Tampa entrepreneur hopes to turn dog hair purses into a business

By Josh Rojas, Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, September 09, 2014, 12:08 PM EDT

A Tampa entrepreneur has made a few high-end purses out of dog hair and hopes to raise enough money to turn her passion into a business.

“It’s one of a kind," said entrepreneur Doris Carvalho.

Carvalho created a page and video on the website Kickstarter, with a goal of raising $15,000 to start her business. That's enough money to finish her first line of 30 purses and for marketing, Carvahlo said.

"I turn this groomed dog (hair) that would be garbage anywhere else in the world into these handbags," she said on the video. "These handbags prove that high-end can be made eco-friendly from your pet for you."

Carvalho said she sterilizes the dog hair before turning it into yarn. It takes about 50 hours to make one purse. The entrepreneur plans to sell her dog hair purses for $1,000, but hopes to bring that price down if she goes into mass production.

"I hope in the future I can make it cheaper and sell much cheaper for everyone," Carvalho said.

Jaime Calderbank, the owner of One Lucky Dog in St. Petersburg, said the dog hair purses aren't for everyone, but she believes some of her customers would buy one.

"I think a few of them that really love their dogs would absolutely like something like that," Calderbank said. "We have plenty of hair. She can have all the dog hair she want from us."

The entrepreneur is from Brazil, where Carvalho worked as a veterinarian and took fashion classes, she says. The dog hair purses combines both of her passions.

"I make one with cocker spaniel and poodle," she said. "I want to build the purses and make them over here in Tampa."

Carvahlo has raised $350 in the past week and has 50 days to raise the rest.

“I hope people who like the project can help," she said. "Any contribution is welcome."