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Meet Fabiana Rodriguez of Oki Doggy in Hancock Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fabiana Rodriguez.

Fabiana, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Oki Doggy started because of a dog full of fleas and scraps of fabrics. Funny enough, this is a true story and when this happened, I was in full panic mode, definitely to think the entire house could be infested by fleas wasn’t funny at all. It was by November 2011 when our dog Mocha, a field spaniel mix pup we rescued at West LA shelter out of the blue was full of FLEAS! This was a “new” dog mom rookie mistake so on top of feeling guilty because Mocha was feeling itchy, I was disgusted thinking my house was literally TAKEN by those suckers.

Basically, I tossed away any single item that wasn’t washable and felt grateful some of my favorite pillows had removable covers. Back then, Mocha didn’t have a proper bed, the first day we got her home we grabbed a comforter folded and made it as fluffy as we could to make it more comfortable thinking of getting her a bed sometime down the road. Well, we didn’t and the reason why is I really didn’t like what was available in the market, everything looked the same, the fabrics were all synthetic, the prints and colors were kinda boring so I never found something I really liked. So by the time, the flea infestation happened, I kinda felt good I was able to wash her “bed” just like that. Then, it was when it clicked! What if I created it? What if I made it with a designer aesthetic and it actually blended with the home decor or better yet what is the entire bed was washable? One thing I was sure, I wasn’t alone in this dog mom hunt for the perfect dog bed and so, I did! I made a sort of pillowcase and tucked the blanket inside and there it was: a 100% washable dog bed. I not only did the bed cover, I did a bow tie, a toy and cushion covers for the toss pillow over the bed ALL in coordinating fabrics. That was the first concept and the spark that ignited this journey. And of course, Mocha has a lot do too, she is the reason why Oki Doggy came to fruition but also the reason it has a purpose and became this rescue shop that gives back with every purchase. Truth is, the first time I stepped into a shelter it hit me really hard, so when I rescued Mocha, I promised myself to find a way to help animal shelters. Little I knew back then, Oki Doggy would my way to channel that dream.

Oki Doggy was born officially born in November 2012 with one thing in mind: to give back to rescue. Over the years, Oki Doggy has progressed into an entire line of products that range from dog beds to accessories to now the WEAR L.O.V.E. (LOVING OWNERS VERSUS EUTHANASIA) clothing line, ALL with the mere and only purpose to fulfill my dream of helping animals in need. Rescuing Mocha was the most rewarding experience I had and I’m happy to advocate for what I believe with all my heart through my brand. I feel blessed to work doing what I love and following my dream of giving a second chance to animals in need.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
I guess the harder part to start a business is actually to START the business.There are very high hopes and then one begins to realize it might take longer that one might have anticipated. The very first months were very hard. Let’s make this clear, I started this without a clue how to run a business so, it was basically me behind a big heart and my will to help animals what pulled OKD through the rough patches but also my freelance career was gaining momentum so OKD was shadowed by it. I’ll say Oki Doggy has reborn in mid-2015, when I joined a NKLA event in Park La Brea. That day was a blast, got to hang out with tons of rescue organizations and I got to meet my rescue hero, Zach Skow from Marley’s Mutts. That was epic, but there was something bigger waiting for me in 2016, and it wasn’t exactly what I expected. In February 2016, my father got sick, I learned that a couple of days after I was closing and agreement about designing an exclusive line for trainer Angela Adan line that would support her Girl On a mission Road Trip across the nation. It was my very first opportunity to have Oki Doggy supporting a cause that would impact people and their dogs nationwide. My heart was shattered in many ways, I was losing my father and my dream seemed to vanish right in front of my eyes, I felt helpless but I didn’t give up. I left to Argentina to stay with my father on his final days and then one day, while I was there the orders started coming. From miles away, my husband helped me to pull this through and together we made the impossible to fulfill every order, WE WERE making it happen. Oki Doggy was happening! Definitely, this life event restored my connection with Oki Doggy and redirected it to the path it was intended to be today. No doubt the best part was, I got to share this with my father while I was there and I know he was very proud of me.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
What makes Oki Doggy unique is the fact everything is handcrafted one by one by me. Oki Doggy is a one-woman show where I change hats as needed. Each of my product has a story behind. I search my materials very carefully, to bring unique pieces that meet both functionality and design. The design aspect of Oki Doggy has a very strong presence in all my products and it’s carried through the entire line. People usually describe my brand as cute and to be honest I think it is indeed very cute and I’m pretty proud of it I think it says a lot about me, its fun, eclectic and colorful. I’m very perfectionist only when I think the design meet my standards, I put them to test with my very own dogs, who else right? As a dog mom, I’m always looking to bring something that other moms would enjoy having, something that also fills a purpose, that’s my ultimate goal if it’s a useless item I don’t see the reason why to offer it. I get bored very easily and when I see the same thing everywhere then is where I see the potential to reinvent it and the opportunity to bring something different to the table. Same with my clothing line, all the sayings in my T-shirts are intended to make a statement. I’m focused on creating conversation pieces, something meaningful and related to what advocate for, RESCUE. Having a business that is committed to giving back, I feel the responsibility to give my clients a reason to keep coming back. I put my knowledge from all these years as a designer to create something extraordinary if it isn’t unique, it doesn’t work for me. I’ll say my biggest challenge is to bring innovation and keep it fresh without sacrificing design and quality and at an affordable price. Not an easy task but that’s what makes my job so fun.

What were you like growing up?
Growing up was full of FUN. I’ve been always very artsy and would be the kid sitting in the corner painting or creating things or playing with animals, during my childhood we used to go to the mountains during summertime where enjoyed riding horses and playing with my family dogs. Ironically, I never had a dog of my own until I got Mocha. Buenos Aires is very large city and living in an apartment building didn’t feel like the best idea, of course not for me but for my parents. I swear I begged for a dog my entire life, lol. I always have a huge imagination, I loved creating art pieces with mud, intricate buildings with legos, knitting or taking ballet classes. My life was everything about showcasing art in any possible way. I was the lead singer of a garage band, I took acting classes, painting classes you name it! No wonder, when I was to pick a career becoming a graphic designer was a no-brainer. I’m a true Libra, an undeniable dreamer, I must admit that might not have my feet on the ground most of the time but this is my secret weapon and where my creativity resides its the powerhouse that gives flair to my creations and where my eclectic side comes from. It’s definitely my most defining aspect and what describes me the most and I believe that’s also what connects me so deeply with animals. I know my spirit animal is a dog.

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Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Dyann Gronewald

    March 6, 2018 at 23:34

    Fabiana is my lovely upstairs neighbor, along with her husband Martin, and their two pups, Mocha and Chiquita. ♥️♥️♥️

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