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New Product Hopes to Collar the Market

According to its creators, ALU is “the traditional dog collar re-designed.” The name ALU comes from Aluminum, which is the material used in the collar due to its strength to weight ratio. Another great thing about aluminum? It is 100% recyclable!

We were intrigued by the eco-friendly aspect as well as the stylish and unique look of this new prototype collar from MEMA Pets. The creators have launched a Kickstarter campaign in an effort to raise funds to put the collar into full scale production. MEMA Pets was founded by Mehdi Malek and co-founded by Patricia Ochoa. Two friends who met at Point Isabel dog park in Richmond California. We reached out to Ochoa to find out more about their latest endeavour.

What made you decide to go into the dog collar business?

MEMA pets Founder, Mehdi Malek and I met at Point Isabel dog park in Richmond, CA we were each walking our own dog, and our dogs became dog park friends. So Mehdi and I started talking “dog,” (like strangers do when their dogs are playing together) but talking “dog” was different with Mehdi, we started talking about some of the challenges and responsibilities that come with owning a dog, and what products we would invent to improve the lives of our dogs. Mehdi is a Mechanical Engineer and was starting his own product development firm called MEMA Engineering at the time, and three years later I joined him and we started MEMA pets together, a pet product company that focuses on designing and developing high quality pet products.

MEMA Pets 2How is this collar different from those already on the market?

One of the challenges that we faced was always needing to buy another dog collar, because the ones we were buying would fall apart, get dirty, and look bad in such a short amount of time. My dog had destroyed so many collars simply by wearing them and doing what dogs do. I felt bad about throwing the collars away, so I started collecting them thinking I could at least re-use the hardware that came with the collars, but those too would crack or break and look bad just after a few months of wear. So we decided to re-design the traditional dog collar with three goals in mind, ease of use, quality materials, and longevity. After much research we chose aircraft grade aluminum for our hardware because of its strength, durability and because it is lightweight. For our webbing we chose cork, because it’s the next best thing to leather, (but no animals have to die in order to make our dog collars), cork is also waterproof, fire resistant and mosquito repellent. We decided to also use Hemp webbing on the back of the cork, closest to the dogs neck, because hemp is one of the strongest and most durable of all the natural textile fibers; it’s also resistant to mold and ultraviolet light. Hemp also gets softer the more you use it making it an ideal material for our dog collars. We finish the collar by sewing it together with UV bonded polyester thread that resists UV sunlight, mildew, aging, and abrasion.

But our biggest difference from other collars is our ease of use design; we have two rare earth magnets that align the two pieces of aluminum that make up our buckle design and ensure that they fit into each other easily. We have carefully engineered the buckle so that it is mechanically held together, metal to metal. So the harder the dog pulls the greater the clamping force gets preventing the collar from coming loose. And since Mehdi is a Mechanical Engineer we’ve also done FEA (finite element analysis) simulations on the buckle and collar as a whole to make sure the metal doesn’t deform at any amount of force that a pulling dog can create. We can truly say that our collar is the most Carefully Engineered collar on the market.

Why should people contribute to your Kickstarter campaign?

I think if most people have the same opinion about dog collars that we do and are ready for a new and modern dog collar that’s fun and easy to put on, then they’ll want to be the first to contribute to the campaign in order to get an ALU collar at the Super Early Bird special of $70 (exclusive to the first 50 people). After kickstarter we will sell our collars on our website at the full retail price.

How much money do you hope to raise?

We need 50 people to pre-order the “Super Early Bird” ALU collar that is $70, 100 people to pre-order the $85 “Early Bird,” and at least 158 people to pre-order the “Better Late Than Never” deal that is $95. That’s 308 Pre-ordered ALU collars in order to raise $27,000 to pay for material, manufacturing, tooling, and plating.

To learn more or to contribute to their Kickstarter campaign, visit www.memapets.com.

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