In a way, we were born to run Kurgo. Our parents were apparel manufacturers, retailers, and entrepreneurs. We also grew up exploring the woods of Vermont, surrounded by dogs: a couple of mix breeds named Muffin and Prancer, as well as Tu-Mesh, a wolf/Rottweiler puppy that we smuggled back in a duffle bag from a canoe trip to northern Quebec.
Growing up in our parents’ store taught us the value of a hands-on approach and an insistence on quality. Every Kurgo product is made to the highest standards, including a lifetime guarantee. We’ll always be personally involved when it comes to design, manufacturing, and customer service. You can often find Kitter out back stitching together his next product idea, or Gordie traveling the country meeting with retailers, getting feedback to make our products and customer service better. As brothers with an entrepreneurial background and complementary skillsets, it was natural for us to work together. Focusing on pets, however, wasn’t so obvious; we have Zelda to thank for that.
Zelda was Kitter’s beloved Plott Hound. She had a mind of her own and often tried to nudge her way into the front seat. On one trip, a short stop threw her to the floor of the driver’s side where she ended up wrapped around the pedals. This inspired Kurgo’s first product, the Backseat Barrier. Now she’d be safe in the backseat, and we’d be safe in the front.
We designed the Backseat Barrier – like all Kurgo products – because we saw a need. Today, people see dogs as part of the family and are increasingly bringing their pup along wherever they go, whether it’s a week-long vacation or just a trip to the store. There’s a real role for gear that makes the trip safer and more enjoyable. Like resourceful Yankee artisans that came before us, we craft products that are long on usefulness and quality, and short on frivolity. So when you see a dog wearing a coat with a Kurgo logo on it, you can rest assured it’s cold outside.
We take our work very personally. If a product fails or is cheaply made, we feel like we let our customers down. It’s truly humbling when people spend their hard-earned money on something we’ve made. There’s enough junk in the world, so we never create a product unless we think it solves a real need, is original or a major improvement on what’s on the market, and can stand the test of time.
When we think back to growing up in Vermont, or today when we take our families to our camp in Maine, dogs are always a central part of those memories. Zelda’s gone now, but she still lives on as the model for Kurgo’s logo, and today we’re inspired by new furry friends. And at its heart, that’s what Kurgo is all about: Innovating great products that let people and their dogs explore the world together.
- Kitter & Gordie Spater