Greetings! My name is Jessica Furtado, and I’m an artist and writer from Haverhill, Massachusetts, where I live with two dashing rescue dogs and my fiancé, Jeremy. I quit my day job as a children’s librarian this past May in order to fully devote my time to my shop, All You Need is Pug.
The idea for All You Need is Pug began when I adopted my pug, James Dean (JD for short) from a local rescue. During my first winter with him, I saw how much he hated the cold, so I started looking for garments to keep him warm. What I found was that there was no shortage of cute dog clothing on the market, but most of it fit poorly due to JD’s stocky shape. So, I asked my mother, who is an avid knitter and crocheter, to make some clothing for JD; the result was a knitted hat. When I shared photos of JD in his new headgear, people instantly wanted to know where they could get similar hats for their dogs, so I asked my mom to teach me how to knit. I opened my Etsy shop in 2009, after she gave me her blessing to take the dog hat idea and run with it.
Since I opened my shop, I’ve fallen into a daily rhythm: most of my day is spent knitting, and I usually knit in intervals of 2-3 hours at a time, with breaks in between to rest my hands. People often ask what I do for background noise during all those hours working the needles. The answer? I enjoy films, so I often work in my living room and watch movies while I knit up a storm. The remainder of my time is spent packing orders, answering messages, posting on social media, and working on new design concepts.
While I’m always actively looking for inspiration, my main muse will forever be my pug, James Dean. This little dog has taught me more about living a beautiful, fulfilled life than anyone else I know, and my shop would not exist without him. His sweet disposition and curious personality have motivated every piece that I have created for All You Need is Pug, and my shop has come a long way since the first dog hat came off the knitting needles. In the beginning, I sold a single hat style, which I customized to fit each of my customers’ pets. After seeing the success of the original hat, I focused on coming up with new hat patterns, finding inspiration in everything from children’s books to fashion editorials. My customers have also provided me with creative fuel; some of my favorite designs have been sparked by ideas that customers presented to me.
The best part about having an Etsy shop are all of the wonderful relationships I’ve formed here. So many of my clients have become friends, and we keep in touch through social media. One thing I’ve learned from All You Need is Pug is that indecision can be a surprising asset for creative work. I used to worry about the fact that I had trouble deciding on a career path, and it took me years to realize that I didn’t have to choose to be one thing, but could rather embrace my desire to be many different things. My Etsy shop has given me the ability to be a photographer, knitter, illustrator, marketer, and more, all without having to define my career by choosing a single passion. The greatest gift that Etsy has given me is the realization that being successful isn’t determined by a job description or a title, but by the amount of creativity that you have and how far you are willing to take it. My Etsy shop has been an opportunity to discover a drive that I never knew existed in me, and a career that I never knew I wanted until I found an idea, cultivated it, and used Etsy as the platform to bring that idea into the world.
I am excited for the future of All You Need is Pug. It is my hope that in the next year or two I will polish up my sewing machine skills and add new garments and textiles to my dog clothing line, such as jackets and t-shirts. I also hope to grow my Etsy shop by bringing more dog breeds into the mix. While I currently create clothing for dogs of most breeds, shapes, and sizes, my paper goods and tote collections have been largely limited to pugs, and I would love to expand these lines by including other dogs, especially now that a French Bulldog mix has been added to the All You Need is Pug family.
Photography by Jessica Furtado and Jeremy Boutin.