Sunday 19th july
The Barkfest is a dog event that took place in July in Brooklyn. This year was only the second edition, but many people attended the event.
As we were planning on lauching our product the following week, we thought it would be a good idea to meet some of our followers and to take advantage of some PR at the same time.
Well that’s it for the business part…
We were excited to see Ivette and Lofn meet some other dogs.
So after our short drive, we arrived in Williamsburg an up-and-coming part of Brooklyn. I knew it was Williamsburg because there were bearded people in tank top riding fixies and throwing quinoa at each other. I was feeling good even if though I was not wearing my « death to gluten » t-shirt… Well enough making fun of the hipsters. It’s too mainstream anyway.
When we finally found a parking spot, we saw a bunch of dogs and decided to follow them all to Barkfest.
The event was at a skatepark which was next to a flea market. It was really hot, and with the ground made of asphalt, Emilie and I were really worried about the little paws of Ivette and Lofn.
It was at least 96 degrees in the shade (joke intended) so as you can imagine, it was brutal in the sun. A lot of people rushed themselves under the tents to hide in the shade while others put their dogs in little pools that were located in the middle of the event. Luckily, the staff was handing out cold water and ice to keep the dog hydrated. We had some water but clearly not enough, so really thank you guys!
There were a few attractions for the visitors, a photo booth where you could put a costume on yourself and your dog. There were a couple of cartoonist that were there to draw a picture of you and your four legged friend. Unfortunately people had to wait two to three hours to get a drawing and about two hours for the Photo Booth.
We spent a nice afternoon in Brooklyn, but to be totally honest it would have been WAY better if it had been during Spring or Fall. I saw a lot of people leaving the Barkfest because of the lack of shade for them and especially for their dogs to cool off. I also read later that a lot of dogs had blisters on their paws… Probably not the marketing solution that you dream about…
As you know, Ivette is a little star on Instagram (you can follow her on instagram @ivettetorpedo)
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Quebec is not far away from our place and this particular region of Canada as a wonderful cultural superiority over a lot of place in Northern America… they speak French. Well kind of… but that is another debate.
So Emilie, Ivette and I took the road on the 1st of December, it was just after the Thanksgiving weekend.
The car was fully loaded with everything you could imagine. No kidding, literally everything from the dog’s coat to my 3 days survival backpack (at that time of the story I know that a lot of you will laugh at me because of that, but I ALMOST had to use it!!)… There is a old word in France saying Better prevent than heal.
So here we are hitting the road to Mont Tremblant in Quebec! We were both happy as it was our first « road trip » since we moved in the US. Well at least I was happy and excited because after 15 minutes on the road Emilie was sleeping. The roads were so beautiful and after a few hours, as you escape from the cities you discover a bit of the wilderness of the US ( basically for me wilderness can be defined as : « OMG my phone doesn’t get any signal anymore!! » What do you want I was borned and raised in the most haughty and arrogant city of the world)
After 5 hours or so we are at the border. A nice canadian girl ask us for our passeport…with that strong canadian french accent… You know that kind of moment when you avoid eye contact with somebody because you know it’s not the good time to explode laughing… That was it.
Here we are entering the Land of the nice people! And actually I have to say I did found all of the canadian that I have met really nice!
As we were approaching Mont Tremblant we could not see a single square feet of snow. It was very disappointing if you consider the fact that we already had rented the skis.
After nearly 10 hours of driving we finally arrived at the hotel. As soon as we get out of the car the receptionist notice Ivette and she litteraly melt for her. She says that Ivette is such a CUTERIE (this word seems to be a contraction of CUTE and a french suffix. It makes no sense for me neither but we are in their country so we smile and pass)
Anyway the day after as we passed in the hotel hall Ivette was already known by a lot of people working in this hotel. But the most funny stuff happened 2 days later. The hotel that was empty is now full of people coming from Montreal and Toronto to spend the week-end.
As we come by after a little walk on the lake nearby we gave the car to the valet that we had never seen before. With his most serious tone he goes like « How are you Ivette today? » And then turned to us and ask « Are you the parents ». At that point we knew that Ivette was much more attractive than us… And of course that we should try to take advantage of that!
When you have a dog in an hotel they ask you to stay with him all the time and not let him alone in the room, which is kind of difficult if you want for example, do something out of your room like going to a restaurant or to see a movie. This is where we discover that actually people were in love with Ivette. A girl especially was litteraly pushing us to go out so she can spend time with the dog. Well, as we say, it didn’t fall in the ear of Van Gogh.
The trip was really nice but too short as always and we couldn’t discover Montreal and that’s a shame because it really seems to be a great city.
In every good feeling story there is a shadow. This time the shadow was the way back home.
There was a snow storm from Montreal to Danbury in Ct. I loose the control of the car and there was a truck behind us, somehow I did manage to put it back on track and continue the road. After that scary episode I still had 5 hours of driving (Emilie didn’t had her licence at that time).
It was the most stressful road I have ever taken. Especially after Albany, NY when the gps put me on a road that was not plowed yet. I couldn’t make the difference between the parkway and the grass on the side of the road. The only one in the car that was happy was off course Ivette.
Anyway I made a promise to myself NEVER TAKE THAT ROAD IN THE WINTER AGAIN
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The Dog Show
Since we arrived here in Connecticut we didn’t make a lot of friends with dog so Ivette is not as sociable as she was at the castle in France.
We thought it would be a good idea both for Chez Toutou to feel the market and for Ivette to make some new friends so we decided to go to a Dog Show in Greenwich. It was taking place on the Roger Sherman Baldwin park. As a French guy I have to say that my lack of knowledge on American history had push me to think that this guy was one of the Baldwin brother. Later that day when I checked the Wikipedia page I was very disappointed…
The Show was organized by an association who is helping our homeless four legged friends to find a forever loving family. From what I have seen they are doing a GREAT job!
We arrived at the beginning of the afternoon. If I remember well it was the first day of the fall, and for a guy used to Paris climate it was WAY TOO HOT! If I had been a dog nobody would have notice that my tongue was out and that I was panting…whatever…
After that episode Louis and I decided to take a look around. There was some attraction for the children , you know the ones that you are dying to try but it would definitely look weird… so we passed our way and we discover that all over the place there was some beautiful dogs from all ages wearing cute fluo little jacket saying « ADOPT ME »! I still do not know to this day how did I manage to not bring one home!
On the other side of the park was a small group of people waiting in line with their dog for some kind of attraction. As we get closer we could see that it was some kind of string on which a fake furry squirrel was pinned. The whole thing was running around the track driving dogs crazy… I was not really confortable with letting Ivette try this thing but she was really badly interested in the little furry toy so I made up my mind and let her enjoy the day to.
She was the smallest dog on the game and yet she gave everything she had! When it was over she didn’t want to let the furry toy go. All the other participant were applauding her and because of that now she is acting like a spoiled child.
To conclude I have to say that it was a wonderful day for the three of us. The association Adopt-a-dog is doing a great job and if you are looking for a dog I encourage you to go on their Website http://adopt-a-dog.org.
Chez Toutou is supporting all the ADOPT DON’T SHOP movement.
Remember to help your local shelter!
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This is the first article of the new « Chez Toutou » Blog. So I guess a proper introduction is the best way to begin even if it’s kind of traditional.
« Chez Toutou is a new brand that produce high quality supplies for dog. »
Cool…Now you know what was written on our business plan to get our visa a year ago in France.
But to tell you the truth Chez Toutou is much more than a company. It’s an adventure. It’s the dream of a young French couple.
And it begins today in october 2013 in Westport, Connecticut… at least in our mind.
Actually it begins about a year after due to all the immigration process.
In this blog you will find the stories, the life and tips of Emilie, Louis and of course of Ivette, the cutest miniature Pinsher you’ll ever see !
Everything start in Paris, France in the spring of 2013. Oh yeah , I forget to mention that the three of us are 100% French, borned and raised in Paris.
When Emilie ask me to follow her accross the Atlantic to start a new life. It litteraly took me only 5 minutes of reflexion, maybe less.
-Leave your job ? --- Ok, I’m not payed well enough and I don’t see no evolution coming.
-Leaving your friends ? I will live close to N.Y.C everybody will come visit !
-Leaving your flat near Montmartre ? Well…my next door neighbor was a drug addict anyway…
-Leaving your family ?? Ouch… leaving my mom and my 93 year old grand father was not the easiest thing to do I have to confess.
-Leaving your motorcycle ?? That’s something I still don’t feel comfortable speaking about…Please don’t mention it…
The decision was taken. 6 month from now (then) we will live in Emilie’s house in Westport, CT.
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