Matthew Baron has a somewhat different take than others on his entrepreneurial aspirations.
“My plan for the future is simple: a Santa Claus outfit for dogs so that you can play your Christmas music,” he said.
An admirable goal, indeed, but how did Baron get into selling The Woofer, a dog coat with pockets for mp3 players and featuring built-in speakers with developed technology to optimize sound?
“When I had the idea for The Woofer, I thought that I could find a company that sells coats for dogs, I could offer to put speakers in them, and then we would split the profits,” said Baron, 33, wearing a thick beard and a quirky sensibility at a recent meetup. “This plan was flawed when nobody that made dog coats wanted to team up with me.”
So, like any other entrepreneur who thinks he’s found a market, he did it himself, learning how to cut fabric and sew. Making one, which comes in three sizes for dogs from 20 to 100 pounds and ranges in price from $120 to $130, can take Baron as long as six hours. The speaker batteries can last at full power for four hours without overheating or otherwise causing the dog any discomfort, Baron said.
“The tech in the coat is an amplifier that I build. I make them to maximize the outdoor sound, play them in stereo and remain safe from over heating. The connections are gold, the wires are Teflon, and the speakers are reinforced to take any dog abuses,” he said. “There was no audio tech for animals so I had to develop it over the years.”
The idea was first conceived three years ago, said Baron, who grew up at 8th and South streets and now lives and builds at 13th and South. Though he says he has sold enough coats to make it a real business — declining to detail exactly how many — Baron has done work around startup marketing and SEO training.
“The first coat that I made was for humans. I called it the Boom Coat. I took an old tuxedo jacket and replaced the lapels with my lapels with speakers built in,” Baron said, with something of a smile on his face. “Then I started doing it for dogs, and it became a real opportunity.”
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