Q & A with Bita

Interview with Bita Salz – Founder and owner of BELLOMANIA

1. What was your greatest motivation to set up the company BELLOMANIA?

My greatest motivation was curiosity about what lay ahead for me and the love of my German shepherd dog.

2. Dogs are the best friends because ...

... they mean love. Limitless love. Energy-charged love. 1000% loyal love. “I don’t care what you look like” love. “I’d do anything for you” love and “I will protect you” love. “I will always come when you call” love. “I am your four-legged friend for life” love.

3. What were your aims for the company in 2006?

I established the company five days after my 25th birthday. When everyone around me was trying to advise me against it. Only my father sensed that I was going MY way. In those days I was much too young to define specific aims, especially as I had ventured into completely unknown territory. First of all I wanted to do something that I enjoyed and where my talents lay.

4. Where do you see your company in 2026?

I think it’s illusory to plan 10 years ahead. Markets are constantly changing and one of the greatest achievements of successful companies is being flexible enough to adapt.

5. What has been your biggest business mistake in the last 10 years?

Oh, there are so many. Because I had been very successful in the fashion industry for ten years before I started the company and didn’t have a business background, the strategy was always “learning by doing”. I learnt about every last detail myself. Today I can work in the warehouse just as easily as in management or customer care. My team appreciates that. Finally, it’s not down to how many wrong decisions you make, but that you are making decisions at all.

6. ... and what has been your best business decision in the last 10 years?

The best decision was having the courage to do what I love. Our success didn’t come until quite late on. For seven years I fought passionately for my ideas. You don’t keep doing that if you aren’t doing something you believe in.

7. What products or product groups can we look forward to in the next 5 years?

Of course we will continue to develop, but in general we will stick to what we are good at.

8. Please name the three greatest improvements that you have made in your products compared to the competitors (especially in leads and collars)?

1) To my knowledge, we are the only manufacturer in the whole of Germany to produce our own snap hooks. Our snap hooks are not only designed to be very elegant but they also have a much greater tensile strength than the usual hooks.

2) We started a trend with the use of neoprene. Neoprene dries very quickly and is pleasantly soft on the skin. We made use of that and developed a sporty outdoor collection consisting of collars, leads and dishes. A lot of other manufacturers have since taken up this trend and tried to implement it.

3) Our Atrium dog bowl has been there since the company started. Then the bowl was made expensively from porcelain and sold for 219.00 Euros. Now we are proud of the fact that we can offer an Atrium dog bowl that is made of plastic without having to change the design. The bowl doesn’t cost 219.00 Euros any more, but 16.99 Euros and is affordable for all. The Atrium bowl is the face of our company – a timeless classic.

9. In a lot of areas of fashion there are technical innovations coming in, including some that definitely make sense. Are you planning any technical features for BELLOMANIA products as well, such as for example GPS transmitters in collars?

No. There are a few manufacturers who have specialized in this and are doing a good job. Technical development is too fast-moving to integrate those products into our long-lasting collars. But there are some add-on solutions that make sense.

10. You travel a lot on business. Could you tell us about an incident with a dog that has especially impressed you:

In principle I feel drawn to all dogs. Dogs fascinate me and so I also take the time to enjoy the moment with them. There is however one story which I always like to remember: it was late at night after an exhausting day at a trade fair and then a business dinner. I was in my car driving from the center of Milan back to my hotel when I noticed a dog running resolutely along the line at the side of the highway, limping slightly but with one aim. Other cars were blowing their horn, swerving past him at breakneck speed, and what did I do ... I switched on the hazard warning lights, blocked the left-hand lane with my car, jumped out and ran to the dog who stopped, exhausted and grateful. While I was trying to call an appropriate Italian authority in the middle of the night, other drivers also stopped and tried to help. Now the dog was no longer alone, everyone was making a fuss of him until the young people from an animal protection organization came to take him away to look after him. Now it sounds melodramatic, but I will never forget the look that dog gave me when he knew that he wasn’t alone any more.

11. Which markets do you see the greatest potential for in the near future? And why?

Russia, China and the United Arab Emirates are changing their view of pets and the dog is playing a crucial role in this. I believe that we can still expect something from those markets.

12. Would you be tempted to open your own flagship store? What are the pros and cons?

I would be more interested in a resort for dogs. A place where the dog is looked after. A place where useful services are provided for dogs and owners. I’m not a person who makes lists of the pros and cons. I pay attention to my gut feeling and then ask whether or not the decision feels right for me and anyone affected by it.

A flagship store is a nice idea, but not necessary for the brand development of BELLOMANIA.

13. Which market developments that you have seen in the last 10 years do you think are especially significant or visionary?

As the dog has developed, from working animal to pet, nowadays it’s part of our cultural group, almost like a full member of the family. However, owner’s requirements are also changing. Two trends that have become especially noticeable in the last 10 years:

a) Good basic products at an affordable price;
b) Increasing trend towards exclusivity and high quality.

The development in the pet industry has experienced the following trends and tendencies in recent years:

a) Themes arising from general lifestyle are increasingly flowing into products for animals;
b) Greater focus on “organic”, “quality” and “wellness” for animals;
c) Moving away from the attitude that “greed is cool”.