Maker Crush: Leah Bertram of Bark & Tumble
August will be gone before we know it, so as Black Business Month comes to a close, we wanted to highlight UK-based Bark and Tumble founded by Leah Bertram! Her bright prints and playful colorways have been on our radar for years now, so we're over the moon to be one of their stockists. Read on to see how Leah leveraged her background in fashion to launch her business, her thoughts on the IG dog community and of course her inspiration and full time fit model, Fendi.
Take us back to the beginning. How and why did you start your brand?
It all started with my French bulldog Fendi. I set up her own Instagram and honestly the dog community just blew my mind. I connected with so many people and gained such great friendships. I quickly came to see the huge demand for stylish products for your dogs. However, I felt that most of the products on the market were low quality and mass produced, which led to a lack of attention to detail and uniqueness. I often came across items that were not durable and at times inadequate. I quickly realised that other people felt the same as me, wanting quality, desirable and fashionable clothing, which took into consideration comfort and fit. I have a degree in Fashion Design and a background working in the fashion industry ranging from high street brands to luxury menswear. I wanted to use this experience and bring that same level of energy and creativity to design clothes for dogs. I started pattern cutting and sewing hoodies then posting them on Fendi’s and quicker than I thought, it was time to think of a brand name and take this to the next level.
Describe Bark & Tumble in three words.
This is a hard one but I would have to say luxury, sustainable and playful!
We love that you are a founder, designer, and maker - a triple threat! What is your favourite part about designing your products?
Thank you so much. It’s hard to pick a favourite part. I love to be creative and being able to take the idea to physical product and then to market, it’s just the best feeling. If I had to choose one it would be the sampling process. Developing the patterns and making up the garments to see the design and fit, to see what I like or don’t like and the changes that need to be made. This can take weeks, even months to get right, however I’m very particular about making sure the details and fit are on point. Luckily for me I have the best fitting model Fendi. She loves it, maybe it’s because of all the peanut butter and cheese treats she gets lol.
Your products are fun, bold, and bursting with colour - where do you draw inspiration from?
I have always been inspired by colour and love to be expressive. I curate collections that are playful and pull inspiration from street style. For me, the importance is in the quality and the design. I think the prints and colours should be something that you would want to wear yourself not only your dog.
Can you recall your first sale and what product it was? How did you feel?
Yes, I will never forget it. I launched in the summer time, looking back on it maybe not the best timing lol. It was the jacquard knit organic hoodies and sweatshirt. They ordered 3 items and it was from a US customer. I was in shock I honestly couldn’t believe it I was so excited, I was thinking to myself, people are buying what I’ve not just developed but that I’m physically making for them. Interesting enough most of my sales where from overseas that day. My items travel way more than I do lol.
What do you do in your spare time when you are not running Bark & Tumble? Any guilty pleasures you'd like to share?
I love the real housewives, my favourite being Atlanta. But I am also super hero obsessed sorry DC fans but I love Marvel, Disney plus is the best thing ever! lol