In 2007, I was a new mom to a rambunctious yellow lab named Pablo. Pablo had stolen my heart, and like all new moms, I wanted to give him the best life possible. Which included getting him a proper ID tag.
But the problem was… All of the ID tags on the market were mass-produced and lacking the sentiment I felt my pup deserved. After all, he was only going to wear one piece of jewelry, so it had to be something worthy of his poster-dog status. So I set out to make my own ID tag. I purchased a set of letter and number stamps online, some tin snips and a sheet of copper from the hardware store, and found an old ball-pein hammer at an antique store. I sat on my porch and hammered out my first dog tag on a cinderblock. It was terrible. But, never one to settle, I kept trying until Pablo had a legible, handmade dog tag.
I put the tags on an Etsy store and found I was the only person on the site selling handmade dog tags. I made tags for every dog I knew and started visiting more and more craft shows.
Transitioning to Human Jewelry
One day, a crazy person at a show asked me if I could put her daughter’s name and birthday on the tag instead of the suggested dog name and phone number. She wanted to put it on a chain and wear it as a necklace. I thought she had lost her mind, but I obliged… and quickly realized that there were other people who wanted the same thing. Turns out, personalized jewelry is not just for the dogs. Production of Hattie Rex jewelry for humans had begun, and my business soared. Before long, I was a full-time CEO, working in sweatpants out of the basement in my Rolla, Missouri home. Today, I am located in the utopia of Bozeman, Montana. In my retail store, I’m able to meet face-to-face with my customers on a daily basis, helping them turn their ideas for customers on a daily basis, helping them turn their ideas for custom jewelry and pet tags into a reality.
Today, I am still using that antique hammer to create.