||December 1, 2004
models an outfit created by his owner, Carolyn Paxton
of Altadena. Paxton’s Chi WOW WOW line of high-end
clothing is about to be manufactured and distributed internationally.
Home-based mini-clothing designer is playing with the big dogs.
By Andrew Blazier
time last year, Carolyn Paxton was sewing t-shirts for her new Chihuahua
to keep him warm.
But six months since she began selling the miniature clothing online,
Paxton’s Web site has received more than 800,000
hits and an international clothing distributor is prepared to market
her one-of-a-kind, vintage-style apparel to dog
lovers across the globe.
“None of this was planned,” said Paxton, 45, who founded
Chi WOW WOW out of her Altadena home 6 ½ months
ago. “When you’re not focused on money, things tend
to work out.”
Indeed, Paxton, who worked for eight years in marketing and sales
at Thousand Oaks-based biotechnology firm, AMGEN Inc.,
spent four years as a private consultant before retiring two years
ago. She began sewing clothes for her pet Chihuahua, Elvis, after
adopting the puppy last spring.
“I really needed to keep him warm,” she explained.
“A lot of (pet clothing) was very girly, and Elvis seems to
be very much
Paxton created each of Elvis’ shirts as a unique item, and
she has maintained that direction in the company’s first six
months of public sales. Orders vary by season but recently have
reached at least $500 a week.
in a denim bag that Paxton designed. Paxton’s
Web site has scored more than 800,000 hits in six
The concept of rare, vintage-style doggie duds sparked interest
from several thousand internet users. Now Luxe Pet,
a Los Angeles apparel distributor whose showroom represents the
Hello Kitty brand, among others, is set to market Chi WOW WOW overseas,
focusing on Japan.
Paxton still runs the business from her home, contracting with
two seamstresses and her sister to produce the clothes. But that
will likely change soon. Luxe Pet owner, Kim Rivera, said she expects
the company to be very popular with more hip pet owners because
of the products unique style.
“What she’s into is very, very directional, “Rivera
said. She’s very smart with how she is promoting it. I think
she’s going to be the next big thing.”
The company’s least expensive items, retailing for at least
$32 apiece, will be mass-produced either in China or Mexico. The
vintage-style, high-end pieces will be priced at up to $200 – for
a skateboard lined carrying case – and will be manufactured
in the U.S.
Paxton won’t mention her financial goals for the company.
For now, she’s focused on increasing customer awareness – especially
in Japan, which routinely ranks among the biggest spenders on pet-related
“I just want to walk down the street and (see) somebody address
a piece of clothing as Chi WOW WOW,” she said. “I want