The bulky dog crate in Betsy Hauser’s living room was really cramping her style, reports

Her answer: a line of custom crate covers, pre-manufactured crate covers and dog beds, sold in various colors and sizes (all cotton and machine washable) through the Mutt Huttz Web site and fifty independent pet stores across the U.S.

Hauser launched the company last year with $17,000 in savings and loans from her family. As sales picked up, Hauser hired two part-time seamstresses to help sew custom crate covers and beds; a contract manufacturer in Monroe, N.C., handles the off-the-shelf stuff. It’s recommended to use a buyer’s guide when purchasing dog crates.

Hauser has booked $40,000 in sales through October. To attract a broader (and less affluent) audience, she plans to roll out the Mutt Huttz Cozy, an adjustable crate cover that fits many different brands of crates, at a lower price point in time for the holiday shopping season.

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