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Denver’s Dapper Dodo Adapts to Keep Customers Fashionable and Safe

Denver’s Dapper Dodo Adapts to Keep Customers Fashionable and Safe

Kierstin Rounsefell

September 18th, 2020

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The Start of Dapper Dodo

Dapper Dodo

Dapper Dodo is a small business based in Denver, Colorado. This company is best known for providing hand made, custom items for pets including collars, leashes, bandanas, and bow ties. Dapper Dodo launched in August of 2018.

Party Guru Productions got the chance to chat with Dapper Dodo‘s owner and creator, Leslie Nagai. Before starting her own business, Leslie was working in corporate as an IT recruiter as well as in the entertainment industry at Beta Nightclub and Bar Standard. She decided that she wanted to start pursuing one of her passions, which is animals. The idea to create products for pets came to her because she loves animals and knows a lot of people who work with rescues. So, she learned how to sew at home and her business took off from there.

Dapper Dodo has sold products to plenty of Colorado locals along with even more customers from out-of-state. When Leslie was working as a bartender, she would get requests from customers at the bar for pet collars and more. However, with her Etsy and Facebook, she’s received orders from all over the world. “I had my first Germany sale, I sent to Puerto Rico, I sent to Canada,” Leslie explained.

Transitioning With The Times

Dapper Dodo

Since April of 2020, Dapper Dodo has added a new item to their product list: face masks. When COVID-19 first hit, there was an extremely high demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), especially face masks. Leslie knew that she had the skills and materials necessary to help create high-quality face masks for those in need. Moreover, customers were messaging Dapper Dodo to request matching face masks and dog collars so that they could match their pets. After that, her face masks were able to drive her sales and sustain her business throughout the pandemic.

In addition to selling her products, she also donates them. Her pet products are donated to shelters, and her face masks are donated to schools. She is currently working with Heritage Elementary School’s second-grade class in Arizona and has donated 16 masks to them so far.

Leslie was able to go full-time with Dapper Dodo in May or June of this year. The last time that she was able to work as a bartender was in early March before the entertainment industry shut down. As a result, she had the time, motivation, and demand to make this her primary job.

Preparing For The Future

Dapper Dodo and Alexis Dezaro

After Dapper Dodo’s success with selling face masks, Leslie is planning on continuing to make them until they’re not needed anymore. “We’ll probably just keep donating to kids that still need them in the schools that can’t afford to go out and get masks, too,” she said. It’s so amazing that she is able to help others as well as support herself with this business.

This business has grown to be super successful. According to Leslie, one of her biggest successes with Dapper Dodo has been being able to create a product on her own and drive the full-time business herself. “When I started, I just figured it was going to be a hobby…I never thought that it would possibly get as big as it is now.”


Dapper Dodo

Party Guru Productions asked Leslie for advice for those who want to start their own business. In her words, “just do it!” It doesn’t have to be full-time at first, but it can be a side-hustle that you enjoy. Taking some sort of action and working your way up is the best way to get going. She compared this to when she first started working in the entertainment industry. “I first started off just wanting to go to concerts all the time, and then I got into go-go dancing. It’s just a way to still fuel what you’re passionate about…it makes you feel good too.”

When starting your own business, you’ll have to do your own research and be prepared to go through lots of trial-and-error. Even today, she is constantly refining and updating her products based on customer feedback.

Dapper Dodo’s best-selling products right now are their matching face mask and pet products. Owners love to match their pets, so it’s awesome that Leslie is providing face masks, collars, leashes, and more that all coordinate. There are plenty of different pattern and print options for sale, but she also takes custom orders. Currently, she is also running a Halloween sale for adult face masks (2 for $25) and kids face masks (2 for $15). If you want a certain print or logo on your face mask or dog collar, send her a message on Etsy or Facebook!

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