‘Why have something rubbish for your dog when the rest of your house looks good?’
- Credit: Archant
Samantha Murray Greenway spent seasons as a fashion editor and style journalist covering the shows, but she hasn’t looked back since swapping her Louboutins for wellies.
Samantha Murray Greenway spent many seasons as a fashion editor and style journalist covering the shows, but she hasn’t looked back since swapping her Louboutins for wellies three years ago, embracing life on Hampstead Heath with her youngest family member, Teddy.
She put her Miniature Schnauzer at the heart of her writing life too, charting her experiences through her Tales of Teddy blog which has just opened an online store, selling carefully commissioned, well crafted dog essentials, all made in the UK.
Like many children, Murray Greenway had desperately wanted, but never been allowed a dog. As an adult she was initially reticent about bringing one into her own family because of her son’s allergies - and so began a process researching the most non-allergenic breeds. Still with a passion for finding a good story, she wanted to continue sharing the information she had gathered, to help people make informed decisions when it came to their dogs.
“It’s like having a new baby, you want to read the right books, I met with lots of trainers and we did our research on breeders – I had lots of information and I wanted to get it out there, so I started a blog about raising an urban dog. I wanted to make it Hampstead based as there are so many people with dogs here and it’s a different thing bringing up a dog in London – things like extendable leads aren’t practical on pavements!”
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Tales of Teddy is filled with Teddy’s experiences, with input from the experts as well.
“I wanted to know the best shampoo, the best trainer, the best vet. It covers the essentials; it’s what I would have loved to have read.”
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One thing that always frustrated Murray Greenway was the lack of good quality, stylish dog products for the home.
Having been complimented for Teddy’s wicker basket which she commissioned, she realised that there was scope for creating a range of dog related items.
But the important thing for her was to get the quality right. Sourcing the right people for the products has taken her around the country and she has met some interesting people. “It’s taken me back to my art school roots,” she explains.
“I like collaborating with people. And it’s nice for me to be dipping a toe back into the creative side of things.”
She has focused on A Better Dog Collar, Lead, Blanket and Bowl, each with their own story and hand produced by the finest British craft workers.
A Better Dog Collar and Lead involve one of the few remaining brass foundries serving equestrians – the hand cast buckles have taken a year and half to get to the point where Murray Greenway is satisfied with the size, weight and shape for a dog to wear.
Made from the finest saddle leather, produced by J&E Sedgewick & Co, barrel dyed so that when the dog is wet, the colour won’t run. It has all been a finely tuned process, getting things just right. The leads, made to order in brown, green or black have a single strip of leather to make them more malleable and there’s no glue - everything is hand stitched.
“If I’m paying good money for something, I want to see that people have spent a bit of time finishing things by hand,” she comments. To finish, the leather is subtly stamped with the Tales of Teddy logo, a Letterpress design by another local business, Marby and Elm, in another show of support for good craftsmanship.
For A Better Dog Bowl, Murray Greenway has used a potter who produces items for big fashion houses.
With a choice of navy or a pumice grey glaze against a matt brown base, they are something you could expect to find on your dining table. However, pick one up and you find it’s carefully weighted to be more appropriate for the dog - “practical but still lovely.” Some people perceive The Better Dog Blanket to be too good for the dog but as Murray Greenway says “it’s more about your house than your dog”.
“Why would you have something rubbish because it’s for your dog when the rest of your house looks good? It’s nice to finally have something you want to get out.”
The blankets were her first commission for the online store and are classic designs woven in a Welsh mill which also makes for Comme des Garçons and other high fasion brands. With three different designs, there is something to suit each colour of dog.
“There is a Chanel quote, never a button without a button hole,” Murray Greenway explains. “That resonated with me – dogs don’t need frills. My keenness on fashion has always been about style that lasts, not about fashion changing.”
Tales of Teddy is about just that. He may be a dog with an Instagram account but there’s nothing bling about Teddy. It is all about understated elegance – for an enjoyable and practical life and home with a dog.