The Exchange | Erin Schmitt of Grey Paw Designs

Deciding on a collar for my Jack Russell Olive has been a strenuous process, a completely self-imposed, strenuous process. My search for Olive's new collar carried on for the better half of the year, and my trigger finger was nowhere near clicking add-to-cart until I recently came across Erin Schmitt (pictured above with her dachshunds Link and Billie Jean) of Grey Paw Designs. The perfect blend of laidback cool, handcrafted design and rugged durability, Grey Paw is the answer to my neurosis for Olive's state-mandated neck necessity. Designed, dyed, cut and sewn in her Portland studio, Erin skillfully handcrafts each item with equal parts artistic ability and precision. And if you're thinking about investing in a Grey Paw collar for man's bff, you're in good company. Free People and Martha Stewart are also fans.

My design career began… at Columbia Sportswear, I had an apparel design internship with the Outdoor Lifestyle team in 2011. Since then I have worked for Bridge & Burn, Black Mfg and Nike.

Designing for iconic labels… got me excited to figure out my own foothold in an over saturated design market.

Grey Paw is… clean, simple and colorful. We take a design approach to pet accessories that appeals to the modern pet owner. In addition to our commitment to design, we also donate a portion of our sales to a rotating list of animal relief organizations each year.

Link was adopted... at 9 months from a foster home in Longview, Washington. I also recently adopted Billie Jean, another doxie who came from the Oregon Dachshund Rescue.

The dogs love... to run freely on the beach on a hot day. Billie will run after her ball and Link will look for birds to chase... the birds always win.

Dressing dogs up for Halloween... do or dont? Do. Link is Chewy and Billie is Yoda.

For inspiration I… visit the aquarium for all the great colors and art museums for ceramic designs. Traveling also plays a big role.

My personal style… is casual tomboy. Most days I wear denim and a striped shirt with my favorite Rachel Comey Mars booties. Black, white, navy, and grey are my staples, mixed with small amounts of color.

Most prized item in my closet… my Comeys.

My favorite American made brands…Pendleton Portland Collection, Steven Alan & AG Jeans.

This fall I’m looking forward to… traveling to various holiday pop-up events, my new fireplace and expanding my line.

My life motto... hmm I have a few, but as far as being a small business owner I would say don't let your doubts and worries hold you back from trying, you'll never know what could have been without taking a chance.