Hagar Collars, the idea of Els Bowen, was created because of the Bowen's experiences with their pet bird, Hagar. Hagar started plucking his neck, so the Bowens took him to their veterinarian to see what could be done to remedy the problem. The veterinarian placed a "Victorian collar" on Hagar's neck. The collar lasted approximately 15 seconds before Hagar ripped it to shreds. The vet then suggested the plucking could be remedied by utilizing PVC to create a neck brace. Looking for a better solution, the Bowens found, after numerous alterations and adjustments, a softer and lighter foam material. They tried it on Hagar, and it worked.
After that success, the Bowens thought why not make this collar for other animals? Millions of pets have had some type of surgery or irritated area that requires them to wear the "Victorian Collar" with less than satisfactory results. Tests were then made on the family dog and several friends' pets. Everyone was satisfied including the pets! The collars completely met their needs. Samples were then given to hundreds of veterinarians. Those that tried the collar were very satisfied, especially with the ease of use and the animal's acceptance of the collar.
Els Bowen did not know what was involved with starting a business so she purchased a book on "How to Start a Business in Texas" and SCORE was listed as a FREE resource. She sat down with Lyman Bowe of SCORE and explained the product and the need for assistance to move the product to market. Lyman identified some key questions about the product and the business environment including manufacturing, distribution options (wholesale, retail, distributor), office, and warehouse needs. These questions, as well as many others, were solved with the aid of a completed business plan. A source for manufacture of the product has been found, marketing activities are underway, and revenue from sales of the product is now being realized.
Els worked with three individuals from SCORE and the Small Business Development Center staff in Plano: Lyman Bowe, Monty Edwards and Larry Hamilton. Her comments sum up her feelings about the help received: "I know the people from SCORE and the SBDC are sincere. They volunteer their services and have nothing to financially gain or lose by offering their advice. My husband and I realize we have a long way to go before we reach the American dream. There will be many obstacles to overcome, but with the assistance of SCORE and the SBDC we plan to keep those obstacles to a minimum. Our ultimate goal for this company is to establish a reputation and product that will be accepted worldwide and to pursue this business full time."