Suzanne Donaldson (Mrs. Sizzle) and her pups, Edie and Clair © The Dogist
Can’t get enough of adorable animal photos? If you want a daily dose of fur, fashion and philanthropy, look no further than Mrs. Sizzle. The site is the brainchild of Suzanne Donaldson, consultant and former executive photo director at Glamour magazine for the past 12 years. She quit her coveted position just this past spring to dedicate herself full time to her new venture and has never looked back. Full of panache and just plain fun, Mrs. Sizzle is a blog that showcases doggy art, chic pet accessories, training and support for animal lovers everywhere.
With Donaldson’s impressive resume ranging from Interview Magazine to the Robert Mapplethorpe Studio, she lends her dynamic eye to every detail, sharing a universal love of pets and advocating for adoption. The site highlights a ‘Rescue of the Week’ and regularly promotes shelters and charities that help place animals in good homes. Whether featuring Cindy Sherman’s parrot or capturing pets strutting down the runways at Fashion Week, Mrs. Sizzle is bursting with sophisticated enthusiasm and inspiration for all furry (and feathery) creatures. We asked Donaldson about her rather extreme career switch, her own canine love story and why Squarespace helps her not be so intimidated by technology.
© Jeff Mermelstein
Tell us a little about your highly amusing site Mrs. Sizzle.
“Mrs. Sizzle (i.e. myself and the site) is nuts! I left my day job to become the founder of a fashion dog website. It might be the craziest thing anyone has ever heard of, but I really did. I discovered that my hour in the morning with my dogs was far surpassing any creativity that I was having during the day at work. I kept thinking there had to be a way to marry my love of photography with dogs. Thus the inspiration for Mrs. Sizzle.”
Working as a photo editor for over 20 years, you’ve totally switched gears with the launch of Mrs. Sizzle. What was the motivation behind the career shift?
“I used to meet with photographers often at my job as the Executive Photo Director of Glamour. One day Richard Phibbs visited my office. He came to show me his fashion work but what really got me was the shoot he had just done for the Humane Society of NY. He had spent a day photographing dogs and cats that needed home in a tiny office at their headquarters in the city. I knew right then I had to do something with all my contacts in media to help, not to mention making up for the mistake I made in buying my dogs from a puppy store.”
© The Dogist
Marc Jacob’s dog Neville © Olivia Bee
What was your inspiration behind Mrs. Sizzle?
“I wanted to tap into what the fashion world was doing and somehow add some joy and whimsy. Frequently Women’s Wear Daily will run an article about designers and their dogs and I feel that breaks the spell of these ‘hard-to-reach’ people. Just look at the following Neville Jacobs has! I further translate that into trends like houndstooth or New York Fashion Leash (#nyfl). I like to have fun with fashion and their furs while also curating high-end art like Cindy Sherman’s bird or Laurie Simmon’s daughter’s dog in her work.”
Mister Frieda © Cindy Sherman
Vincent Flouret and his dog Max © Vincent Flouret
Mrs. Sizzle showcases animal lovers from photographers to celebrities to artists to fashion designers. What’s the criteria to being featured on the site?
“As a photo editor for over 25 years, the quality of the imagery is most important. If there is a good story I won’t discriminate – if the photos are bad, I just run them small!”
Do you take submissions to Mrs. Sizzle?
“Of course I accept. One of my most favorite posts was sent to me as a submission by Dawn Whitmore.”
Ben the poodle © Dawn Whitmore
Gus Van Sant’s dog Milo © Miles Rasmussen
Why did you choose Squarespace to build your site?
“My friend and creative director Paul Ritter was helping me with my site and how to get it set up. His site was built on Squarespace and the only thing holding me back was being so afraid of technology. After he designed my logo, I switched to Squarespace. It was so user friendly and through their site I was able to find a list of designers and programmers to help me customize further.”
What makes a Squarespace site the best fit for you?
“It’s functionality. It is a pretty smooth learning curve and once you get the hang of it you are good to go. I like that it guides you through a variety of layouts to choose from based on the intent of your content. I am also obsessed with the service. They really are there to help any time of day or night. Makes me want to back to school for design! I find it all so fascinating!”
© Holly Brookhouser