Mississippi business owner puts a Southern twang on haute couture pet accesories
Story by L. Taylor Smith | Photos by Harrison Lingo
Arts | May 2015
Jordan Clark has the art of dog collars down pat. With a sewing machine that can do 1,500 stitches per minute and a bustling hustle driving her creative enterprise, she has grown her home business far past her Mississippi roots.
For nearly five years, ScatterBrained Collars has kept pets in the MidSouth and beyond stylish with high quality fabric collars and leashes. Clark started making dog collars after ones she had gotten from a cousin broke. “Our son learned to walk with the dogs, and he learned how to pull up with them,” Clark says. “All we could find were big spiked collars, and I thought ‘Oh yeah, that’d be perfect for a 9-, 10-month-old kid to be around.’”
Clark asked her grandmother who raised her to show her how to make collars on her own. After posting a photo of the finished product on Facebook, ScatterBrained had its first order. “I posted a picture, and a guy from high school asked where I got them. I told him I made them, and he ordered five collars.”
Though business was staccato at first, due in part to a move back to Southaven and some learning curves along the way, ScatterBrained products are now in 30 retail locations across the country, including the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk.
The extensive reach of her products is even more impressive given that Clark is a one-woman operation. “I do all my photography, all my listings, find all the fabrics, order all my supplies, I’m the one driving everywhere,” Clark says. “When I wake up in the morning, I have to worry about whether I’m going to make any sales today, am I going to make enough to provide for my family.”
During the spring and summer season, Clark bounces between festivals and shows all across the MidSouth, including Oxford, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; and Fayetteville, Arkansas. “At first, my grandfather who raised me didn’t really get it. I had gone to Jackson and did $800, $900 in sales and he was like ‘All for some damn dog collars,’ and now every time I do a new show or get a new retailer, I think ‘Yup, some damn dog collars,’” Clark says with a laugh.
Each product of ScatterBrained Design is made with mold and mildew resistant materials with fabrics that have been hand-selected by Clark to make sure customers are getting unique and long lasting pieces for their fur babies. “I have people who send me pictures of collars from three years ago and their collars still look really good, and they wear them every day.”
Despite some setbacks and obstacles, Clark is thankful for the experiences she’s had that wouldn’t have happened without ScatterBrained. “I have the bad customers and the bad experiences but, just like anything else in life, the good experiences outweigh all of that,” Clark says.
One experience in particular stands out to Clark, who has has three “fur children” — Taaka, Stoley and Gizmo — in addition to her son Avery. She was at the Agricenter for a show with her husband, Cody, and pitbull mix, Taaka, when Taaka started pulling on her leash in the crowd. “My husband calls her an overgrown chihuahua, and I’m her person, so she never tries to pull away from me,” Clark says. “All of a sudden, she stops in front a woman in a wheelchair, and my dog puts her paw in between this woman’s legs and picks herself up. This woman starts crying and shaking, and I’m trying to pull Taaka off.”
The woman started hugging Taaka, and the woman’s husband told Clark that his wife had been attacked by three pitbulls. “My logo has a pitbull on it, I’m a big pitbull advocate, and that might never would’ve happened for those people if we hadn’t had my products there,” Clark says.
“It’s really about becoming part of people’s lives because I might not know their name but I have people that come back to me every year at Cooper Young Fest and at Cotton District [Arts Festival] in Starkville, and the minute they say their dog’s name or say what their dog looks like or if they bring their dog with them, I know who they are.”
ScatterBrained Collars are available at Stella Ivy Boutique in Olive Branch, Mississippi, and on Clark’s Etsy at SBCollars.etsy.com.