range with even more sustainable products in the future.
Your products are designed to be durable. What is the importance of longevity both from an environmental and customer perspective?
When we started Cloud7 with our dog bed collection about 12 years ago, almost all dog beds available on the market were produced with chemically treated and cheap materials, which were sold at attractive price points but had no durability. We wanted to shake up the industry, which is why we design our dog beds with super durable fabrics and materials derived from furniture design.
Our mattresses are individually stuffed by hand, which helps keep their volume, even after years of use. Our first-generation dog beds were designed to last a dog’s lifetime, and they still do. As for the typical signs of use, we offer replacement covers. With the growth of our brand and more designs and categories in our product portfolio, we have kept this approach until today.
How has your past as a fashion designer impacted the brand’s overall aesthetic?
I have always been driven by simplicity, avoiding anything that only serves as a decoration or a gimmick. I think it comes from a certain German design heritage that pieces should be completely functional. This minimalistic look in combination with beautiful and high-quality materials, for me, makes the perfect product.
What influence has your history in the fashion industry had on how Cloud7 sources its materials and develops products?
We regularly visit trade shows for fabrics and materials, where we purchase samples that are then tested by our production team through washing and drying several times until we are convinced about their durability and quality. When we have selected the final fabrics, we design product prototypes, which are then distributed among our office dogs to be tested in real-life situations before finally going into production. My background as a fashion designer has definitely come in handy to understand a lot about fabrics and creating patterns to fit into all the necessary sizes you need — which is quite a challenge when you think of all the proportions of various dog breeds, from Chihuahuas to Ridgebacks.
After partnering with several renowned artists and photographers, Cloud7 created the RESC7UE collection, from which all profits are donated to an animal welfare organization. What was the inspiration behind this decision?
This is something that is very close to my heart. It had always been clear to me that from the moment Cloud7 reached the smallest level of success, we needed to give back, which we do through helping as many dogs as possible who are not in the lucky position to be born into a caring and loving family. Some years ago, we gathered a group of creatives around us to design a special rescue collection with 100 percent of the profits going directly to our hand-picked shelter. And this is how RESC7UE was born.
What organization does Cloud7 give the proceeds to and how did you select them?
We always look for a true, long-lasting partnership with shelters. To simply donate money and not be involved and in close contact was not an option for us. It took us a while to look for the right one until we found Every Day Stray, a shelter in Bulgaria run by a lovely couple from Manchester, [England], who moved there with the goal to help stray dogs in Bulgaria. We are in constant contact with them and thanks to the kind purchases of the special RESC7UE collection, we are able to regularly transfer a fair amount of donations for vet costs and materials to build new shelters, as well as general upkeep of the grounds. We also went to Bulgaria to create a documentary film and released a coffee table book with a series of photographs of the local stray dogs.
Cloud7 has also worked with a range of brands, from Normann Copenhagen to goop. How do you decide who to collab with?
We receive inquiries from brands for collaboration on a regular basis. Not only their work, but also their values are the most important aspects for us when it comes to collaboration partners. One of our most successful collaborations has been with the U.S. travel brand TUMI, for whom we designed a special dog travel collection. And as for exclusive insider news, we are currently working on a special dog bowl set with the legendary German company KPM Königliche Porzellan Manufactur (Royal Porcelain Manufactory), which has been specializing in high-end porcelain for centuries.
What’s next for Cloud7?
We have been busy developing and designing new products to expand our RESC7UE collection. There are also a bunch of new prototypes in the design department waiting to go into testing and production. Some more good news: We are also in the process of expanding our retail network in the North American market to make it easier for our fans on the other side of the world to get their hands on our products.
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Sean Zucker is a writer whose work has been featured in Points In Case, The Daily Drunk, Posty, and WellWell. He has an adopted Pit Bull named Banshee whose work has been featured on the kitchen floor and has behavioral issues rival his own.