Woof & Poof Items Handcrafted in Chico
By Kimberly Boney
Works of WhimsyDecember 2014
By Kimberly Boney
Photos: Alexis LeClair
It's not enough to gaze upon the angelic smile on the face of Molly or the beautifully ribboned mane of Louis T. Lion from the pages of a catalogue. To truly capture the essence of all that is Woof & Poof, one of its stunningly beautiful, highly collectible pieces, designed and handcrafted in Chico, must be taken into your hands, wrapped in your arms and felt with your heart.
From its humble beginnings 39 years ago as founder Jacki Headley sewed pillows in her home to a robust product line of more than 200 high-quality home décor items, Woof & Poof has become a nationally renowned company.
When Headley lost her fight against brain cancer in January 2012, her husband, Graham Hutton, couldn’t imagine carrying on in her stead without the unwavering passion she had for a company that she had built from the ground up. “It’s not that the company wasn’t viable. But she was the heart and soul of the company – a visionary – and without her, he didn’t want to carry it on alone,” says Rodger Hart, President and CEO of Woof & Poof.
Hart, who owns the business with his wife Sabrina and his sister Sara Gonzalez, took over the company in January 2014. With a commitment to carrying on the Headley’s vibrant legacy, Hart is grateful for what they are bringing to the table.
“We complement each other very well. My sister Sara comes from a 30-year career in human resource management. Sabrina, my wife, has been a lifelong seamstress and quilter. She really functions as the designer, in collaboration with several of our managers. And my background is in banking and finance,” says Hart.
“We have a nucleus of very loyal employees and managers. A couple of the employees have been here for more than 25 years. Several others have been here between 15 and 20 years. They really kept the company afloat after Jacki passed away. We are in a position to carry on a great legacy for her,” Hart says.
Hart is proud that in an era in which so many sewn products are sent overseas for production, every Woof & Poof product is completely designed, cut and sewn right here at home, in their factory in downtown Chico. “To have a sewing operation here in California is very unusual.
We are committed to our roots here.”
Woof & Poof sells its products to more than 600 gift stores throughout the United States, including Nordstrom. At home in Chico, Woof & Poof products can be found exclusively at Made in Chico. Other North State retailers include Discover Earth in Red Bluff and Dandelion and Sugar Plum Kids in Redding. Woof & Poof offers retired products exclusively on its website.
From Atlanta to Dallas, from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, Woof & Poof receives rave reviews from shoppers at gift conventions. “People will walk by the booth and within seconds recognize that the products are made in America – it’s the high quality fabrics and attention to detail that make them stand out.”
If you can’t tell by the impeccable quality or the whimsical style, you’ll know an authentic Woof & Poof piece by the signature button. The buttons, added to many of the items when space is available, gauge the authenticity of a piece and clearly identify what year the piece was created. This sweet characteristic of Woof &Poof products speaks to the attention to detail that Woof & Poof collectors and retailers have come to know and love.
Woof & Poof keeps environmentally friendly processes at the forefront of its vision. The company recently joined forces with ECOSHELL, a local walnut processor that repurposes walnut shells into other viable materials. Woof & Poof uses the biodegradable and environmentally safe ECOSHELL as stuffing for some its products. This alternative to synthetic materials is further evidence of the company’s unwavering quality and consideration for the bigger picture.
With product lines for both children and adults, covering virtually every season, Woof & Poof has become a treasured jewel for collectors. The Christmas line remains the most popular amongst Woof and Poof enthusiasts. “There’s just something about Santa,” Hart says. Louis T. Lion has become the sweet, snuggly and courageous ambassador for children battling cancer, blood disorders and other lifethreatening illnesses in Southern California hospitals through a nonprofit organization called Discovery Arts. The program focuses on bringing joy to children through the creation of art. “They found Louis T. Lion and fell in love with him. The organization provides one to many of the children undergoing cancer treatment. We are honored and privileged to be a part of this effort,” says Hart.
If you are looking to share some love this holiday season, consider gifting a Louis T. Lion to a child in need by visiting www.discoveryarts.org/the-gift-shoppe
Woof & Poof • www.woofnpoof.com • (530) 895-0693