Dogs aren’t just man’s best friends. They are bears’ best friends too. I mean, we’re literally paw buddies. When I saw the TOMO dog gear on Kickstarter, it piqued my interest and made me reach out to pat the dog snoozing on my lap.
The campaign video almost convinced me to back the project, but I didn’t.
What is it?
TOMO touts itself as a minimal dog collar, harness, and leash set that focuses on the user experience. The key design is its latch design. This latch is used when you put the collar or harness on, when you attach the leash to the collar or harness, and on the leash handle itself.
Who is TOMO for?
TOMO is for any dog owner who struggle to put on their dog’s collar, harness, or leash. In other words, dog owners who didn’t train their dogs well, or didn’t get enough training to put on dog gear.
Is it innovative?
It is a smart rethink of the design of something as common as the dog collar, harness, and leash. I’ve gone through many types of dog gear over the years. TOMO has really put in some thought to resolve the pain points of dog owners.
The smart design makes the collar stay in place, so the leash clip is always on the back of your dog’s neck. Great for people who leash their dogs on the collar, but I personally prefer a harness over a collar. There are many advantages including having better control, discourage pulling, and reduce the risk of straining your dog’s neck and back.
Yes, TOMO has a harness too. But harnesses are so much easier to put on that this innovative design isn’t going to be a lot more useful.
What I really like is how the leash handle uses TOMO’s smart latch design to make it easy to tether the leash to a restaurant chair or your bag. I often find myself having problems trying to tether my dog’s leash when we’re at a restaurant.
Is it worth it?
TOMO is pricey, even after the Kickstarter discount. A complete set costs a whopping $112, and it comes with the collar, harness, leash, waste bag dispenser, and name tag.
Here are what I found on Amazon:
- Dog collar, harness, leash, and dispenser set – $19.99
- Designer set with same items as above – $44.99
- Dog tag – $12.99
- GPS tracker dog tag – $49.99
So, yes, TOMO is expensive given what’s available in the market. Would you pay so much extra for something that just makes it less of a hassle to put on a leash? How often you put on your dog’s collar? And how often you fumble when putting on the leash?
My dog is very well-behaved. He waits patiently for me to put on his collar, harness, and leash. There are times I fumble with the clasps, but he doesn’t mind those extra second where he sits and wags his tail. He even earns a nice pat and a praise from his favourite human.
As a product developer, I understand the cost of creating a new product. The competing products on Amazon use parts widely available, and hence they are a lot cheaper to produce. But I disagree with how the costs are being passed on to the consumer for being an early adopter.
What are the alternatives?
There are many brands and types of collars, harnesses, and leashes available in the market. If you’re a dog owner, you already know how spoilt for choices you are.
TOMO reached its funding goal and are will on its way to hitting the stretch goal. Well done and congratulations on a successful campaign.
Unfortunately, I believe its innovation can be easily adopted by products in the market at a much lower price. TOMO expects to ship early next year. If the campaign is a success, and the factories would probably pick up the design concept and start selling the products even before TOMO starts to fulfil their rewards.
But if you don’t see the factories copying the design, then it is probably because the touted benefits aren’t as useful as TOMO claims to be.