“One fine day I was on my way to work when I saw three puppies playing on the sidewalk. Like most people in such a situation, I drove through asking myself ‘what could I do for a street dog?’ …But something felt kind of wrong.”
“The next day, when I passed by the same place, there was only one puppy left: those sweetest brown eyes were staring at me, and it was all alone. This time I couldn’t ignore it. So, I picked it up, thinking to giving it away to someone who could take care of it. Though that changed rapidly when my children saw it: it was love at first sight.”
“Later on, when I would see street dogs wandering, I imagined the sad fate my Niko would have lived if I had not picked it up. That moved me and led me to do something about it. That is how the concept of Embark was born – with a helpless puppy that I had ignored the first time I saw it, like most people do.”
“At that point in time there was a great demand for dogs of breed; but I could see that the offer of abandoned stray dogs waiting to be rescued and adopted into a home was way higher. Even I had spent a lot of money on pure-bred dogs before Niko arrived, who is the nicest, happiest and most grateful dog that I have ever met …and without having to pay a dime”.
Embark is a fashion brand and an initiative that focuses on the welfare of street dogs in Sri Lanka. Thanks to the profits generated through the sale of clothing and accessories with daring humor and innovative designs that allude stray dogs, and the association with organizations and professionals with the same vision, in the last 10 years Embark has launched several projects to improve the situation of stray dogs in Sri Lanka such as rescue and cure of injured dogs, sterilization, vaccination and adoption campaigns, and other initiatives that seek to educate and sensitize society.
Otara, the founder and visionary for Embark, studied Biology but chose to develop professionally as a model to later become a successful businesswoman. Prior to Embark, Otara was already the first Sri Lankan businesswoman to take public a retail fashion company. She was awarded ‘The Best Female Entrepreneur’ at an international level and she is one of the most powerful women in Sri Lanka.
“Do not be afraid to start small, great achievements often have humble beginnings.” – Otara Gunewardene.