For Alexandro “Alex” Gracia, his love for pets is as natural as his commitment to keeping his dog Chapin safe. Together, during a casual encounter with another dog, Gracia and his dog Chapin came up with the multiuse dog leash named the TooferOne™ Leash.
“I have always been a dog lover and I knew that I wanted a business; either that or I was going to have to work my way up the corporate ladder,” Gracia said. “I had two dogs: my dog, who I always have on a leash, and my parents’ dog who they never have with collar or a leash. I went to go see my dad play soccer at a park where they can be very strict about dog leashes.”
This park was in Diamond Bar so Gracia was not thinking about driving back home to Culver City for another leash. Using Chapin’s leash, Gracia wrapped it through a loop in the handle and used the leash as a collar on Chiquita and the other dog. Gracia then snapped the hook on the harness so that he had both dogs under control on one leash.
“That is when it hit me that I was on to something so I went on my iPhone and Googled it,” Gracia said. “I didn’t really see anything similar but I did more research online later and found different things but nothing that would tell me that my idea would not work. I shared the idea with friends and other people and it just started taking off.”
After meeting a few lawyers from his Alma Mater, California State University, Long Beach and having several discussions, Gracia decided it was best to create a sample of his product in order to patent it. Once it was created, then he began taking the steps necessary to begin promoting and marketing while ensuring methods of production.
“What is unique about the TooferOne Leash is that it is a ten-foot leash, with two hooks on each end, with two-inch intervals as well as six-inch intervals,” Gracia said. “The two-inch intervals are within the first foot of the leash so that it turns into a collar that you are able to hook around any dog’s neck.
“The six-inch intervals act as handles allowing you to maintain control while walking your dog,” Gracia said. “You can put your hand through it, or you can use a hook to tie the dog down anywhere. It hooks onto itself to make it into a harness and walk multiple dogs. Because of all the openings and aptitudes along the leash, it is the universal dog leash. It turns into a collar; it can be a training collar, a harness. It is a doggie seatbelt and it can walk multiple dogs.”
With everything in place Gracia launched his business TooferMe through a Kickstarter campaign and raised the $10,000 necessary to get the business going. So far, from Culver City, Gracia is shipping leashes to Brazil, Mexico, UK, Canada, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia and Germany, in addition to states all across the country.
“I was working full-time at Toys “R” Us and coming home and working fulltime on business so at that point I decided to take the jump and leave to move on for my business TooferMe,” Gracia said. “Since then I have not had down time. I have been going to events, hosting conference calls, I have been packaging, going to Pet Expos across the states, going door to door, if I see people with two dogs, I stop what I am doing and approach people and promote my multifunctional leash. My first goal is to see a random stranger with my leash, but ideally I would like to go on ABC and pitch my business and idea to Shark Tank. My end goal would be to have a warehouse where I can manufacture all my products in state and provide jobs to the community." To get the new TooferOne leash please visit www.tooferme.com.