Q+A: Oh My, Millie!
How to spread more love and joy and support our communities during the pandemic? The two founders of “Oh My, Millie!” found their answer by creating one of a kind, hand-drawn pet artworks and fun-lovin' merch. We sat down with Mel and Wendi, sisters and co-owners of “Oh My, Millie!” to discuss the positive power of pets, especially of their lovely Millie and the creative products they developed to celebrate it.
First off, can you tell us the story behind "Oh My, Millie!"?
Wendi: We're a sister founded company, and we launched in March 2021, during the pandemic. Millie is Mel's sheepadoodle. She's very cute. She brings me so much joy and I love to pupsit! Especially during the craziness and dark times of COVID, she was just a constant reminder of joy and happiness, which other pet owners we know can really relate to.
During the pandemic, especially with so many people getting pandemic puppies, we found that pets spread so much love to their owners - always and especially during these crazy times
Mel wrote and illustrated a children's book featuring Millie for her daughter, Olivia. Once people saw the art work in the book they started asking for their own illustrations of their own pets. From there, Oh My, Millie! really seeks to spread joy and love, helping pet owners celebrate their pets in fun ways.
Mel is the creative director and the one who makes all the custom illustrations. We also offer whimsical items, like "dog-dad" or "dog-mom" hats and items for all types of pet owners, not just for dog owners.
Oh My, Millie! really seeks to spread joy and love, helping pet owners celebrate their pets in fun ways.
What sets “Oh My, Millie!” apart from other clothing apparel and pet stores?
Wendi: For the custom work, everything we do is hand drawn and made to order, so every item is unique. For our ready-to-wear merchandise, we do limited drops, so there's a finite quantity around being able to participate in the movement of the brand. We are also dedicated to giving back to the community. We recently donated to Hurricane Ida pet relief.
After seeing your unique product selection and learning that most of it is customizable, it made me curious: what is your process, or what ideas do you have when designing a new product?
Mel: There's just so much fun that you can have in expressing a pet's personality through an illustrated cartoon. Because a number of our products are completely personalized, they are inspired by people's pets! Wendi does all of our operations, customer service, sales, and all of the back-end elements, and she's able to help the customers provide a photo that will have enough personality to then transcend into a fun cartoonist style that I illustrate. Each dog is hand drawn. I got started illustrating as a political cartoonist. I used to draw political cartoons in high school and college for the local papers. I’m also a new mom, so I read a lot of books to my daughter. With those two experiences combined, I'm always looking for different ways to personify pets to imbue a certain mood, expression, or behavior.
I'm always looking for different ways to personify pets to imbue a certain mood, expression, or behavior.
What brought you two to DUMBO?
Mel: I live in Dumbo with my husband, my daughter and Millie. Wendi's a regular visitor :) I was really attracted to the neighborhood. It's very dynamic. It has this kind of "industrial meets hippie." Then you also have the waterfront. There's just a lot of activities and life going on here. There’s a lot of foot traffic on the weekends. And when COVID is not a thing, there’s so many international visitors, which we also like.
What’s your most popular product? Is there a specific product that you guys would recommend?
Wendi: We have a sweater that says, "Must Love Dogs". It comes in a few different colors - it's very popular! In terms of the custom products, people love our white "Fan Club Sweater" with rainbow font. We let our customers select the color of the sweater and the color of the font so the item is truly a personalized expression of their love for their pet. Our customers also love our embroidered hats that we can customize with your pet on it. Initially we started with the sweaters, but then a lot of owners reached out, "We want our pet on a tumbler or a puzzle, etc." We're constantly expanding our product line to meet our customers' needs.
What’s your favorite spot in DUMBO?
Mel: Millie and I love Butler Bakeshop, mainly because of the dog take out window, which we were using even before COVID because Millie is addicted to their peanut butter cookies.
Wendi: I have so many favorite places. If we’re going out on a nice day, it’s always fun to go to the dog park under the bridge. Afterwards, maybe grab something at Almondine; their croissants bring me in. I feel like that’s a nice summer and fall activity we’ve been doing often. We also like to walk through Empire Stores and the Dumbo Flea.