HARPSWELL, Maine — Just over 10 years ago, Karen Twombly, like many jewelers, was hit hard when the price of precious metals such as gold and silver increased dramatically.
So, inspired by her love for her dogs and passion for making jewelry, she began to create pet ID tags while nestled in her home base in the “middle of nowhere” in Brownfield, Maine.
Twombly says she noticed that the bling she created for her dogs was becoming tarnished. So, “my idea was to create a dog ID tag that is more durable,” she says. She began making stainless-steel pet tags as gifts for her friends and family.
She adds that oftentimes, dog ID tags get damaged from chewing or being caught on something. These tags are different.
Silver Paw tags are significantly thicker than other tags on the market. At around an eighth of an inch, they are the depth of two quarters stacked on top of each other.
The metal she uses also has a unique distinction — using yacht grade stainless steel, Twombly's is the only pet tag of its type in the world. “This is why we can guarantee it,” she says. "This is a corrosion proof and durable product. My customers are lifelong fans."
Twombly even offers to update the tags if her customers need to change any of their information on the tag. “It is one thick, solid material that we can grind down, polish and regenerate," Twombly says.
Twombly’s pet tags are manufactured locally; they are made in Standish, engraved in Harpswell and polished in Brownsfield.
As a supporter of local businesses Twombly feels that “buying products that last, supporting U.S. jobs and respecting our health and environment are sustaining for us all.”
Her website (silverpawtags.com) includes a video of tags being made, as well as consumer testimonials, product information, a pup blog and an online store for her products.
Twombly believes that it's "refreshing to be able to call a business and speak with its owner or an employee who actually makes the product. The chances of your order getting shipped quickly and customized to your specifications is usually greater if the product is produced here in this country.”
Twombly also feels that her company, like other small businesses, “has something to prove” and therefore pays closer attention to detail and personalization, and aims for excellence in every detail of their products.
She feels that the consumer is what helps make her products unique, and says, “My business has been the best ever this year, with a 35 percent increase in sales.”
The most popular tags this shopping season include the snowflake, which was inspired by Twombly’s jewelry collection, and the bone with a heart in it.
She is also offering free shipping on all holiday orders.
She says that if customers want to receive their customized and lifetime-guaranteed Silver Paw Pet Tag before Christmas, they should place their order at silverpawtags.com by Dec. 18.