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Wagged bandanas dress up your pup, help save the world

We all have best friends -- that person you can talk to and is there for you. The love of man’s best friend, however, may have an even deeper level. It’s an unspeakable bond, mainly because dogs can’t speak, but that undeniable love is something that can definitely be felt. And while I’d love to play with my dog all day, I have to leave him everyday to go to work, but one entrepreneur created a business that combines her love for dogs and her creative designs. Jassenia Rodriguez partnered up with her grandma one summer afternoon, learned how to sew and came up with a brilliant idea which led to Wagged, a doggy bandana company that gives back to dogs in shelters.

Starting in May 2015, just a few months after graduating from the University of Miami, Jassenia decided to learn to sew from her grandma. “One day she pulled out her sewing machine and she taught me how to sew,” Rodriguez said. “I really got the hang of it, and I told her, ‘We could really make some money off of this.’ I’ve always loved design and I love dogs, so I wanted to combine the two -- that’s how Wagged was born.”

After Jassenia perfected her style and platform for her dog bandanas, she couldn’t help but think of all the dogs out there that were left abandoned or neglected by their owners. That’s when she decided she wasn’t going to just style dogs, but she was going to feed them too. “Our philosophy is, ‘One bandana feeds a dog for a day,’” she said. “When you purchase a bandana, a portion of the proceeds will go to food for a shelter. Each month, we partner with a different shelter.”

At the end of each month, Jassenia collects money for the proceeds and a portion of that goes toward food for a local shelter in the Miami area. She’s worked with Paws 4 You, MarrVelous Pet Rescues, Jamie’s Rescue and That Black Dog, to name a few.

Jassenia has even donated bandanas for dogs to wear at adoption events, because who couldn’t resist a pup looking stylish in a designer bandana?

She’s created several styles that range from plaid to polka dots to florals. Jassenia launches multiple bandanas in collections, just like any human clothing line, but she made sure dogs could still act like the rugged balls of fluff they were created to be. “They’re machine washable. If the dogs go outside, get in the dirt, in the water, you gotta clean the bandana to make it look good, so that’s why we use 100 percent cotton,” Jassenia said.

And although Wagged is a start-up, she’s gotten the attention of buyers all over the world. “I didn’t expect an international store at this point, but it’s basically through Instagram, social media,” Jassenia said. “I’ve posted pictures of dogs that have bought in the U.S. and it’s just spread from there. I’ve had sales from Norway, Australia, Canada, Ireland and it’s great. I didn’t expect it to blow up this way.”

Like any true millennial, she uses Instagram to promote her business, but she highlights several dogs she calls “ambassadors.” Here’s how it works: dog owners send Jassenia pictures of their furry friends modeling her fashion accessories, creating this sense of community all in the name of puppy love.

“I’ve created this thing called ‘Team Wagged.’ So all of my models are ambassadors for the brand. They’ll buy a bandana, model it for me from wherever they are; from any city, any country because all the pictures are different. They’re basically spokespersons—spokes dogs for my brand,” she said. “They’re representing dogs in shelters, since they’re giving back as well.”

Not gonna lie, I totally wanted to take home one for myself. Jassenia feels my pain though. Thankfully it was a no-judgement zone. “We always say if you buy a large, it could fit a human!” she laughed.

Instead, I decided to buy a cute plaid one called ‘Olaf’ for my Westie Macky.

Each bandana cost $15, but Jassenia understands we’re all struggling in that post college life, so she did us a solid with flash sales and “Free Shipping Fridays.” The promo code can be found on Wagged’s Insta.

Since we last spoke, Jassenia has come up with human T-shirts that match dog bandanas. Now Macky and I can stay twinning everyday, until it’s time to throw them in the wash and do it all over again.

If you’d like to learn more about Wagged, click here:

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