You’re wearing a beautiful and silky Spring dress that’s billowing in the warm wind. You are dressed to the nines and daydream about hopping on the runway and feeling like you belong. Because with an outfit like this one, you definitely belong. That is how I imagine my dogs feel when they’re in Cruize’n In Style accessories. These beautifully crafted pieces are made with high quality fabrics and materials, top notch sewing techniques, and some serious love.
Cruize’n In Style was founded by Kassie Kilpatrick and her wife Ula. It all started as a fundraiser to help pay for their dog’s surgeries and treatments. Their beloved Golden Retriever, Cruize, suffers from PICA. This gorgeous and sweet boy is the reason behind their amazing company.
Kassie is the creator of these unique and trendy dog accessories. Ula is the organizer and muscles for all of their marketing events, reluctant fabric cutter, and coffee maker. Cruize is the accessory model, treat eater, and event sidekick. This trio is one of our favs! Read on to find out more about Cruize and his amazing dog moms who made it all possible!
How did you get started?
My wife Ula and I worked on board cruise ships where I was a professional dancer and she was the Fitness Director. She was never allowed pets growing up and always dreamed of having a Golden Retriever. So one of the first things we did after settling onto dry land (due to my back injury) was to get a puppy! We know Golden Retrievers are prone to hip issues and cancer so we were comparing insurance plans but not in a rush to get one. We noticed early on that our puppy, named Cruize of course, was obsessively swallowing and pooping things out. We tried puppy proofing and training but we couldn’t seem to get him to stop. He never chewed anything- just grabbed and sucked it down in seconds. Sure enough he ended up having his first obstruction surgery and the vet told us his intestines looked severely inflamed and had many adhesions. She thought it was possibly genetic but wasn’t sure. We put him on a healthy diet with lots of probiotics, fish oils, and digestive enzymes but it didn’t stop his obsession. We were very careful with him but sure enough he ended up with another obstruction where he also ended up having 14” of small intestines removed due to adhesions. We knew from now on he couldn’t go anywhere without a muzzle to protect him from finding something to swallow and also we started hiring a sitter anytime we had to leave the house for more than a few hours since he couldn’t have anything but water in his crate. We used our savings account for the first surgeries and our vet was great about letting us make payments. Still- he ended up needing a third surgery and another barium flush. At this point she diagnosed him with PICA- an OCD where he obsessively swallows anything. She said it’s the worst case she has seen in 22 years. We started selling Christmas bows last year for $10 as a fundraiser to help pay his bills. It was especially difficult as we were also paying attorneys to help with Ula’s immigration from South Africa. We were committed to taking care of this puppy….and we knew it seemed crazy but that he was meant to be with us as we didn’t have a mortgage and kids and we could do our best to give him a chance. We decided to keep going with the accessories after Christmas. We had a friend design a logo and started expanding our line. We wanted to do something a bit different than what we had seen so we designed our rope tie bandanas with the faux leather ends as our signature reversible bandanas. Cruize’n In Style was officially born and 100% of profits went to his bills and treatments. We applied to local markets and started making a name for ourselves locally and now we are expanding with our Etsy shop and retail! As soon as all his bills are paid off we plan to continue in the spirit of helping animals and donate a percentage to our local shelters.
Tell us about your pup!
Cruize is such a happy and special Golden Retriever! He is a year surgery-free and I am happy to report that he is getting better with his PICA- although it is still something we are very careful with. He absolutely loves life and I am so glad we decided to fight for him because he is the love of our lives and so sweet. He loves massages, swimming, and running around playing soccer in the yard. Himalayan bones are his favorite treat! He loves learning new tricks and playing hide and seek. You can follow him on instagram: @cruize_the_retriever. We hope to add a brother or sister this year for him to have a playmate.
What and Who influence your work?
I was initially inspired by my favorite brand of jackets/hoodies from overseas. Naketano has awesome warm clothing and we both have jackets from their company, which have cool rope drawstrings with suede or leather ends. I thought it was a trendy touch for a bandana but of course with faux leather! Also loved the rope because we love all things nautical since we worked at sea. We have a lot of nautical inspired stuff because we love it ourselves, it suits Cruize’s name, and we also live by Clearwater Beach in Florida so the locals love it as well! My bow ties are all safer than Velcro bows as we had to make it “Cruize Proof” so he couldn’t wrestle it off and swallow it. We use elastic loops that are sewn through the whole bow and you simply slide the collar through to wear. Our customers constantly inspire us. When they ask for something, we start looking to include it- like our very girly silk bandanas. Of course everything we add we make for Cruize first to make sure we love it so now he has quite a collection!
What is another dog brand you love and why?
We love Boutique Wag! They are local here and we love to team up on Instagram to do giveaways and contests together. They make collars and leashes and a lot of them pair perfectly with our accessories. She is super sweet and we are both now featured in a great local dog store called St.PetersBARK! You should definitely give her a follow on IG: @boutiquewag. Her velvet collars and leashes are to die for and make me want to get a girl dog so we can wear her rose gold hardware.
What keeps you inspired?
Cruize definitely keeps me inspired! I know it’s a long road with his healthcare needs and this is a way to provide another stream of income to take care of him and make sure he is happy! Also, since retiring from my performing career, I now teach dance in the evenings so this is a perfect way to be able to stay at home with Cruize in the daytime since he can’t be left alone. I also LOVE getting photos of happy customers…that is the best feeling and makes me want to keep going. I firmly believe our pets are family. Life can be hard…but our dogs are always there for us. They deserve a little spoiling sometimes! Also seeing a dog in a cute bandana or bowtie ALWAYS makes people smile….so let’s spread some joy!
These pieces photograph beautifully, don’t you agree? But the real beauty is when you open your package of Cruize’n In Style accessories and feel how luxurious they are. Yes, I said it! These pieces are straight up LUXURIOUS! I will definitely not be letting the dogs wear these to the dog park! It’d be the equivalent of spilling red wine on that beautiful silky Spring dress!
GET YOUR SPRING ACCESSORIES HERE! And don’t feel bad about shopping for your pup again. Even if your husband thinks negative thoughts about your dog shopping addiction. Because you know what? This is for a great cause. Not only are you helping a dog in need, but you’re also helping a fellow dog mom’s dream become a reality! Let’s support these gals and purchase some beautiful and unique dog accessories from the Cruize’n In Style Etsy shop! Don’t forget to follow them on Instagram, as well!