Can we be honest? Well, in the interest of transparency, we’re going to run you through some elements to business that other brands would never do. Including: the idea that kick-started ST ARGO; exactly what has been involved in product development; and our thoughts about off-shore manufacturing.
Checklist for a Great Pet Brand:
Trendy colour-ways: Check.
Durable and wearable products: Check
Sizeable presence across social media channels: Check
Large retail backing: Check
Get to Know Us
ST ARGO is a small business, which was founded by two individuals one cool breezy day on Argo Street, Melbourne. After a walk around Fawkner dog park (still the favourite...) and the trendy shopping district of Chapel Street, the founders realised that the Aussie pet market was severely lacking affordable, but stylish, pet accessories. There needed to be an intermediary between LV and Kmart. Along came ST ARGO with a BANG.
Transparently, they both worked traditional 9-5 jobs and they were unhappy in their chosen careers. They were looking for a ‘side-hustle’. They were met with a lot of doubt (most of it self-imposed) but they persisted with their idea.
The concept that kept the idea alive?
‘…Let’s try, at least, to provide an alternative to the local community. We’ll do vegan leather, rather than animal leather, and we’ll appeal to a specific demographic. Find our niche, right? And we’ll try and sell it in the local pet boutiques…’
They were knocked back by banks and investors. No one in their right mind was going to loan the couple, with no assets to their name, any more than $15K at 19%+ interest...
The Glow Up
What started out as pet collars, dog carriers and dog leads, due mostly to low capital input, (the founders had no choice but to self-fund the brand by selling their car and valuables)… has expanded into a much larger selection of products, including harnesses, poop bag holders and even a boutique range of pet grooming products. Whilst the majority of units are sold online, ST ARGO is stocked now globally in a range of small to larger brick-and-mortar stores.
The founders have, and continue to, pour all of their efforts into the brand and so ST ARGO has, and will continue, to evolve with the times.
The concept is unique and the brand has a very clear idea of their audience. This makes the marketing fun and extremely effective.
On a product level, not only is the material different from everything else on the market, offering a cruelty-free alternative to traditional leather products, but the material itself is vastly different from the original which was released now nearly four years ago.
We Continue to Innovate
For example, we noticed the durability of products was one of the main features Aussie dog owners valued, given the outdoor-dominant nature of Australian pet culture. So, we have tested and tested the products to produce what you see today. We have added an additional protective coating on all products, which ensures maximum longevity, whilst retaining the buttery-soft feel our customers know and love. At the same time, we have ensured this doesn’t stiffen the products, irritate sensitive skin or weigh down your precious pet.
Higher Ordering Ability = Product Customisation
Our hardware has also continued to improve. With more sales comes higher ordering capacity and the ability to upgrade particular product components, rather than ‘choosing off the manufacturing rack’, to put it bluntly. The hardware is now all custom ST ARGO hardware, with embossing and a world-class composition that ensures the products are rust proof, but remain lightweight. This was especially important for the brand, as the vast majority of customers are small dog owners. So the need for lightweight hardware for little necks, is of paramount importance.
We Listen to, and Implement, Customer Feedback
All of these changes have occurred because we encourage feedback from customers. Unlike many other e-commerce brands, we ask, listen and then action your suggestions.
This innovation wouldn’t be possible without our amazing customer service team. We have a 24/7 support channel on our website, as well as open lines of communication on our social media platforms, and a twelve-hour response rate to all emails (including on weekends). This makes it simple and stress-free to enquire about products, shipping and sizing. Open communication can be rare in e-commerce. When purchasing from ST ARGO you aren’t met with a robot, but an actual person who takes your enquiry seriously.
Additionally, we listen to what customer WANTS to see from us in the future. We don’t guess. The colour-ways are influenced by what you actually want, not what we think would look good, and products continue to develop organically in this way.
We Provide World-Class After-Care
Our after-care is also world-class. We have a 28-day return policy for any change-of-mind (many competitors provide just 14 days), as well as a 3-month warranty against product defects. The warranty period is generous for pet products due to the ‘knock-around’ nature of their use.
We also aim to make any exchange process as seamless as possible. For us, the point of purchase doesn’t free us from our customer service obligations. This includes going the extra mile to ship exchanges as fast as we can. We have devised a system which enables a super-fast turnaround on exchanges. Where competitors generally wait for the returned item to hit the warehouse before shipping the new product, we ship the exchange AS SOON AS you ship us the original product back. This cuts out days of delay. We understand the importance of time-sensitive shopping and getting your order rearranged as soon as possible.
The whole team truly strives to provide world-class support to its community of four-legged pals.
We are Proudly Aussie-Owned & Designed
We are constantly motivated by the seasons and styles of our beautiful country. Whilst we see doggos in Paris wearing the Peach Harness, or a Yorkshire Terrier in our luxe vegan leather LOLA carrier on Times Square, nothing gives us more joy than seeing the brand worn around our local parks and beaches.
We design our pieces and colours with Aussie style in mind because to us, there is no cooler. We consciously employ within Australia where possible, as well as storing and shipping all products from an Aussie warehouse. Not only does this provide expedient shipping to customers and cut down shipping miles, it also generates employment on a local level. Whilst the manufacturing of the product is not possible, at our desired price-point, within Aus, we strive to ensure as much of the business as possible is kept on-shore.
All of our Products are Ethically Sourced
With sourcing our raw materials and manufacturing, we went the extra mile, literally. We sifted through hundreds of options in some of the top manufacturing cities in the world. We knew we couldn’t produce the quality of product we needed, for the price we wanted, in Australia. So we went abroad and searched. We have an amazing relationship with our factory in Guangzhou, China. We have been with this family-run factory since inception in 2019. The team, who generally produce handbags for a variety of high-end bag brands love seeing photos of the doggies in ST ARGO, something a little traditional for their business. You can feel good knowing everything we produce is handmade with love by a very thankful team. <3
We hope you know a little more about the brand behind the screen now. We are real people aiming to add a little *pizzazz* to your next walk with our range of cruelty free products. Feel good knowing your dog is dressed, with pride, in one of Australia’s most beloved small pet brands.