What: Sunglasses for
Who: Ken and Roni Di Lullo of MidKnight Creations LLC
Where: Los Gatos, California
When: Started in 1997
Ken and Roni Di Lullo came up with the idea for Doggles--sunglasses designed especially for dogs--after noticing their dog, MidKnight, was always squinting in the sunlight. "We'd be wearing sunglasses to the park, and [our dog] didn't have anything on his eyes," says Roni. "We decided he needed something."
The couple tried putting some regular sunglasses on their dog, but nothing would stay on MidKnight's face. After they experimented with some sports goggles, the innovative husband-and-wife team developed a special pair that fit their dog's face perfectly.
Soon, MidKnight was sporting Doggles in public, and other dog owners began to approach the Di Lullos, dying to know where the dog-friendly sunglasses came from.
That's when Roni, who worked in computer science at the time, began making Doggles on a part-time basis. After their first son was born, she decided to pursue the venture full time. Meanwhile, Ken continued to work as a network engineer. But all that changed last year, after an e-zine called Daily Candy ran a story on Doggles, opening the door to a CNN story--and quadrupling sales overnight. Says Roni, "It's growing extremely fast at this point."
These days, both Roni, 32, and Ken, 35, work full time running their $1 million business, selling their innovative product through the Petsmart and Solutions catalogs, on the Doggles Web site (www.doggles.com), and in small boutiques. Says Roni, "People tell us they've been looking for this product for years, and they're happy we can help their dogs."