At Dogster, we love stories where human meets dog, then dog changes human’s life, so human quits day job to start a dog-centric business. Happie Dog Apparel Company is one of those stories. It wasn’t all smiles at first, though. Derek Beisel adopted Shooter at a low point in his life. After moving from Pennsylvania to Myrtle Beach, he was involved in a painful car accident. “I was emotionally and mentally depressed,” he says. Then Derek adopted black Lab/Pittie mix Shooter, and “from that day on he saved me and brought joy back to my life and gave me a new meaning.” Shooter’s personality instantly brightens a room, and he loves to be the center of attention with head scratches and belly rubs.
When the pandemic hit, Derek quit his corporate job to establish Happie Dog Apparel, creating T-shirts, sweatshirts and tank tops, all in blue and yellow, as those colors are seen best in a dog’s eyes. “Everything that is designed for Happie Dog are in those two colors,” he says. “So, when you wear Happie Dog, your dogs can see it.”
Meanwhile, Derek’s home life expanded. “For a little over three-and-a-half years, it was only me, Shooter and my fiancé, Jodi,” Derek says. They recently adopted another dog, Mack. “He is Shooter’s first brother, and they get along like they have been brothers for years. It’s truly an amazing sight to see!”
Happie Dog apparel can be found online (shophappiedog.com), social media (@HappieDogApparel), at local events and in the company’s storefront at Hudson’s Surfside Flea Market in South Carolina.
Derek plans to add to his inventory with branded blue-and-yellow dog leashes, collars, toys, vests and matching doggie-and-me shirts. Because his dogs give so much to him, Derek strongly believes in giving back. Each month, Happie Dog picks a humane society to donate to.
In five years, Derek hopes Happie Dog will be in many retail stores nationwide, attending dog events, and sponsoring and hosting events. He wants to reach out to others interested in rescuing a dog and to be a small inspiration for the business-minded individuals with a strong passion in life who want to create their own journey. “This has been one of the most rewarding, enjoyable endeavors I have ever taken,” says Derek, “and it can happen to anyone as long as they put their full potential into it.”