Straub, founder of Just Fur Fun pet accessories,
lays out some of her hand-crafted works in Boca
LAUDERDALE, Fla. ó In just a few weeks, at an event
that celebrates the iconic Westminster Kennel Clubís
annual All Breed Dog Show, a shelter dog will model
doggie bling designed and hand-crafted by Mona Straub of
Boca Raton, Fla.
is one of 30 exclusive participating vendors in the
upcoming New York Pet Fashion Show, Feb. 8 that launches
a weekend of events leading to the famous annual dog
show that following Monday.
a coup for Just Fur Fun, the online startup Straub
launched two years ago to sell her hand-crafted beaded
leashes and collars for pets. "Iíve gotten as far
as I have because I make connections and utilize
resources," said Straub. "As a small business,
if you become an island and donít reach out, youíll
pet fashion show receives hundreds of booth requests
every year from pet-related start-ups to established
companies, says Richard Cordero, marketing director for
the show and vice president at Oehler Media Inc. and ad
director for Cesarís Way Magazine, a major sponsor of
event is a massive showcase for those in the pet
industry, from food and fashions to wellness products,
toys and every other creature comfort one could invent
for beloved pets. "We look for that fit, products
that are practical, durable and fashionable," said
Cordero. "And vendors have to be confident about
show, however, has a two-fold purpose: Featuring shelter
dogs on its runways is one example of its charity
outreach, and a huge draw, attracting over 1,000
attendees, says Cordero.
an investment of over $1,300, including table, shipping
and product samples for VIP bags, Straub will showcase
her collars and leashes, including on a shelter dog
during its appearance in one of three runway shows
featured that evening.
year, the event produced over $10,000 in money and
product donations to Animal Care & Control of NYC.
This yearís beneficiary is The Animal Haven shelter,
also in Manhattan.
launched her second career several years ago after
leaving her corporate marketing job because she wanted
to be creative in a meaningful way and give back to the
community, she says.
herself has three rescue Dachshunds, five cats, a
22-year-old Swedish Warmblood mare and a mustang, which
is also a rescue.
buys made-in-America materials, such as the leather that
forms the base for her products, from United
States-based vendors. She manufactures locally,
employing about six bead artisans who fulfill her
pattern designs for the pet bling, including special
made-to-order collars with a wider profile for bigger
dogs. Pet owners can partake with matching belts.
has the right entrepreneurial focus and dogged
determination, says Sharon Geltner, a counselor at the
Small Business Development Center at Palm Beach State
College who has assisted Straub with her strategies.
"Mona has grown to look at everything as an
opportunity, from attending trade shows to expos,"
thirst for knowledge has been her biggest asset,"