We had the good fortune of connecting with Amber Cupples and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amber, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
As a Mom of 2 very independent girls, I believe the best thing my husband and I have done for them is lead by example. Children should see their parents kiss, they need to see happiness and love. We don’t shield them from reality and we have adult conversations with them.

We treat our kids like adults and always have since day one, with a little censoring of course. We take them with us to fancy functions so they learn to interact with adults and have proper etiquette. They both have rolls in our business that teach them the value of hard work and sweat equity. Our girls are also homeschooled as of 2020 and it has been a huge game changer for us. It allows more family time and for us to monitor what they are learning. They are taking classes on entrepreneurship, logic and money management. Subjects that we choose and that make for a solid foundation in life. Our daughters are our legacy, not our business, our home or our income. We want them to be the best versions of themselves and be successful members of society. They make us proud every day.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Being creative, is my calling for sure. I had spent years in an office being confined and miserable. Cranky with a short fuse was a good way to describe me back then. My husband finally said, “you have to quit your job and do something that makes you happy”

I spent about a year being a stay at home mom, baking cookies, decorating the house, all those house wife things. It was exactly what I needed. I started sewing again, I have my degree in Fashion Merchandising and Design. To me sewing is relaxing. Once I started Kona Dog Wear I knew I had to do something different to set us apart from the hundreds, if not thousands of other dog gear makers out there. I put my background in textiles and manufacturing to work. I sourced dozens of different hardware manufacturers and tested numerous metals, fabrics, buckles, threads. Every step of the process down to the sewing machine needles that we use was tested. In the end we have a dog collar that is unlike any other. I am extremely proud that we can say our products are Made in America by a small family business. We do import a few supplies but I get them from American owned small distributing companies. We try and keep our supply chain domestic as much as possible.

Kona Dog Wear gear is exclusive, you won’t find our patterns anywhere else, my daughter and myself draw our designs and occasionally we bring in guest designers for special collaborations. All of our hardware is rust proof and our gear is machine washable. We want everyone to feel confident that their dog is safe and can get dirty in our gear.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in life and with this business is, you have to find your calling, your niche, what sets you apart from others and run with it. Taking risks is part of the process. If you aren’t happy then you won’t put the required effort in to succeed. Find your passion and make it your mission, that one thing that gives you the drive to keep going. I am able to turn my love for dogs and passion for art and sewing into a career, it took me 30 years to figure that out but I’m so thankful I did.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh that’s a tough one. We would definitely be spending a lot of time by the pool with some Pina Coladas. I’m kind of a home body. I’d much rather cook and have 50 people at my house relaxing and having a good time.

However, when I go out there are a few places we really like. First start with Tatchos from Morning Kick in South Gilbert. If the weather is not too hot then a stroll through Veteran’s Oasis Park. Dinner in Downtown at Postino’s for sure. Then after dinner drinks at The White Rabbit.

We really enjoy Top Golf and they have excellent food. When my best friend does come to town we always visit the Phoenix Zoo, the kids really enjoy it.

During the week we would for sure hit up Hair of the Dog for some drinks, maybe their trivia night or live music.

Saturday Mornings, you have to go to the Gilbert Farmers Market and then brunch at Liberty Market. Later in the evening catch a Phoenix Rising Soccer Game. They are so fun and you’re so close to the field you feel like a real part of the action.

Sunday mornings are great for a scenic drive, Lost Dutchman for the tourists and then a twisty drive to Tortilla Flats for ice cream.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh man, where to start, this list could go on forever. But I’ll try and keep it brief. If we go way back my parents absolutely deserve a ton of credit. They taught me so much about self-development and entrepreneurship, money management, being a great spouse and parent. All that I am today is because of the great examples they are to me.

I also wouldn’t be where I am without my husband, Sean. We just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary last week. He supports me in all my crazy ideas, whether that’s tearing down a wall in our home, getting 4 dogs or starting a new business. He is amazing and knows just when to say those magic words, “Yes, Dear!” Sean is also perfecting his sewing skills and helps me with the business a lot. I think he needs a promotion to CEO or something.

I have to give a tremendous shoutout to my “tribe” I have the most amazing group of friends that are always rooting for me, asking how the business is going and telling their friends about our products. One friend in particular I have to give some extra love, Michelle. In 2018 she adopted a Chocolate Lab Puppy named, Benelli. I had wanted a Chocolate Lab my whole life. So, I adopted Benelli’s littermate, Kona. After making a couple collars for Kona, Michelle told me, “People would buy that, you should sell them!” and the rest is history.

Website: www.konadogwear.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/konadogwear

Facebook: www.facebook.com/konadogwear

Image Credits
Kona Dog Wear Nicki Bosch Photography

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