Maria with her boys Buttons & Bose, 2015
Maria is the designer and co-founder of Hearth Hounds, LLC. Lifelong animal lover and artist, this project began with her passion for retired Greyhounds, and a little shop on Etsy, that catered to Greyhound lovers.
Before she started sewing & painting Greyhound stockings back in 2014, Maria owned and operated her hand painted glass company, Ampolo Designs for over 15 years. Her creative stemware adorns tables throughout the USA, as well as her tabletop designs created for Rosenthal China, USA Division.
Maria's love affair with Greyhounds began in 1998, after adopting her very first Greyhound, Guinevere. That was it, Gwennie Gwen was a magical creature and Maria's "obsession" was born. Many years, and many beautiful Greyhounds later she decided to sew her own version of a Greyhound Christmas stocking and "just for fun" see if there would be any interest on Etsy for such an item. Indeed there was interest! And also great interest in other breeds. That's when the idea for Hearth Hounds was born and a call was placed to long-time friend Rob King. Together, Maria & Rob strike a perfect balance of creativity and business savvy.
Maria is currently owned by her new Greyhounds, Diva Siren, in black, and the handsome Houli-Bouli Houlihan!
A portion of the profits earned by Hearth Hounds, LLC, will be donated to local Greyhound and animal rescue groups.
Rob with his girls Annie & CeeCee, 2016
Rob is co-founder of Hearth Hounds, LLC, with his long-time high school friend, Maria Ampolo. After seeing Maria’s original Greyhound designs in 2014, he knew that he had to get on board and help her expand the line to include more breeds. Rob is a long time dog lover and knew that if he partnered with Maria she would ultimately have to design stockings for his beloved buddies Annie (German Shepherd mix) and CeeCee (Cane Corso). Together Rob and Maria blend their collective experiences into one with the mission to recognize our four legged family members in a very special way.
Rob’s diverse background includes over 20 years active duty in the US Army serving in the US, Europe and Middle East until his retirement in 2005. In addition to co-founding Hearth Hounds, he is also the founder of U.S. Technik, Inc. a consulting firm located in Colorado.
He is an active supporter in the Colorado Springs community where he has lived for 19 years. In particular, he is committed to supporting organizations whose missions better the lives of children, veterans and animal rescue groups. Portions of profits earned by Hearth Hounds, LLC, will go to these causes.
Sandy working on one of our latest breeds!
Sandy is our Seamstress extraordinaire! (We actually recruited her from JoAnn’s Fabric Store, while she was working) Sandy has been sewing since she was a little girl and has a broad range of skill and talent. She ran her own quilting and embroidery business for many years.
Sandy works on our production samples taken from Maria’s designs. Sometimes this means sewing the same design over and over until it is absolutely perfect! The best part is Sandy never loses her sunny smile even when she’s ready to strangle Maria for changing the patterns!
Hearth Hounds is lucky to have this lovely lady on our team!
Cindy will be wearing many hats, which will be a breeze for her considering she's had more than 30 years of experience as a small business retail owner. Her primary focus will be on Sales & Marketing, as well as managing customer emails, calls and wholesale inquiries received through our website. This will allow more time for Maria to do what she do best...designing doggies!
Kate jumped in and worked tirelessly throughout the summer and right into Christmas without missing a beat. She is without a doubt the guiding light that led our team through a very successful season. As the new director of operations she will oversee fulfillment and all of the many details involved.