Maker Crush: JUST FRED
When I first came across JUST FRED's website, one thing was clear: this Brooklyn brand wasn't afraid to be bold. From their super saturated color palette to their innovative product design, they're all about standing out. In this iteration of Maker Crush we chat with JUST FRED's founder, Tennille Teague. Read on to discover more about why she decided to create a cruelty-free, all-vegan line, her commitment to senior dogs, and what her fur baby Rizzo is up to right this second.
Tell us all about Just Fred and why you decided to launch it.
JUST FRED is a vegan pet lifestyle brand that creates dog accessories with design and kindness at the forefront of our minds while also passionately supporting the adoption of senior dogs.
My dachshund Mo was my sidekick in life. He joined me at the office or on film shoots during my career in advertising. After work, more times than not I'd include him in my life around NY, and when we were joining friends at an event or out for a bite to eat, I always felt awkward with the bag I had him in. I didn't want to call attention to him in a traditional dog carrier and I didn't want to put him in a bag that might look a bit better but that wasn't comfortable for him. Finding a bag that achieved both of these things was near impossible so I decided to make one myself.
Why did you choose to develop an all-vegan product line?
We really believe that other fellow creatures on this planet should be your FRiEnD ;) not your bag. As I was originally designing the products, the idea of using animal products felt misaligned with our mission of ensuring kindness in every choice we make, so it was a natural part of how we developed our products and how we continue to show up in the world.
We find our community is not exclusively vegan but when they are making choices for products they aspire to, they see a vegan option as a bonus and not as a compromise.
Given the advancement in materials available, there are more and more options around high quality, cruelty free materials. We’ve been exploring Cactus leather for our 2022 products which doesn’t require large-scale water irrigation, and produces a luxurious feeling and long-lasting material.
We believe our community seeks out products that reflect their personal style as well as their values.
We love your bold brand imagery! What inspired your vibrant palette and dynamic photography?
Thanks so much! I wanted to show the vibrant way we feel about our pets. It’s exciting and electrifying in your soul when you think about your dog. It’s a love like no other and JUST FRED is a reflection of that connection.
We stan a brand that gives back. Talk to us about your passion for senior dogs in need.
I personally really feel for the older dogs that are given up. That feeling of how they must feel that they have been discarded is heavy on my heart. Then when you add on the fact that many of these dogs are seen as less desirable when compared to other younger pups in the shelter, it is a stigma that I want to personally help lessen in our society.
So with that focus in mind, we really focus on the dogs that need an extra lift to be adopted. Specifically, we focus on raising awareness about the positive aspects of adopting senior dogs.
And beyond raising awareness, we donate 5% of every purchase to the senior dog cause of your choice to help ensure these pups are given the support, love, and care that they so truly deserve.
We're setting a trend and inviting others to help us spread it. A trend where fashion pays it forward and senior dogs finish strong.
Tell us all about your fur babies.
Well Mo who was the inspiration behind the brand passed this past year. He was with me for 15 years and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him and smile. He was my everything and will always remain in the ethos of the brand.
Rizzo who I adopted as a senior dog, is so so special. He’s so clever and has such a sweet and gentle soul. At this very moment (10am) he is still in bed sleeping - lolz. He loves to sleep in :)
What's your guiltiest pleasure at the moment?
I am reading Hana Yanagihara’s “To Paradise” book. I love her work and am inspired by how much of a Renaissance woman she is.
I’m a bit obsessed with the Nina Ottoson treat puzzle games for Rizzo. They are such a great stimulation and fun thing for him. Whenever I bring one out he comes running ;)