Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Look, I Sound Smart... Kinda

Prop 8 Rally from CafePress on Vimeo.

Okay, the truth is that I did not come up with that haiku on the spot, it actually took me a few minutes. But the way they edited it sounds like I'm an off-the-cuff genius. Heck, I'll take it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dressin' Like A Hessian

Ima Hesher

This is kind of my new favorite shirt. I'm not always in the mood to rock it, but when I am, watch out world.

So last week we were in Dolores Park, I was wearing this outfit (sans jacket) and, as we were leaving, a girl ran up to me and asked to take my picture. I'm not shy, especially with a tall boy in me, so I posed. I asked why she was taking the picture and she said, "Oh, for my fashion class. We're documenting street fashion"

"Really? Anything interesting?" I asked.

"There's lots of plaid," she said, and then ran back to her group of friends.

I was so flattered. I was on cloud 9, just so happy someone liked my outfit enough to seek me out. I mean, it's not every day you're singled out from an entire lawn full of San Francisco's finest to represent "street fashion."

As I reunited with my crew Leslie asked, "What did that girl want?"

"To document my outfit for her fashion class," I answered.

"Was it for 'what to wear' or 'what not to wear,'" she asked.

Um, that's a good question... I hadn't bothered to ask.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Only one more day in Pathetic-Town

As I bite into my gourmet breakfast of slightly freezer burned waffles that are still vaguely cold in the middle, I remind myself that this is the last day I have to live in this state. Aaron lands midday tomorrow and things will be back to normal.

It's not that I don't enjoy living alone and fending for myself, it's just that I'm no good at at. Aw, who am I kidding, I don't like it either. If left to my own devices I tend to let myself go, bathe irregularly, stay in my pajamas until high noon, eat only when I'm ravenously hungry, work until 1 am, fall asleep on the couch to the sound of the television, etc. But I can do the alone thing if necessary. I don't need Aaron around to survive, it's just that life is way better with him in it.

And at least I'm keeping busy. Paco Baby is almost up, running and ready for its mini pre-launch debut, I'm working extra hours so I can take a much needed Thanksgiving brain break, and Paco is getting all the attention in the world as he's temporarily #1 again. We've been hanging out with friends every day and he's meeting all sorts of new dogs. Check out the bear, I mean, dog we went on a walk with yesterday:

big boy

Newfoundland Hodgy belongs to Donyale's friend who is recouping from knee surgery, hence the reason D brought him on the walk. Here's Muggy and Lola for scale

Muggy, Lola, and Hodgy

And Donyale for scale

D and Hodgy

Really I shouldn't whine. Considering that, in the last 24 hours, my friend Bennett had to call the cops on an over zealous fan/stalker and Carolyn got hit by a car in front of her house while walking her dog, my problems are actually quite minor. Who am I to complain, really?

Addendum: Carolyn explained to me, over drinks tonight, that there's a specific term for the living style described above. The style of living which requires nothing more than the minimum upkeep expected for survival, contingent on no one else actually witnessing your day to day activities or holding you up to any sort of standards. It's called "going feral."

Right now I'm "going feral" by watching "Bring It On."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Babies = Emergency Plan

Don't freak out, I am not "with child." I will explain...

Today marked the beginning of "Paco Baby", a
Paco Collars spin-off providing leather baby belts and bracelets. Since there is fundamentally no difference between a 1" wide dog collar and a baby belt, it just made sense. The line will not be officially announced until Spring 2009, but the groundwork started today.

Tiffany (of and I drove down to Redwood City in the wee hours of the morn to meet with Bambi and her daughter Piper. Bambi is the one that really put the fire under the (training) pants of this project, so it was appropriate Piper be the first model. Besides, little P-dog already had a beltand bracelet made over a year ago so that meant less sample product making for me.

Piper is only two but she's got a head of hair like a lion. Here she is with Spencer:

piper and spencer by

Not a great product shot but I love it for the fact that it showcases their relationship (or, rather, Spencer's relationship with the cheese).

And then there's this. The abandoned bike, the fallen leaves on the ground, and the forlorn look in a little child's eyes... it's just killing me. I mean, it could be the cover to the most depressing album in the world, an album theoretically entitled "Childhood Lost" or "The day I learned Santa was a joke."

Or it could be the winning shot on ANTM... you decide.

So I spent the rest of the day mocking up some sample product pages to go along with Tiffany's
awesome shots. In the midst of this, Aaron called from Atlanta to check in. As I explained my activities for the day, I was suddenly struck with a profound realization: I'm enacting the emergency plan.

Last year I attended a cooperative conference and made sure to hit up the business plan session. When it was time to discuss worst case scenarios the presenter needed examples. "Ana," she said, "what's the Plan B for Paco Collars?"

Without skipping a beat I answered, "Oh, you mean if all the dogs in America died and everyone stopped buying dog collars? That's when we'd switch to making baby belts and do Paco Baby, because people will always have kids."

Now, in my mind, everything has followed a natural progression. We've always made leather products for people, including things for kids upon request, we have the capacity to produce more now, as I get older there are more kids in my immediate circles, we could use the sales since things are slow overall (shakes fist at economy), and people like Bambi are adamant it's a great idea. So I've blindly gone along with this "natural progression" not thinking twice about it when suddenly, after summarizing recent events into one or two sentences, I realized we've begun our Plan B.

So now, when people ask me my opinion on the economy, I can say, with a straight face, that we've gone into "worst case scenario" mode. Which would be "baby" mode.

p.s. This may not be the final version, but here's the working version of the Paco Baby logo. I need to get some impartial feedback, though, because right now I'm convinced it's the cutest thing ever.

paco baby logo

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bachelor Mode

So Aaron's been gone for less than 24 hours and I've switched into full bachelor mode. Pulled all the blankets to the couch, cuddled with the cat and dog and fell asleep to the tv, woke up an hour later than I should have, reheated nacho leftovers still on the counter, and about to start my second cup of coffee, a cup I gave up a few months back.

Why have I been driven to this point of sloth? Because Aaron's in Atlanta this week delivering the new robot. It's taken them nearly a year to get to this point, a point accomplished by a lot of blood, sweat, tears, then a little more blood, a few more tears, and so on.

Just to rub in the loneliness a little more, I've been going over video of Aaron demonstrating what the new robot can do. None of the footage is great, but this is the best one in terms of the fewest drunk people shouting in the background and a pretty clear demonstration/explanation of what you're watching.

[video is temporarily down while I work on making it better... check back in a few days!]

Once this puppy has a head... watch out, world.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Rainbow of Realism


The best thing about this picture is not that these two women are dressed as giant vaginas.

The best part is that they are "ethnic" and "caucasian" vaginas. And they are getting gay married. And they happen to be dressed in giant ethnic-and-caucasian-getting-married vagina outfits on a day that broke nearly 80 degrees in the middle of November.


Friday, November 14, 2008

My Petty, Petty Pet Peeve

For those of you that don't know, my job is Paco Collars. I founded it, own it, run it, make the product, advertise, eat, sleep and breathe it. Yes, I get a lot of help from a lot of people, but when when the feces hit the fan, it all comes back on me. I try to leave work out of this blog, but sometimes something happens that crosses the line and hurts my feelings personally...

So I'm in the middle of an e-mail correspondence with a potential customer (I do a hefty chunk of the customer service). They tell me about their dog, what collar they're envisioning, what customization they need, etc. We go back and forth until we come up with a piece that is both going to make the dog look amazing and the customer very happy.

"Great!" they say, "thanks for your help! I'm going to go put my order in through XXX store now!"


It's kind of like saying, "Wow. That sure was a great 3 dates we just went on. And thanks for the dress. I'm going to wear it every time me and my husband go out." Wait a minute, what husband? You seem to have left something pretty major out of the conversation from the get-go.

But that's just my personal butt-hurt. It hurts financially as well. Let me explain:

Say it costs us X to make a collar. We then mark it up a certain percentage to cover additional costs and maybe a little profit. That's the "wholesale" price. Let's call it W. Stores buy it from us for W and then "keystone" or double it. The end result is that the customer sees the same product for the same price (2W) everywhere they look. If they buy the product from us, we make the W. If they buy it from the store, the store gets the W.

Now, we're a teeny tiny company. Each order means a lot to us. That W means the difference between someone getting their full paycheck or us being able to afford a new printer cartridge. We make a little money off store orders, but not very much. And depending on the terms, sometimes we don't see payment from the store until a month after the customer gets it. Sometimes stores are forgetful and we need to track them down and bill them repeatedly. Sometimes we don't see that money for 6 months. Sometimes, by the time we actually get the money, we've spent so many hours trying to get our money that we end up losing money in the long run.

Sometimes we don't see the money at all.

So when a customer tells me, after a lengthy e-mail correspondence, that they are now going to make their order through XXX store that currently has an outstanding balance with us, it's kind of like saying:

"By the way, I'll not only be wearing that dress out with my husband, but I also kind of accidently took the cash out of your wallet while you're weren't looking. You're the best!"

Moral of the story: if you're going to go through the trouble of tracking us down and establishing a relationship, just order through us. If you intend to order through a store, have them ask us the questions so we can help educate them in the process.

End of petty rant.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One Week Ago

Kind of feels like a dream, but one week ago today (well, I'm writing this past midnight so I guess subtract one more day), hipsters sang the national anthem and waved flags with not a hint of irony. Cars honked, cops gave high-fives, and the entire city celebrated as one.

In our usual showing of style and class, we brought our own party.

It was so weird. Everyone smiled at each other, quiet streets sprung into spontaneous cheering, and while some residents were still hesitant about letting me into their house to use their bathroom, they at least escorted me to the most private public peeing spot.

But the evening was tinged with a bittersweet taste. There was barely a 3 minute lull between the warm afterglow of the acceptance speech to the news Prop 8 was winning by 57%. 3 perfect minutes in time followed quickly with a hit so hard it felt I'd been stabbed in the gut with a knife.

Sure the margin narrowed, but we all know what happened.

I contemplated removing my homemade car signs, but have yet to do so. Right now they read, "No on 8! No one should be denied the Mistake of Marriage." I figure I can't take them down until I come up with something that's both wittier but won't cause someone to bash my windows in. So I guess, "Only queers vote Yes on 8," and, "Congrats, you just let the White Man buy your vote," are probably not good options, but I figure the perfect slogan will come to me as things progress.

In the meantime, I am being as proactive as possible. I feel in times where you don't know what to do the answer is simply, "just do something."

Monday, November 10, 2008


That's me, Paco and Pirate. I'm
Ana Poe of Paco Collars. While I'm often quite vocal in the land of dog collars, there's not really much about me. That's about to change.

p.s. Paco's eye looks weird because he's in the middle of a dream... shhh!