Karen Doss’s Fox + Hound is a family affair. She employs her mother and daughter, her father makes leather collars, and her dog Stormy, a dachshund, is the company’s inspiration. Three years ago, Stormy ruptured a disc. Doss took her from 417-land to Columbia to have surgery. Stormy spent 10 days in the hospital and was temporarily paralyzed; she also suffered from alopecia.
During Stormy’s recovery time, Doss had her epiphany. While washing Stormy’s bedding, clothes and toys, she used what she thought was a beneficial everyday detergent. But conversations with veterinarians revealed that this detergent could be harmful. “We created a special laundry detergent that was going to be nontoxic for [Stormy],” Doss says. “It took two years in the making, but we created a sugar-based all-natural laundry detergent.”
Doss and her husband co-own Flexo Shine, which sells eco-friendly cleaners to the printing industry. This gave Doss access to a chemist, providing the means to create something new. Armed with business know-how and a six-digit following on her personal Facebook page, she willed her business into existence, creating a few other products to go along with the detergent. For most of 2017, she put her product online and on display at pet shows under the name De L’Amour. She found success but decided a rebrand was in order after watching her son’s Springfield-based business, lifestyle and grooming brand Emerson Park, flourish.
Doss renamed the business in February 2018 to Fox + Hound—“Fox” for her grandson, Phoenix, and “Hound” for Stormy. Three years in, it’s now a full-fledged pet grooming line, producing shampoo, candles, colognes and an assortment of other products using mostly natural ingredients. At press time, Doss’s products were sold by 20 stockists. She hopes to increase that number to 40 or 50 by the end of 2018. “There was a need for great pet product,” Doss says. “Had it not been for Stormy, I do not think I would’ve known there was a need for that.”
Behind the Business
Date opened: 2015
Mind to market: “Right now I can make 100 bottles [of whatever the production focus is] a day.”
Most popular item: Doss’s Sensitive Skin Dog Shampoo for dogs with itchy or flaky skin, allergies or hair loss
Maker’s choice: Solid colognes for dogs. “They smell so good—I wear them. In testing, when you find the right one, you know.”