How Aussie powerhouse Belinda Everingham elevated a dog's beauty routine
Interview by Dune Chambaud
Photography by Augustin Chauvet
APRIL 19, 2018
A few years ago a lovely stranger, Belinda, bumped in to me on my daily walk with the pugs at Palais Royal - asking whether she could take a photo of the three of us, explaining her idea of launching natural dog beauty products, both gentle but effective as a continuation of her already existing brand Bondi Wash. Of course we were curious and immediately intrigued !
A few months later we received a surprise package with a few samples of products that we would soon discover in Paris chicest department stores !
With a strong belief in healing and anti-bacterial powers of Australian bush oils and choice of aesthetically appealing packaging, Belinda has established her products right at the top.
As someone who regularly uses dry shampoo to refresh my hair at the end of the day to give it a new washed look before leaving the house, I always wondered whether dry shampoo existed for dogs and if so, whether it would work !?
My pugs are from the same litter, but Louis despises water, while George truly enjoys a warm bath and massage. So, thanks to Bondi’s dry wash I can now space out Louis washes, which really comes in handy, especially during the long winter months.
But it was Belinda’s own dog and brand ambassador Roger, hydrophobic himself, who inspired her to create the dry wash and an entire range of natural grooming products.
Another product I now can’t live without, is Bondi’s Yoga Mat Spray – a natural oil and plant based bacteria killer that I use for quick wiping my yoga mat but also all other kinds of objects and surfaces – from the dog bed to my baby’s changing table.
Don’t tell me your dog doesn’t squat your mat the second you turn around !
They say that our perception of beauty is constructed in early childhood by the things that leave the greatest impression on us – What images of beauty struck you most?
I grew up surrounded by art, animals and nature. With an artist Mother we were always drawing, painting, visiting galleries. I also grew up surrounded by the wild Australian bush. Weekends were often spent camping or picnicking. So this wilderness I think defined my love for the sculptural, wild shapes of Australian flora.
Fragrance was also instrumental in that beauty – the natural scents from the bush and the garden. Both my grandmothers had lush gardens filled with natural scents.
How did you and Roger meet?
Roger chose us. We were waiting for a puppy from the impending litter, and went to select one from 8 puppies born in a home in Melbourne (not a puppy factory). Roger was the first pup to wander up to us, he snuggled and whined a little. We really did feel he had chosen us.
Tell us more about the breed! What are Spoodles like?
They are affectionate, lively, intelligent, gentle and loving. Sometimes more like a pussy cat, all they want is to be close to you. They especially love children. They are a little racist in that they prefer to associate with other ‘oodles’ and steer clear of big scary dogs. They do suffer from separation anxiety. Thankfully I can take Roger most places I go including the office.
When did you decide to create and launch Bondi Wash for dogs? Was this a dedication to your beloved Roger?
Well no actually. It was more a service to dogs with sensitive skin. People kept telling me their dogs suffered from rashes after bathing – could we create a gentle wash for them? Somehow baths are one of Roger’s least favourite things. He does however love playing the role of brand ambassador. He welcomes customers ever so politely in our Flagship Bondi store, and poses so seriously in the bath or on the mantelpiece in our photoshoots. The only product in our range I am confident he enjoys is the Dry Dog Wash - he loves having the powder rubbed in and then a brush.
Do you find Australia and Bondi Beach, especially, to be a dog-friendly place?
Bondi is extremely dog friendly. There is a joyousness here in Bondi living so close to the ocean, and owning a dog also brings people joy. You don’t often meet someone who doesn’t love dogs in Bondi. Australians do in general love dogs but the country is not as friendly as other places like France, Taiwan and the US, where you can bring your pooch into bars, shops, planes, trains and cafes. Australia is a little over-regulated in this regard.
Could you tell us about your most remarkable encounter due to Roger? Did you ever meet anyone interesting through your dog or have an especially memorable walk?
I have met some Australian movie and TV stars walking Roger – Eric Bana was one. I shared with him tips on how to train his new black poodle Mario. Other adventures included a surf rescue when I had to pull Roger out of the waves when he followed his ball off the rocks. He loves chasing balls. And just last weekend a large octopus in the shallow rock pool Roger plays in popped out from under a ledge to try and grab Roger’s ball.
The Internet goes wild about beauty routines lately; does Roger have one to himself?
In Bondi it’s not cool to look overly groomed or like you’re trying too hard. Natural beauty is more the vibe. Roger embraces this attitude. In fact, he loves nothing more than the beach hair look – fresh from swims in the local rock pools.
But he does have a few secrets he can share. Internal beauty shows on the outside and Roger oozes love. If he’s waiting outside a shop for me he’ll make friends with a passerby, he will snuggle into them and kiss if they are open to it.
And of course he uses the Bondi Wash range when necessary to keep the dog smell at bay and his fur soft and fluffy. He knows he gets more cuddles when his fur is soft and clean, so he reluctantly undergoes a range of grooming treatments to keep himself fresh.
What do you recommend our readers: DIY or professional groomer?
Definitely professional groomer. Roger’s groomer is Korean, they are famous for their skills in creating stylish cuts. Roger likes to keep his tail, leg and head hair long to complete his ‘relaxed but dapper’ look.
There’s quite a debate about how often one should bathe their dogs, if at all! ! What do you advise?
Given baths are not Roger’s favourite thing, he gets one monthly or when necessary like after a roll in duck poo. We always use the Bondi Wash Dog Conditioner as well as the Dog Wash which helps to keep his fur less knotty (it has Australian banksia seed oil in it). In between baths we do 2 things: freshen him up with the Kennel Spray if he is a little stinky. And in the evenings about once a week we will sprinkle Dry Dog Wash through his fur and brush the knots away.
When you created Bondi Wash dog products, what mattered most to you?
Three things: that they didn’t irritate the dog, they left the fur soft and that the scent was beautiful.
What is your favorite scent? Did you let Roger test smell your ingredients during your research phase for Bondi Wash dogs? (If yes, were there any noticeable reactions?)
Yes Roger played the role of guinea pig during the creation of the scents. Because he doesn’t like baths he associated the scent with a bath so would run and hide when he could smell it. He’s not a good advertisement is he? He is better now though as he does love the Dry Dog Wash so the scent doesn’t scare him anymore. Thankfully other dogs are not so rude about the scent and the products – they seem to like it. And I don’t have a favourite scent. I mostly like to mix up our scents around the home – we have 9 in our range now.
Where do you shop for dog food and what matters to you most? Does beauty truly come from within?
A lady in the supermarket saw my trolley once and told me convincingly how ‘oodles’ are French so therefore very particular in what they’ll eat, just like the French people. Roger has a diet of chicken necks, leftover roast lamb or chicken and organic, natural dry food. He is equally fussy about where he sleeps – polyester is no good, it has to be velvet, cotton or wool.
And yes, Roger believes true beauty comes from within. Roger loves the ladies and many of his love interests are not the finest specimens – with underbites, crooked teeth, or bad haircuts. He doesn’t care – he knows it’s what on the inside.