With an eye on sustainability and durability, founder Tina Nguyen is creating premium dog beds that are gentle on the planet but tough enough to last a dog’s lifetime.

When Nguyen first began envisioning her canine product company in the early 2000’s, the pet industry was not yet booming. While searching for durable toys and a comfortable bed for her elderly dog Jax — a beagle who had been with her since college — she was unable to find any that were both sustainable and high-quality.

“Jax was like my first son,” Nguyen says. “I started the company because I couldn’t find products in the market that I wanted to give him. I realized that there was a need because many other people were having the same problem.”

The last 18 years have been a “labor of love” for Nguyen as her dream has grown from a single dog bed into a thriving company within a 16,000-square-foot facility producing as many as 500,000 dog beds each year.

“All of the designs come from me,” Nguyen says of the company’s luxury beds, mats, blankets, crate covers, and toys. “I jokingly say that I might have been born a dog. I have always approached things by smelling and scratching. The creative part of designing things has always come from that for me.”

Next the manufacturing process requires selecting the right materials for the design. “We’re very particular about the fabric we use,” Nguyen continues. “We understand that a dog is going to lay in the bed for five, 10, 15 years of his life. So, we want fibers that are going to last a long time.”

To this end, Jax and Bones utilizes upholstery-grade fabrics dyed with eco-friendly vegetable dyes. Some of its beds and mats are stuffed with Sustainafill, a signature filler made from recycled 7-UP soda bottles that Nguyen says, “creates a nice and firm feel.” Others utilize CertiPUR-US certified memory foam.

“We do a lot of compliance with our suppliers,” Nguyen says. “We look at the dyes they use, the threads that they use, for every bed and toy that goes into the market. We have a full-time production and manufacturing team, and we do our own cutting and sewing in house. We also quality-check and distribute [the products ourselves].”

Nguyen notes that though the company’s toys are designed in-house, they are manufactured in China because of volume constraints. The rope toys, in particular, are time intensive because they’re hand-pulled and hand-tied from natural cotton fibers. “No machinery is used,” she continues, “so there’s not much emissions. It’s a very sustainable process.”

Photos courtesy Jax and Bones

Within the U.S., discerning pet parents can find Jax and Bones products on the company’s website. Nguyen says she works with some distributors to sell her products in other countries. Additionally, she sells to wholesalers and even provides private label services.

Challenges: Nguyen says competition is the company’s biggest current challenge. “There are too many choices out in the market,” she continues. “We have to educate the consumer on the value of our ‘Made in America’ products and the quality that they’re going to get.”

Opportunities: Because the majority of Jax and Bones’ products are made in Los Angeles, Nguyen says there’s opportunities for the company in providing customers with lower lead times. “In terms of our growth,” she adds, “we’re hoping to continue to grow 20 to 35 percent [annually]. Our next five-year plan is still growth. And that’s growth in connecting with the consumer as well as private label and collaborations.”

Needs: Nguyen says her company doesn’t have any major needs at the moment. “I feel like we’re in a very strong position,” she adds. “Pets are our family. They’re just like our children. And there was a hug surge of adoptions during COVID, so there’s definitely more demand for these products.”