Paco Collars was born in 2002 when Ana Poe, a lifetime craftsperson and dog professional, was seeking a high quality leather collar for their pit bull, Paco, one that didn’t make him look intimidating. Nothing available on the shelves had the right “look,” and the custom collar market was pretty much nonexistent. While working at a dog day care, Ana’s mentor taught them how to make leather leashes for their training clients, and she casually suggested Ana simply make the leather collar they were looking for. Putting their art degree to good use, they did just that. And then made a few collars for coworkers. And then some for the display case. Soon, customers began inquiring about them and demand became so great that Paco Collars turned from a side gig to a full time job.
Paco Collars operated as a scrappy start-up for years, working out of warehouses, shipping containers, basements, and garages. Every cent made was poured back into the company. Paco Collars grew and grew, always striving to create better designs, do bigger shows, but never losing the core values of Strength, Love, and Style. In 2009, Paco passed away but, days later, the company moved into a small retail space in Berkeley, which is where things really took off.
Today, the studio is located in West Berkeley. There may be more space and more people, but we’ve never lost sight of what is important: making the perfect collar for your dog, from scratch, by hand.
Ana - Founder
Ana doesn’t like being called the boss, but Paco Collars was, and still is, their passion project. They’ve always been a craftsperson and find great reward in creating tangible, functional art. They spend much of their time working in the home studio on their farm where they live with cats, dogs, goats, chickens, rabbits, and their not-so-small human kid, as well as brushing up on new and better animal training methods. Ana is grateful that they get to do what they love every day, and looks forward to what the future holds. (Photo by Molly DeCoudreaux)
Kristin - Customer Service Queen
Paco’s Customer Service Queen is Kristin. She’ll help with your questions, and send your new bling for your best friend off on its way! She’s a long time dog lover with a weakness for Cardigan Corgis and other herdy nerdy dogs. (Photo by The Labs & Co.)
Jen - HR aka Head of Rhinestones
Jen is an artist/illustrator with an affinity for all things bird related. They joined Paco in 2017 as a retail associate, but quickly picked up the skills for production. They have found a creative home at Paco where they are involved in every aspect of collar-making: from cutting down full size hides to adding hardware, and creating some of our most sparkling designs. When not in the studio, they love to take road trips and can be found in their kitchen testing recipes for their future Taiwanese comfort food restaurant.
Duncan - Rivet Setter Extraordinaire
Duncan was first inspired to get into leatherwork watching reruns of The Antique Roadshow. From there, he bought himself some tools, a couple hides, and started giving all his friends homemade wallets and bags. He’s found a home at Paco where he can put these skills to use and pet lots of dogs, too. In his spare time, he works as an arborist, plays the ukulele, and cooks up delicious feasts. In the wintertime, he hunts wild mushrooms and in the summertime, he wanders the aisles of Berkeley Bowl seeking out the perfect nectarine.