The story of Red Rufus began when Rufus, the Irish Setter came to live with Christina and her family. The whole family fell totally and completely in love with the small, skinny, red puppy. That Christmas 2008, Christina decided to make her children presents from Rufus, so she set about making three SockDogs. The short film above, shows a little of how those original SockDogs were made, filmed in Christina's large and grand bedroom, where she worked.
They were rough, scruffy looking things, but the children loved them and so it seemed did others!
Friends began to place orders, so Christina decided to test the market by doing a very small craft fair. The SockDogs sold out! Another craft fair was booked, making began and again it was a sell out. So now we thought we were on to something and by the end of 2009, the logo was created and the hatching of a website had begun.
Designing the website was a huge job. Although Christina had experience in desktop design and a solid idea of how she wanted the website to look, she had absolutely no experience in website design and SEO. The to do list was absolutely endless from production, to photography, to copy and design - this first Red Rufus website was a bespoke built website and had so many wonderful features. Little did Christina know, that it would become outdated almost as soon as it was completed. This work took up much of 2010 and into mid 2011 when the website was launched.
The story of Red Rufus was featured on the RTE programme Nationwide, causing a rush on SockDogs, which our little website could barely cope with, let alone the production! But in that moment Red Rufus became a passion for Christina and it continues to be so today.
2013 saw Red Rufus take part in its first trade show in Design Ireland at Showcase in Dublin. It was a fantastic experience and we grew hugely in the years following 2014 to 2017, developing new SockAnimals and putting systems in place to continue to grow the business.
Many craft fairs, a few websites, more SockAnimals, lots of learning and stressful moments, much hard work and love later, Red Rufus is now an established, mirco business.
Here's to 2018 and a year of getting things in order so that Red Rufus can go forward towards it's 10th in business.
Christina is the creator and designer at Red Rufus, always hands on and nurturing the brand. A mild control freak and perfectionist.
"It all sort of happened but accident, but I'm so pleased it did!"
Half Greek – half English, Christina grew up in the ruggedly beautiful countryside of Northumberland in the North of England. In 1995, Christina married Mikal, who is Norwegian, so their three children span Europe! Since then, the family has lived in five countries and these experiences have influenced Christina's style and encouraged a love of craft, especially sewing.
Not formally trained in sewing or design, Christina explores construction and production methods and challenges herself continuously to produce a higher standard of design and handiwork.
"I actually enjoy the constraints of designing, using a pair of socks as the starting point."
Brought up to love and respect animals, Christina tries to capture the spirit of the creatures she recreates, taking into account the colours and fabrics of Ireland. Rufus is ever present and always provides a calming influence in the daily hustle and bustle of small business life.
Born in Finglas, North Dublin to breed champion parents (his mother was an Ardbraccan champion and his father a Polish champion), Rufus came to live with Christina and her family when he was 13 weeks old.
A gaggly, skinny, timid puppy, who whimpered all the way home and cried for his dog mummy all night. He would only sip water from Christina's hand and soon a trusting attachment was formed, as the little puppy grew into a large, boisterous, beautiful dog.
Over the years, Rufus has brought comfort, joy, companionship and care to all of us, he's truly a part of our family.
These days, he's middle aged and doesn't suffer puppies too well, but he still loves his walks and playing with the family. Always attracting attention when he's out and about, he's been known to lean on passing strangers if they stop near him!
Shortbread is still an absolute favourite, as are tennis balls. Strangely he loves his vegetables, especially cucumber and carrots!
Rufus has a love/hate relationship with cats. He'd love to get close to one, but they terrify him so he just stops dead and stares (sets) until the cat saunters away!
We have so many images of Rufus and I hope you'll enjoy looking through them.