We all know about one or two Hungarian inventions that have conquered the world and it seems that we can add one more item to that list: a dog harness. Index.hu reports that this harness is very popular almost everywhere in the world, naming a few countries like Italy, Germany or China. The company’s income is exponentially growing.
The company in question is Julius-K9, which manufactures and sells dog accessories and equipment, focusing on harnesses. The Julius-K9 harnesses are the most popular ones in Europe, rapidly spreading to Asia as well, as much as it became difficult to name a country where the harnesses are not sold.
Julius-K9 is a truly “family business” venture. Its predecessor, Julius Export 2000 Bt. was founded by Gyula Sebő and his then-wife, Anikó Bakos, in 1997. The company’s name comes from the Latin translation of Gyula’s name, and K9 comes from Kele utca 9, where Gyula got his first dog. Sebő was a dog trainer who also trained to be as a harness-maker. In the early days, the company’s headquarters was a 15 square metres garage and they expanded from there as their clientele expanded. The first customers were Austrian, German and Hungarian authorities. By 2000, the Julius-K9 products were in regular use in two dog training centres ran by the Austrian interior ministry. The breakthrough came in 2003, after the world dog expo at Dortmund.
About the technicalities
Harnesses were barely used in the early 2000’s in Europe, dog collars were more popular. However, today harnesses are preferred to dog collars, no matter what size the dog is. Julius-K9 played a big part in this trend becoming popular.
Harnesses are a much friendlier option since they don’t harm the animal’s windpipe, they are comfortable and safe. It is the best choice from the point of view of owners’ too, especially the latest Julius-K9 models, as the constant motion at the other end of the leash caused by the dog’s movement is reduced, thus it is perfect for those dog-walkers and owners who are suffering from joint illnesses. Also, the Julius-K9 harnesses are practical and fashionable: there are models that have pockets on the sides and you can customise the inscription on them.
The main characteristics of the K9 harnesses were copyrighted in Europe in 2003 as more and more fake products started to appear on the market. These harnesses are so unique in the world, that for some companies it is absolutely worth copying them, as people are very keen on them, and are happy to buy the ‘K9 harnesses’ at a much cheaper price. The first fake harnesses were manufactured in Poland. Today, Chinese forgers represent the biggest problem, but there were some issues recently with Hungarian, German, French and Belgian companies, too. It is especially difficult to handle the problems that are connected to web shops. Not only is it hard to take steps against sellers offering fake products, but there is another problem, too: customers cannot check if their product is original or a fake, thus they are exposed to forgers.
There are two sections in the company dealing with detecting fake items, having regular contact with 40 European, American and Asian chambers, that are experts in the field of industrial property. One of the two sections specialises in web shop trade.
On the way to great success
For a steady and successful expansion, Julius-K9 had to establish subsidiaries at the most important markets in the world. The first subsidiary was founded in the US, in 2015, there is one in Turkey too, and one will open soon in China. The company’s policy is to produce harnesses locally, yet the harnesses sold in China are all imported from Europe, even though it would be much cheaper to produce them there. The reason for this, Sebő argues, is that Chinese customers are appreciative of products manufactured in Europe.
All K9 products are successful
Julius-K9 produces more than just harnesses now (even though this is the key to their success), they sell dog toys, equipment, and food, along with work wear. They are also developing technologies using electromagnets and diaphragms.
Further proof for their success is the fact that their net income last year was 4.1 billion forints (~13 mill EUR), 3.9 billion out of this was gained from export.
featured image: http://julius-k9.com