A Stitch In Time: The Story of Mississippi Made Dog Beds
Trust me, I cherish the nights that my furbabies cuddle with me in the bed, but it isn’t and can’t be every night. I have too many dogs, and they fill the bed. And there are many nights that I end up cuddling with a butt instead of a head, and if they’re gassy, they have to go! Luckily, they have amazing dog beds that they love snoozing on, and I’m proud to have the beds in my home. Why would I be proud to have a dog bed? Let me tell you why.
Let’s time travel back to 2010. My chocolate lab, Lola, was back at home while my mom and I were at The Mistletoe Marketplace in Jackson, MS. We came across a booth called Lazy Bones Beds and noticed beautiful dog beds in brilliant colors and fabrics. These dog beds were huge, made from some very cool outdoor upholstery fabrics, and made right here in Mississippi. The owners of the company explained that they were incredibly durable, water-resistant, stain-resistant, dirt-resistant, heck, everything resistant! It was a no-brainer. Lola had to have one. Mom said she would get me one as part of mine and Lola’s Christmas gifts. I was thrilled, and I knew Lola would be even more excited.
“The beds represented everything Hollywood Feed is all about: great quality, outstanding craftsmanship, and made right here at home.”
I got home with the bed and every dog in the house wanted a turn on it. The good thing was that it was large enough that several dogs could enjoy it at one time. I decided this was a product Hollywood Feed absolutely needed to sell in their stores. The beds represented everything Hollywood Feed is all about: great quality, outstanding craftsmanship, and made right here at home. As a previous employee, I decided to contact the owner, Shawn McGhee, and try to get him on board with the idea. It turned out to be easier than I thought. He loved the beds and contacted the owners about selling them in our stores.
After a few discussions with the Lazy Bones Beds owners, Shawn discovered that they had started their company as a hobby hoping to make a little extra money. The business was growing into something much more that required more time than they had. Both loved their current careers and neither wanted to leave those full-time jobs to manage the bed company. They approached Shawn about purchasing their existing inventory. After some consideration, Shawn expressed interest in purchasing not only the existing inventory, but the company name, any parts and materials they had on hand, and the existing customer base and supplier network information. A deal was negotiated and Hollywood Feed now had their own exclusive line of dog beds.
Shawn quickly got one of his trusted employees, Brittany Gilliam, on board. Brittany started with Hollywood Feed in 2008 at the Broad Avenue location. She worked her way up through the company and is now the Director of Operations, but before most of that happened, Shawn put her on the dog bed team.
Brittany began by getting the inventory of the original rectangle beds into the stores. Once the beds were rolled out, she set out to build on the early success of the line. Brittany and Shawn visited Mississippi many times to learn about the process, check out cut and sew shops, and learn about the sources for each part. They wanted to know where fiber comes from, what fabric options were available, and what possibilities lay ahead. Next, she began working on a pattern for a donut bed to offer customers a new style of bed. She didn’t stop there. She found fabric suppliers and worked with them to develop patterns, and changed the fiber fill from a brown fiber to a much higher quality white polyfill. After endless research and work, Hollywood Feed was proud to say they found cotton fabrics and polyfill in Mississippi, microfiber fabrics and thread in the Carolinas, and zippers in Tennessee.
Finally, they had a bed they could say made a difference in the community. That’s what Hollywood Feed is all about. We don’t just sell dog food, we want to make a difference in your dog’s life; we want to make it better. We don’t just supply endless dog toys; we provide quality and back it up with our promise. We search high and low for quality products, priced with our customers in mind. We work diligently to provide American made products while offering job opportunities in the communities we serve, not only in our stores but also through the products we manufacture.
The new styles and fabrics on the dog beds were a huge hit. Customers appreciated the high-quality fabrics that accented their homes well, and the dogs appreciated the first-class fluff and comfort the beds offered them. The dog bed line continued to grow, as did Hollywood Feed as a company. With Brittany taking on her new role as Director of Operations, Shawn decided to bring in someone else to take over the dog bed line. Enter Anne Ross, the new queen of the dog beds.
Anne has taken the line of products and developed it further to offer options for every dog in every situation possible. We not only sell donut beds, but rectangle dog beds, crate mats, orthopedic dog beds, cuddlers (for small and tiny breed dogs), and she’s got a day bed in the works. Anne introduced the exclusive Mississippi Made patch to the beds but had to hunt all across the country to find a supplier. She found a small, family-owned patch shop in Ozark, MO, one of the last remaining patchmakers in America.
“She found a small, family-owned patch shop in Ozark, MO, one of the last remaining patchmakers in America.”
Anne continues to search high and low for the best available American made goods to use in the building of the beds. She oversees the cut and sew process, manages product testing day in and day out, and handles customer service. She now has three cut and sew shops making beds, the original in Verona, MS, another in Rienzi, MS, and the sister shop to the Verona location, in Tupelo, MS.
Along the way, Anne also found many beautiful fabrics from around the world. While she loved the fabrics, they didn’t fit into the 100% USA sourced and made Mississippi Made line. Seeking to reach a broader audience, a second brand was born – Mississippi Cut & Sewn Dog Beds. She and Shawn work hard to find amazing resources from all over the world, and oversee their assembly with the same high standards by our partner cut and sew shops in Mississippi.
“Seeking to reach a broader audience, a second brand was born – Mississippi Cut & Sewn Dog Beds.”
So, Why am I here telling you this story?
Last summer after leaving my job, I contacted my friends at Hollywood Feed. I knew I wanted to be a part of this amazing group of people. The passion they share for this purpose – bettering the lives of animals everywhere – has helped this company grow quickly. They had a position in the corporate office that was a perfect fit for me and they welcomed me with open arms. I couldn’t be more blessed to be a member of this team, this family.
I’m here, writing blogs, training dogs, doing marketing, helping with the new e-commerce website, and assisting with merchandising in the stores. I’m even beginning to do some buying for the company. I’m proud to say I work for Hollywood Feed. I stand behind our amazing products, and I’m thrilled to see how far the dog beds have come in four years. It’s now an incredible honor to be a part of moving them further into the future.
“I’m proud to say I work for Hollywood Feed. I stand behind our amazing products, and I’m thrilled to see how far the dog beds have come in four years. It’s now an incredible honor to be a part of moving them further into the future.”
This post is about the family that I work with. It’s a network of all different types of people, from all over the country, interconnected because of a common passion – our dogs. You can trust the knowledge of our staff, the quality of our products, and feel good about all of your purchases at Hollywood Feed, especially the dog beds. Every detail of the process, from the buying of materials, to the last stitch on the bed, to warehousing and distributing the beds to all of our stores is carefully and methodically managed. All of this to ensure that you, our customer, and your four-legged family members get the finest American made products from Hollywood Feed.
- Billie Claire Darby