Virginia Castro was sitting in her Los Angeles home after an exhausting day of producing pet accessories and running her pet store, Catts & Doggs, when she decided to turn on VH1 to unwind. As music videos by Guns N’ Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Van Halen played before her, she began to wonder why all of these rock stars were playing such amazing and expensive instruments that were being supported by the same boring and poorly made black straps.
“I instantly had the thought that I could put some leopard prints and custom designs together to make them match the styles of the basses and guitars all the stars played. Why not apply the design knowledge I had from my pet line to making straps that would stand out and match the rest of their vibe?”
She immediately put her plan to action and the next day she visited her friend in downtown L.A. to study how to handcraft straps. She developed her signature design with a wide variety of styles, patterns, and colors, went to work making the initial batches for production, and Get’m Get’m was born. Being the daughter of hard-working Mexican immigrants, Castro’s innate work ethic is only rivaled by her ambition, so rather than starting small, she decided to go straight to the top with her new line of straps.
“I wanted to go after the big boys, so I walked into the corporate offices of Guitar Center and showed them my straps. They quickly turned me down and laughed at me, so as I left I turned to the room full of cubicles and yelled, ‘Doesn’t anyone here have any taste in style?!’ That caught the attention of one of their buyers who got my straps into their stores and when he did, they all sold out within three hours. I knew I had something.”
Two months later, Castro’s straps ended up front and center in Guitar World magazine, as bassist Twiggy Ramirez sported one for a shoot with Marilyn Manson. A week later, Castro received a call from Manson wanting to outfit his whole band with her straps.
“It was funny because I used to make my straps 55” long like everyone else, but when I met Marilyn Manson and his band I saw that he was so tall. He told me that nobody makes extra-long straps, so I started making them 80” in length, eventually settling on 72”. I’ve learned that you have to evolve what you make for the needs of clients, so I’m always talking to musicians to see what they like and want.”
Castro is no stranger to celebrity endorsement. Her line of pet collars and accessories (Right On!) caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who requested custom designs for her dogs and thanked Virginia personally. Before long her straps started appearing in music videos and on stages all over the world. Artists like Duff McKagan, Bootsy Collins, Rhonda Smith, Jimmy Page, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Metallica, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Avril Lavigne, Andrew Watt, Johnny Depp, Joe Bonamassa, Rick James, Jeff Beck, Nik West, H.E.R., and many others use her straps exclusively.
“It’s always a thrill to see a musician using one of my straps, whether they’re a major artist or not. My goal was simply to make a quality product that looks good and lasts. Artists spend top dollar on their instruments and clothing, which creates their look. They need a strap to match their vibe. I knew I could deliver that, along with the durability to support them throughout their career.”
There are few performers who have encapsulated the connection of music, style, and fashion in the way that Prince did. Naturally, it was only a matter of time before the Artist discovered Get’m Get’m and reached out to Castro to have her design some custom straps—which he would go on to wear for the rest of his career. Two of her straps were featured on his cover shots for Bass Player magazine  and Guitar Player .
“That was a huge moment for me. Prince is an amazing musician and songwriter and his look and his fashion were always an important part of his art. I knew that my straps would be perfect for him. I personally designed a bunch and he used the hell out of them. Honestly, even with as high quality as our materials are, I always worried that he wasn’t going to like them. He was extremely particular and he knew what he wanted, so there was a lot of pressure. Luckily he loved everything I sent him, and it was unreal to see him perform on global stages using my straps.”
Castro remains extremely hands-on in the strap making process, as she’s most commonly found at her downtown L.A. production facility checking all of the products—even getting her hands dirty cleaning the belts, packing the straps, and putting the final touches on them. The straps themselves are made entirely in Los Angeles using only the finest materials, including genuine leather for her signature tips, nylon webbing for durability, vegan leather, and fabrics that are as beautiful as they are functional and long-lasting.
“That’s the problem with my products, they last so long [laughs]. I have players who bought a strap from me years ago who still use it every day on every tour. Durability is huge for me, so I make sure these straps are as comfortable and long lasting as possible. I use the best fabrics, and I make sure that every bit of material and every seam on every strap is solid. I like using material that feels worn-in; like you’ve used it for years the first time you put it on.”
With new lines of straps coming out regularly and a rapidly increasing demand for her products, Castro is busier than ever, and she couldn’t be happier working in the spaces of her two biggest passions: music and animals. A portion of each strap sold is donated to the animal rescue organization No Dogs Left Behind. But regardless of how busy she gets and how often she steps in to do the manual work, her gratitude towards music is her driving force, as it has always been.
“Ever since I was a little girl music has been one of my main passions. I don’t know what we’d do if we didn’t have music. This world would be a nightmare. I always have music playing, no matter what I’m doing. It makes everything better. It inspires me in everything I create and it motivates me, as well. I’m so grateful to play a role in contributing to musicians making music.”
For more visit: Get’m Get’m Straps
Learn More about Right On! Pet Accessories: HERE