Tuesday, March 16, 2021


By Eva Fydrych

Allen Kimble / Vinny the Pug

Ceramic mug San Francisco, Vinny the Pug (Photo courtesy of Allen Kimble)

"My inability to let him go has moved me to enshrine my memories of Vinny within a plan to change the world." - Allen Kimble

In our ongoing search for unique businesses and inspiring stories behind them, we encountered Allen Kimble, the founder of Pugona Rock Club website. The initial idea for this feature was to present Allen in our ongoing interview series 8 Questions With... however after digging deeper and deeper into his motivation of starting the business in the first place, we decided to inaugurate a new series of articles.

SMALL BUSINESS STORIES will feature people like Allen – extremely motivated and passionate individuals doing something slightly different, having a great story to share, and being able to inspire others in their pursuit of various goals in life.

What makes a business successful and what draws people to buy certain products more than the others? While there is more than one answer to this question, we will focus on something very important that somehow gets neglected along the way.

A great story to tell. And a motivation that goes far beyond making money.

Allen's story is so heart-warming that you will be tempted to buy one of his products right after you finish reading the article. And that's for sure a big part of his success. His example shows how you can create something beautiful out of pain and loss and that the whole process can help you in your road to recovery.

Vinny the Pug Bouldering at Sedona, Arizona (Photo courtesy of Allen Kimble)

FASHION STUDIO: When did you start your business and what inspired you to do so?

ALLEN: The source of my inspiration for the creation of the Pugona Rock Club brand was a small pug whom I acquired in Orlando. I taught him to climb and pose atop the boulders that littered the desert in Phoenix, Arizona.

A long time photographer, I took thousands of pictures of Vinny over his 13-year life span. Three years ago I began tapping his massive image library to design a wide range of popular consumer goods. Vinny the Pug's name, images and likenesses are being used to design products for the following three brands:

- No-Kill 2027 (a fundraiser club for Animal Shelters and Pet Rescues)
- Spay & Neuter Club
- Vinny the Pug 

My inability to let him go has moved me to enshrine my memories of Vinny within a plan to change the world.

Editor's Note: Vinny passed away on March 15, 2013. 

Ceramic mug San Francisco, Vinny the Pug (Photo courtesy of Canva and Allen Kimble)

FASHION STUDIO: Tell us a bit more about yourself. Who is Allen Kimble and what are his main business strengths? What makes your products different and unique? 

ALLEN: I was the trainer, photographer, publicist and biographer of Vinny the Pug. I am the creator, the owner and sole proprietor of all things pertaining to the trademark reflecting a pug dog posing atop boulders in the desert. As of this writing, the popular consumer and wearable goods can only be purchased through my own web stores.  

FASHION STUDIO: Vinny was no doubt a very unusual dog and together you managed to raise impressive amounts of money for a range of causes...

ALLEN: Yes, that's true. I invite you to read more about our fundraising efforts in this article: Vinny the Pug Champion Rock Climber.

FASHION STUDIO: What is your favourite product and why?

ALLEN: I'm a big fan of all Wearable Apparel & Popular Consumer goods bearing Pugona Rock Club brand. But if I had to choose just one, I would say our Eco Friendly Totes.

Large Eco Tote (Photo courtesy of Allen Kimble)

FASHION STUDIO: How do you promote your business and compete with similar retailers on the market?

ALLEN: I have actually never turned to an external source for Advertising and Promotions assistance before. There are no competing businesses as I'm the creator and sole proprietor of all things Vinny the Pug.

FASHION STUDIO: Could you tell us a little bit more about your current mug designs and what direction you are planning to take in the future (maybe artist collaborations, hiring someone to create unique designs, an interesting marketing campaign)?

ALLEN: I am currently working on a new product launch: 'Heroes of The Pandemic' Coffee Mug Series.

Long after Covid-19 has been defeated and the pandemic has become a distant after-thought, Medical Heroes Coffee Mugs will continue preserving and reminding everyone of the spirit and sacrifices of our hospital heroes.

Buy One Donate One or BODO is a unique marketing scheme which purpose is to give away FREE coffee mugs to hospital workers of the pandemic. For every coffee mug in this series that is sold, another free mug is donated to a hospital professional. 

Essential Workers Club (Photo courtesy of Allen Kimble)

The roll-out campaign will initially feature the Nurses coffee mug using the tagline, 'Give A Nurse A Mug'. The idea is to encourage consumers to buy a mug which enables a Free Mug to be donated to a medical hero. Every month a different medical specialty mug design will be featured. Next in the rollout series is Intensive Care Units mug.

FASHION STUDIO: Thank you for your time and for sharing your story with us, Allen. We wish you the best of luck in all of your future endeavours!

Vinny climbing in Sedona (Photo courtesy of Allen Kimble) Click to enlarge





If you lost someone or something, the process of creating can be a very rewarding and healing experience that will help you deal with your loss and lower the level of anxiety. Read more here.

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1 comment:

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