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It’s a dog’s life!

Newcastle University architecture graduate launches new line in luxury dog beds.

Showcasing her novel Bauwowhaus range at Clerkenwell Exhibition in London, Newcastle graduate Kate Byrne’s hand-crafted collection is the lap of luxury for man’s best friend.

Made at The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle, Kate says the aim was to create a bed that not only offered a safe, comfortable space for our pet but was also a beautiful piece of furniture.

“I founded Bauwowhaus to rethink, reform and refine how we approach pet product design by creating a new design identity,” explains Kate, who moved to Newcastle from York to study Architecture at Newcastle University and stayed in the city after her graduation in 2017.

“My life has always revolved around design and dogs so I took a leap and decided to merge the two. Consequently, Bauwowhaus was founded, and our first collection was launched at this years’ Clerkenwell Design Week – the heart and home of design.

“People spend a lot of money to make their homes look beautiful, and they spend a lot of money on their pets, but when it comes to dog beds there’s not much option other than a plastic bed or a metal crate. Even the ones that are a little more stylish have cushions that can be easily ripped, so people go through five or six of them each year which is really wasteful.”

Designed for small dogs, the circular raised Bonzo Bed was developed to help dogs feel safe in a den-like environment, while the curved Moose Bed doubles up as a coffee table.

Kate adds: “The principles of architecture are still heavily embedded in my work. Architects sit at a crossroads of art, science, technology and environmental awareness. Through this practice, Bauwowhaus dog beds are built responsibly in the UK and designed to enrich the lives of both dog and owner physically, psychologically and spiritually.

“What’s really important in my work with the dog beds is how the dogs react. It was very important that the beds weren’t just beautiful, but they are safe and useful as well.” 

Support for budding entrepreneurs

Kate launched Bauwowhaus with help and support of START UP, Newcastle University’s support for students and recent graduates looking to become self-employed and start new businesses.

She said: “I came to the START UP team at Newcastle University 18 months ago. They were great and helped me a lot. While I have design background, I didn’t have any business knowledge. I didn’t understand a lot of the business language, so going to the weekly START UP sessions were huge help.

“I then met my two advisers Steve Bowden and Jackie Wade who encouraged and supported me. It has been great to have the support and someone to tell you that you have a viable idea and to guide you to where to go next. This helped me as I could have wasted a lot of time doing things that aren’t necessary. I would have spent a lot of time drawing things and never getting passed that stage without the guidance and support of Steve and Jackie.”

Jackie said: “It was an absolute joy working with someone as inspirational and creative as Kate. From the very first meeting, she demonstrated real passion and purpose around her idea, which has driven her from early stage robust market research through to successful launch of the first prototype, overcoming significant hurdles on route. Definitely one to watch!”

Following the successful launch, Kate is hoping to make Bauwowhaus available in retail locations and is currently in discussion with Le Bon Marché, a department store in Paris. She is also working with interior designers to offer the range in catalogues. Another route she is exploring is the luxury dog retreat market.

Dog bed
The Bonzo Bed

published on: 24 June 2019