JAY SAE JUNG on design & leather into the pet universe
BOO OH came from Jay Sae Jung’s will to offer the best & most comfy products to her great muse: Boo, the French bulldog.
And so she did, by bringing together the main aspects of her practice as a furniture & industrial designer: sophisticated lines ++ ingenious work with complex materials, like leather – but, this time, she relies on vegetable-tanning processes to achieve distinct finishes. 🐕🐕🐕
Different from Sae Jung’s previous artful designs (remember the Black Savage Collection?), Boo Oh is about solving problems and adding extra quality to the day to day lives of pet owners everywhere.
Her experience with the industry started out as a customer, that’s why she was able to identify the features it lacked the most. But it was Sae Jung’s experience as an insider of other design industries that brought unique elements to the table, creating minimalist & super functional products that people (& pets) not only need, but love.
She snatched the heart of the new generation by understanding society’s behavior shift: less kids, more pets – but with the same attention & care.
We chatted with Jay Sae Jung in this exclusive to get details of her design cross over. Scroll down & check it out.
You are a big name in furniture & industrial design, now you have taken over the pet industry. Where do you think these fields meet?
I always thought that, as a trained designer, I should be able to work for any industry where the opportunity arises. The pet industry struck me as one that was lacking good product design, and I thought I could contribute, potentially providing the best products in the market for pets and their owners, while leveraging my experience with design, materials and manufacturing methods. When design comes into play, we can apply a similar process to various industries.
You are also known for mixing art + design. In what ways do you apply these principles to create Boo Oh’s lifestyle?
While furniture design gives me more freedom to express my own message, feelings and handcrafting techniques I mastered over the last decade, with Boo Oh I mostly focus on solving problems and helping my customers to elevate their routine through useful products for their everyday life.
This brand was born of your love for your Frenchie Boo, but also in part to not finding accessories that reflected your personality. How did this mix of love & personal style inspire your brand’s concept?
As a puppy, and even until now, Boo has been a very high-energy and a hyperactive dog. I realized quite quickly when I got her, that it was hard to find products that were easy for me and for her to use, and I noticed I was replacing her gear too often, due to how quickly the products were wearing out. Another issue I was facing was the style of the products available. With Boo as my muse, I decided I wanted to design products that I couldn’t find in the market, objects that my dog would love wearing and that I would enjoy using. To give you an example: every time Boo realizes we're going out for a walk she gets frenzied and moves around in excitement so much that I used to struggle to get her ready quickly, it used to take me about 10 minutes with a standard harness. Considering this should be a simple operation that dogs owners need to do a few times a day, I found this process impractical and irritating. That's how the design concept behind the Ray Harness came to my mind! I focused on the function first, then the style came naturally with the choice of the materials and every single detail. From the Ray Harness to the rest of the collection, Boo Oh is about experience and lifestyle rather than simply the product itself.
One of the things that makes Boo Oh stand out is its perfect leather handcraft. Tell us how you work with this material to make products that people not only need but love.
I wanted to provide well crafted and high-quality products that can last for a long time and be liked more and more by dogs and their owners with use. Functionality, Quality, and Beauty are features that I’ve never wanted to compromise, Boo Oh responds to these needs. I believe we have to make our furry friends happy while making sure we use their products with pleasure and fun.
With such a deep understanding of materials & production, why did you gravitate towards Italian leathers for your designs?
It’s called Buttero Leather and it simply is the most durable and best looking vegetable-tanned leather I could find in the market.
This mix of high quality + minimal aesthetics is very attractive to the new generation, right-- since the pets are the new kids. How is the pet community responding to Boo Oh’s lifestyle?
Consumers are getting smarter and more conscious for sure. With many millennials among Boo Oh’s customers, I note their appreciation for detail, for the packaging, and for the message. I notice that many of them love taking photos or videos showing a renewed joy in walking their dogs with Boo Oh, as well as posting photos on social media of the products they just bought. I think I am doing a good job when I see the excitement for Boo Oh as a new line of products that improve the way people live.
Now two personal ones: what’s your favorite leather piece from your collection & where do you love to take Boo for a walk while wearing it?
Well, I love all of them! If I need to pick one I can say that the Ray Harness made my life much easier, and Boo loves wearing it too. We live in Seattle and we adore walking around Madison Park and Arboretum, we are lucky to have these areas close to home. She loves the water even though she can’t swim since she is a bulldog.
So if buying a new leash to replace the one the day-to-day destroyed is a yearly task for you, cross that out.
Boo Oh offers long-lasting leather pieces such as sophisticated collars, practical leashes & multipurpose bags (for carrying any treat, waste bag or even your keys). The prices start at $59, you just have to pick your fave color @ the brand's shop from classic black to clean mint green.
Jay Sae Jung kills it in every field, huh? — Including creating the perf playlist for good vibes while staying-at-home.
Come this way for more [metcha originals].