Born in Chadron, Nebraska, Brian Willis moved with his Mom, Dad, brothers Gary and Randy, and sister Denise to Wenatchee, Washington- the “Apple Capitol of the World.” This proved to be an idyllic setting for Brian to establish his passion for two of his favorite life elements: the outdoors and dogs.
During his youth Wenatchee was a wonderland covered in apple trees and sagebrush. He loved climbing trees, frolicking in the irrigation ditch and leading his dogs all over the tree covered valley. There was Bingo1, Bingo2, Bingo3, Prince, Voltiare and Sedgewick Sledge, not to mention the cats: Egbert and Herkimer. Growing up without fences and the typical worries that kids have in present times enabled Brian to expand his imagination.
And he did, especially when his younger sister, Lori, arrived.
He immediately added her to his menagerie. It wasn’t unusual for his parents to load up the station wagon with five kids, seven sleeping bags, boxes of groceries, pots, pans, lanterns, ice chests and bug repellant to go camping for the weekend. The family would hike, swim, play board games and laugh. They laughed a lot. They laughed so much one-time that the park Ranger had to stop by and ask the family to keep it down. A family that laughs together stays together.
The closeness of Brian’s family instilled a sense of respect and loyalty that is a hallmark of his personality to this day. As Brian got older he would move to Seattle, Washington and start his career and family of his own. His family consisted of Isadora, an Irish Setter, and Max and Tonkah, both Airedale Terriers. He was also “brother” to Castellano, a Golden Retriever; King, a Standard Poodle; Cleo, a wolf like wire mix; Bobba, a Briard; as well as Clover, Isaac and June Bug, all Boston Terriers. He was "uncle” to Cha Luks, Maximus and Magic, all Samoyed; Meeko, a Husky; Shadow, Tonka and Muddy, all Labradors; Joey and Jackie, Cocker Spaniels and Sheba, a German Shepard. Through instinct, love and patience, he built an undeniable bond with his four legged friends.
While in Seattle, Brian became a successful Senior Creative Manager for leading retailers such as Nordstrom and Tommy Bahama. In 2004 he had an opportunity to work for the imaginative and innovative retailer Anthropologie in Phoenix, Arizona. This would give Brian the chance to work for a company that he had always admired while living in a climate where he could be outdoors year round. His experience as a leading creative thinker, a strong business manager and sound team builder poised Brian to become the spirited entrepreneur he is today.
While in Philadelphia attending an executive conference for Anthropologie he had the privilege to have dinner with Wendy Brown, the Chief Operating Officer, and a small group of associates. While at dinner Wendy asked everyone what their dream job would be. When the question came around to Brian he said, ”Working with dogs outdoors”. Wendy’s reply was a very simple ”Why don’t you?” Her direct reply was difficult for Brian to forget. It was only a matter of time before Brian would resign his position as District Visual Manager for Anthropologie and begin his new career as Principal and Creator of Gofetch&Barkalott.