Behind the Brand: Roverlund
Vogue alum Jamies Knowles has elevated the pet carrier to a fashion-forward accessory.
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Behind the Brand is a series about imaginative people who are changing the pet products space.
Pet carriers: they ugly. Most of them, anyway. Then there’s Roverlund, the stylish pet carrier and accessory brand from artist-turned-K9 entrepreneur Jamie Knowles. Inspired by his six-year-old English Cocker Spaniel, Baci, a love of travel, and a career in corporate art and fashion working for everyone from Sotheby’s to Vogue, Knowles launched Roverlund in the fall of 2019 with a limited-edition holiday collection. “We sold out of just about everything and received great feedback from our customers,” he says. “It’s so humbling to see your product have a positive impact on the lives of your customers, especially when it comes to spending more quality time with your pup.” As more and more people are vaccinated and travel picks back up, Roverlund is preparing to launch new products for dogs and their human companions and just generally take the pet carrier world by storm.
Why did you decide to launch Roverlund in the first place?
It was through my non-stop, every-other-weekend-we’re-somewhere-else pace that I realized there were no design-centric yet durable dog carriers for people like me and dogs like Baci, who is a bigger mid-sized dog and is nearing the weight limit for in-cabin travel. My background is in art and fashion, and I am also an outdoors enthusiast, so I knew the design needed to balance both of those worlds. On top of that, it was crucial that the carrier elevate the experience of adventuring with your pup.
At the time, the options for dog carriers were limited. Everything was either overly cutesy and bedazzled, poorly made, or generally benign in its aesthetic. In our first year with Baci, I easily went through four or five carriers, not because he chewed or destroyed them, but because they just fell apart. Throughout our design process, we were committed to developing a carrier that would be as durable as it would be stylish.
What sets your designs apart?
Our carriers include clever design details that make being on-the-go with your pup a little easier. Our shoulder strap doubles as an extra-strong leash, which we were first to introduce to market, and we have incorporated a removable dog bed, extra pockets, and outdoor-grade hardware to make traveling hassle free, comfortable, and classically cool. In the end, we developed a carrier that can be paired with rugged outdoor gear just as easily as designer clothes. And, in addition to looking good, it lasts!
What’s next for the brand?
We’ve had quite a bit of newness this year already. In June, we launched commuter-style pet totes, dog beds, and new-and-improved leashes. The second half of the year is shaping up to be super exciting too. We are actively working on and expanding into new categories of pet gear as well as gear for those of us who are lucky enough to be a dog’s best friend. Stay tuned for new colorways too!
Now, tell us about your pup, Baci!
Baci is a five-and-a-half-year-old English Cocker Spaniel. His name means “kisses” in Italian. He’s mainly white but has little black “kisses” all over his body. Sometimes kids think he is a Dalmatian, which is pretty cute. He rules the roost, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Do you ever dress him up?
I do. I’d like to say I’ve done something out-there like buy him a Prada getup or Moncler puffer, but it’s really just little costumes for holidays and special occasions. I dressed up as Santa for my goddaughter this past Christmas, since she couldn’t visit him at the mall, and Baci got to be my elf.
What’s Baci’s best quality?
His intelligence is off the charts! He has a crazy memory for places and geography. He only needs to go somewhere once to remember it the next time round.
Do you travel with him a lot?
While we’ve only been on a few flights in the past year, Baci probably racked up more United miles than most people when we first got him. We are also looking forward to making up for lost time during the remainder of the year.
What would be your dream trip?
I would love to take Baci overseas someday — maybe Italy? LA was actually a really fun trip with the dog. They have a ton of pet-friendly hotels, great restaurants with outdoor seating, and tons of options for doggie daycare. I haven’t been in a while and I’d love to go back this fall. There’s so much you can do outside, from Venice Beach to the trails at Runyon Canyon.
How’s he handling the post-pandemic “return to normalcy?”
He has developed a bit of separation anxiety and expresses it with this deep, baritone howl that reverberates through my apartment building. It’s quite embarrassing and makes me cringe, but fortunately my neighbors are dog lovers too and very understanding.
What’s your best advice for people traveling with dogs?
If you’re taking your pup on a plane, give yourself as much time as possible to get your pup acclimated to their carrier. If you can get your pup to view their pet carrier as their safe, cozy space, it will make traveling so much easier.
Charles Manning is an actor, writer, and fashion/media consultant living in New York City with his two cats, Pumpkin and Bear. Follow him on Instagram @charlesemanning.