Meet Josie Dybe
For as long as I could remember, I had a passion for design. I knew that I wanted to create something that would change the way people use and appreciate space and objects. I thought I would become an architect. So, in 2007, I started the architecture program at UC Berkeley in the College of Environmental Design.
Once I started school, I took every hands-on class I could even staying through summers to fit in more. I particularly enjoyed ceramics, oil painting, drawing, and woodworking. I took so many art classes that I ended up graduating with two BFA degrees, one in Architecture and one in Art Practice.
While I was finishing up my last year at Berkeley, I found that I lived a few blocks away from a little shop called Paco Collars. I had no idea what this shop was all about but the focused and fashionable people hammering away at rivets and studs intrigued me. Of course, the adorable Xoloitzcuintli sun bathing in the window helped draw me in.
I wanted to use the Paco Collars shop as a case study for my Architecture and American Cultures class final project. After exchanging a few emails, I started interviewing the founder, Ana Poe. I would stick around and ask everyone all kinds of questions about the collar making process. They were always happy to answer and didn't even mind that I came in one day and measured every square inch of the shop to make floor plans for my proposed redesign for my class project. Before I knew it I had volunteered to create a window display for the shop. I started spending even more time at the shop. Despite the fact that I would come in all the time to ask questions and measure things, they still invited me to start their internship program. I eagerly joined the team as an intern in the Fall of 2010.
When I started, I had no idea that I would be able to apply my architecture school knowledge to help redesign the work space of the rapidly growing business. My little class project would turn actually turn into a reality because we ended up taking over a larger space behind the store front where there once was a printing press. We were knocking down walls, adding new walls, and building custom furniture for the new work spaces. At the same time that I helped redesign the space, everyone at Paco Collars taught me different lessons on how to work with leather from cutting the hide to creating detailed tooled designs. I also learned how to provide excellent customer service, invoice and process orders, and of course how to take work with and take care of dogs. I even adopted my own Catahoula puppy through the shop's amazing friends.
I continued to work at the Paco Collars shop for a few more years, making collars and working with customers until we made our big move to Cambridge, Massachusetts in the Summer of 2013. I started a little leathercraft studio at home where I created hand-tooled leather dog collars and accessories that combined both my school and shop learned skills.
Recently, in November 2022, we moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area. I am currently setting up a new home studio where I will continue to work on my leathercraft and new oil paintings. And, even after all these years, I still work with Paco Collars! I have a new role in retail that will provide me with an environment and flexibility to continue perfecting my craft while working with dogs and people in the community I love.
To learn more click on an arrow in one of the pictures on the left.