The Inspiration Behind Lay Lo Dog Beds Is — No Surprise — a Very Special Senior Dog
Who doesn’t love a terrazzo print these days?
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The terrazzo trend started popping up a few years ago, and it was quickly devoured by millennials. Invented five centuries ago in Venice, Italy, terrazzo is a style best described as a collection of colorful pebbles spread out on a blank canvas. Last year, everything from coffee tables to dog beds adopted that aesthetic, which is how we first noticed the chic-cute offerings from pet-bed company Lay Lo. (The shout-outs from Architectural Digest and Refinery29 didn’t hurt, either.)
Gabriela Baiter co-founded the company four years ago. It began on Etsy as a home-grown solution for pet owners who wanted more design-forward offerings. Since then, Lay Lo has offered capsule collections that are locally made (sometimes with upcycled, low-waste, or recycled materials), including collaborations with textile designer Warren Aldrich and French fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra.
Each bed comes with orthopedic mattresses, which you can swap out with any comfy bed-filling of your choice. Because pets are synonymous with “mess,” the breathable duvet-type covers can be washed and replaced, so you never have to throw away the entire bed. We spoke to Baiter about terrazzo’s timeless appeal, her sustainability efforts, and the joy of adopting senior dogs.
Let’s start at the beginning — what inspired Lay Lo?
I was living in my very first apartment in Los Angeles and had my first dog, which was a 13-year-old Black Labrador named Gable. It was really hard for me to find the right dog bed to fit in my space. So, me being an entrepreneur and doer, I ended up purchasing fabric and making a dog bed myself. Then, I threw it on Etsy just to see what would happen and ended up making made-to-order dog beds. I never intended it to turn into a business, but it very quickly became the company it is today.
How long were you on Etsy before realizing that this was bigger than that?
I think my husband probably plays a role in that. He‘s a product designer and really helped productize the collections in the way that Lay Lo creates new products today. I was initially in it as a creative outlet, but he stepped in and recognized an opportunity for the products that we were selling to be by collection. He then started working with designers for special, original collections. That is what ended up becoming the future of Lay Lo.
What’s the meaning behind the name?
That came to me in a dream. I literally woke up in the middle of the night and wrote it down on a piece of paper cause we were going back and forth on different names. But Lay Lo is a lifestyle. It’s the idea to let a sleeping dog lie — to let them lay low. It’s about creating a relaxed safe space for your pet. But then also a bed, especially when viewing it as a piece of furniture for your dog, lays low on the floor.
To pivot a bit here to the Terrazzo Collection, what gravitated you towards that design?
The Terrazzo Collection is inspired by our very favorite place. It’s actually where we live now, Palm Springs. My business partner and life partner, Drew Downie, traveled there while we were living in Los Angeles. We discovered that Palm Springs is this Mecca of architecture and design, so we started traveling there a ton. Then we got inspired by a material that’s iconic in mid-century design in history — terrazzo floors. The house that we live in now, which we moved in 2020 to Palm Springs, has terrazzo floors in it. It’s come full circle.
Why do you think the terrazzo design has remained relevant for so long?
It’s a very artful pattern that has been interpreted differently and taken shape in many forms. Terrazzo was originally a rock material that was created. It started as flooring but then ended up moving to furniture, countertops, and now dog beds. It also can feel totally different depending on the content that it’s placed. I think it’s timeless.
Another Lay Lo offering, the ReMade Collection, sustainably reimagines new dog bed covers using pieces of dead stock material sourced from past collections. Where did this concept originate?
As I mentioned before, we regularly partner with designers. For example, for our Altuzarra Collection, we collaborated with fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra. The Remade Collection was created with Warren Aldrich, a designer in Los Angeles who uses a lot of ancient weaving techniques to create patchwork products for his clothing line W.A.L.D..
So we saw this as an opportunity to eliminate waste in our production by reusing our scrap material from other collections to make new pieces. While that’s not going to save the world, those new beds that we produced helped build awareness around reusing material and eliminating waste in the production line, which is something that we are very committed to changing in the years ahead.
Do you have any other sustainable initiatives planned?
As a team, we’re moving to knit to shape. That would involve eliminating all waste material, or at least reducing it. Then we’re also moving to recycled threads in our new product coming out in September that’s made from recycled plastic. So materials are everything. And I would say that the W.A.L.D. collection was our first step in the direction of sustainability at the company.
Now the important stuff — tell me about your dogs.
I’m an adopter of old dogs. I had two lovely dogs over the last four years — Gable, who was a 13-year-old Black Lab, and Cody, a 10-year-old Poodle mix, who both passed away. Now, I have another dog named Stella who’s not old — she’s two. But we might bring in an old soul soon to teach her the way.
Was adopting senior dogs something you were always interested in?
Oh yeah. I would say that the loss generated from the first two within a quick amount of time was what led me to adopt a younger dog as my third, but it’s still something I’m extremely passionate about. In the past, we’ve donated a portion of our sales to the Grey Muzzle Association, which is supporting and building awareness around adopting seniors. So it’s definitely a passion, even outside of Lay Lo, for me.
How does Stella like Lay Lo beds?
We can’t get her off her Lay Lo bed. This is kind of a half-joke, but our dogs have always been the perfect medium sample size for our beds. In our next collection, she’s going to be the main model in the photo shoot. And when you see it, you’ll notice she’s a very lazy dog. Even though she’s two years old, she just wants to be on her bed, relax, and just be left alone a little bit. But she has a really playful side, too. She’s a Golden Retriever and a Papillon, so kind of like a mini Golden. She’s just that perfect mix of mellow most of the time, but playful when she wants.
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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 whose behavioral issues rival his own.