For the Pooch with Everything, Ed Kupperman Comes Up with the Doggonedest Item Yet: K-9 T-Shirts
Dog lovers are a curious breed, and lately they’ve been getting curiouser and curiouser. First they dressed their four-footed friends in doggie boots. Then came sweaters and foul-weather gear. Now, in North Miami, a 29-year-old canine clothier named Ed Kupperman is offering T-shirts.
In 1975 Kupperman and his wife, Ona, started dressing their two Yorkshire terriers in children’s T-shirts for fun. But the Kuppermans didn’t like the way the sleeves fit. Seven months later, with $40,000 borrowed from a local shirtmaker, K-9 Casuals was born. Business these days, says Kupperman, is hardly going to the dogs. In K-9’s first year sales totaled $750,000, and Kupperman is currently shipping 1,500 shirts a week across the country. Retailing at $4.99, the polyester T-shirts come in four sizes, eight colors and have 10 names to pick from, including Killer, Bitch, Puppy Love, Stud and Christian Diog.
Kupperman is already planning his next line for pooches—it’s in denim, but he carefully won’t say more. No point in tipping off his competitors in the dog-eat-dog apparel business. And after that? “Oh, I’ll think of something,” he says. “There are lots of dog owners out there.”