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Life & Work with Megan Aguilar

Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Aguilar.

Hi Megan, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Chompers & Sons is a passion project and a labor of love. I worked in the fashion industry for over eleven years and always had the idea to make something that was uniquely my own. I started buying clothes for my dogs, Chompers and Rango, but I wasn’t happy with the overall quality or aesthetic. It started with one shirt that my in-laws made for Rango and just grew from there. We make contemporary dog shirts and accessories. The prints and patterns I use are very on-trend. I think our pets deserve the best, so we really try to make the best for your pets. All of our pieces are handcrafted with a sincere attention to detail and quality fabrics. Our fur babies do so much for us and I think this is a really fun way to do something for them. I’ve had people use our shirts for weddings, parties and photoshoots. My dogs wear shirts every time we go out in public and we get such a genuine reaction of joy. I know I make dog clothes, but I’m really in the business of making people smile. You can’t tell me seeing a dog in a little button-up shirt is not going to make you smile!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I’m very lucky to have supportive friends and family. A lot of people in my life have helped C&S get to where it is today. The biggest struggle for me is balancing the brand as a full-time student. I mentioned that I worked in Fashion, but I am now pursuing a career in Communicative Disorders. So I’m essentially starting over, which means going back to school and facing new obstacles. Running a small business allows me to still have that creative outlet that I loved when I did work in fashion, but it’s challenging because I’m doing two completely different things now.

When you run a business, other people put expectations on you. They want new products, more content, more engagement, etc… They’re not seeing the full person behind the brand. I’m just one person doing it all myself. Any revenue we make from C&S goes directly back into the brand for new products or supplies. So I can really only make new stuff if and when people support the brand. I’m very transparent about that, but it means we’re working way different than most brands. A lot of the popular dog clothing companies are big brands with big budgets and even bigger resources. I’m working with a team of four, one of which is a dog, so I can’t compete. In all honesty, I don’t really try to. I do what works for me and hope it resonates with someone enough that they choose to support my brand.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Chompers & Sons is here to make people smile first and foremost. I make dog clothes and accessories in small batches, with a focus on quality. C&S specializes in button-up shirts for small pets. I’m known for my attention to detail and unique perspective to the dog industry. When I started in 2017, I was really the only company making these super funky prints, like my Up In Flames Shirt and Check Yourself Shirt. Even my floral prints were unique when I started because most brands were just doing graphic tees and tropical prints. I try to have a balance but I’m not afraid to put out something you wouldn’t typically see for dogs. Developing and building my brand, I’ve really tried to support my community in an honest and real way. I’m very proud of the work that I do and the way that I do it. LA Fashion District is local to me and when you’re there, you really see all the beauty and uniqueness that is LA.

POC and immigrants are LA Fashion, plain and simple. If you work in the industry, at any level, you have to advocate for the humans making and supplying your work. For me, this means purchasing from local POC family-owned businesses. I do not haggle for cheaper prices and I do not shop wholesale. It’s important to know where your clothes is coming from, even if it’s dog clothes. I’m lucky to work alongside my father-in-law and one seamstress, who are both masters of their trade. They bring our products to the next level and I’m just in awe of their talent. We also try to limit our footprint by repurposing extra fabric in our accessories, face masks, and packaging. We’ve donated masks to health care workers, street vendors, friends and family. I care a lot and I try to show that in my work. When I say I’m a small business, I mean it at every level.

In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
We’re already seeing a big shift in the pet industry. More people are dressing up their pets and trying to coordinate their outfits to match. I love it, it’s great. I would love to see more pet brands shift traditional power structures in the industry and advocate for garment workers. Garment production in Los Angeles is comprised of primarily Latin and Asian immigrants. They deserve more recognition, more support, fair wages and better working conditions. Let’s discuss that aspect of the industry. You can’t be sustainable if you’re not supporting the humans behind the success of your brand.

On that note, I’d also like to personally thank my own dogs. Chompers and Rango are and will always be Chompers & Sons.

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Image Credits:

The Pawlished Pup Anthony Paniagua Jorge Navarrete

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1 Comment

  1. Marilynn Ambos-Aguilar

    October 20, 2021 at 21:00

    Every time I read this I’m more proud of the human you are Megan. You are a amazing business woman, a great wife, a great sister and friend and by far you have surpassed my expectations as a loving daughter. Chompers and Sons will always be a part of our family. We will do whatever we can to help you keep this dream alive. Love Marmee Dad Dallas and Peanut

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