Lakewood dog-friendly retail store, Milo and Me, will be celebrating its first anniversary next month, capping off its first year of bringing fashionable clothes to Cleveland women and their dogs. The store offers a unique experience for the fashionable dog owner – a chance to shop with your dog, as well as lots of fun events for people to get out with their dog, my favorite thing of course!
Jessica Smith opened the store last April and has been hustling ever since, attending dog-friendly events and markets as well as being a regular vendor at the Cleveland Flea. The store offers a stylish collection of women’s clothing and accessories, as well as dog clothes, accessories and treats. And, thanks to the many dog socials she hosts, it has quickly become Hunter and Roscoe’s favorite place to go to try fun doggie treats like pumpkin spice lattes and shamrock shakes.
We love when a dog-centric business opens in CLE, so we wanted to hear from Jessica on how she got started and what she is planning for the future. Read on to hear more:
What were you doing before starting Milo and Me?
Back in 2012, I graduated from the Fashion School at Kent State University with my bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design. I was hired at Heather Moore Jewelry right out of college doing marketing and even designing jewelry. A few years later I decided to work at a boutique in Rocky River to see if I’d enjoy running my own small business. When I felt ready to turn my passion into a real business, I just went for it!
Why did you want to open a store like this?
Growing up, my parents had always owned their own businesses. So becoming an entrepreneur was always part of my plan. I fell in love with Cleveland and decided I wanted to serve the women here. I knew that breaking into the industry as another women’s apparel boutique would be hard, so I paired it with my love for dogs! My goal is to bring a higher end, fashion-forward selection of products to the area that cater to both women and their dogs!
Tell us about your dogs, especially the namesake of the store, Milo.
Well of course I have lots of dogs! Three to be exact but I would have more if I could! Milo, the namesake, is my oldest. He just turned 7 years old, is a Maltese and loves to greet our customers at the door. When he comes to the shop he isn’t bothered by his siblings and knows he’s King here! He loves people but tends to get overwhelmed during our doggie social events and will keep to himself. Milo is a bit large for his breed, weighing a whopping 15 lbs, but I say it’s because he has such a huge heart!
My other two dogs are a 5 year old Pomeranian named Thor and a 3 year old Goldendoodle named Stella. Stella is super shy, so you won’t see her at the shop too often. Thor makes appearances on Thursdays – It’s been dubbed THORsday! He loves coming in and giving his brother the day off.
Any upcoming plans or events you want to share?
Yes! April 6th is our 1 Year Anniversary Bash! (FInd out more info here: https://www.facebook.com/events/382844055599895/?ti=ia) It’ll be running all day, from 11am-7pm, with special giveaways and tons of treats & refreshments for both humans and their pups.
Also, we love throwing social events for the dogs on Saturdays (usually twice a month!) These always involve delicious treats for the dogs. Think ice cream, cupcakes… we’ve even served doggie pancakes! You can find all of our upcoming events on our Facebook page.
What advice do you have for others looking to start a dog-centric business?
Being only one year into my business, I still learn new things every day. So don’t expect to be perfect. And do not be afraid to let your original ideas evolve. I look back at my original plans for the shop and realize I was crazy to think that I could do it all at once! Seriously, you’d laugh! Just start somewhere – and add on as you go to build it up. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to take that leap! “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.” – Mark Twain
What do you think of the dog-friendly community in Cleveland?
I think we are extremely lucky to have great outdoor spaces for our dogs. The metro parks and Edgewater are my two favorites places. I’ll sound like a broken record by saying that I crave an indoor dog park! We have some temperamental weather in Cleveland, so one of those would be quite valuable to dog owners in the area.
Where is your favorite place to take your dog?
Whenever I can bring along my dog to a bar/restaurant, that’s a plus! I enjoy going to McGinty’s in Lakewood during the winter because they allow dogs inside. During the summer, I attend a lot of baseball games at the Lakewood parks, so I love taking them along for those. Other than that, Edgewater Park is my other favorite and I love that we have a dog beach there.
Will you be at any upcoming events (Cleveland Flea, other markets)?
Yes, of course! You can find us at the Spring Flea on May 4 & 5. We always serve free scoops of doggie ice cream at our booth 😉 We love how dog-friendly the Flea is – such a great summer activity! We also plan on being at the Mutt Strut and Woofstock later this year.
Milo and Me
18117 Detroit Ave., Lakewood
https://shopmiloandme.com (you can shop online too!)