Pet Age recently touched base with David Hanono, owner of T-Rex Products, to talk about how the company got its start and what’s helped it remain successful for 20 years.
Q Can you tell me about the story behind how you started T-Rex?
A It all started with product ideas my business partner and I came up with around 1993 in the pet store we owned at the time. Then, in 1997, we put those ideas to action and created T-Rex Products with the goal of bridging the gap between live reptile sales at the retail level and the availability of products to support those sales. The vision was, and still is, to create a link between T-Rex and the reptile hobbyist, forming a bond similar to the relationship they share with their pets. It is the focus on this goal that has made T-Rex Products a leader in innovating the reptile segment of the pet industry.
Q Do you follow a certain philosophy behind your products?
A Our philosophy behind every product is to better the lives of both the animal and the pet owner. For the animal, we look for ways in which we can enrich their habitat in a way that is similar to what they would experience in their natural environment. For the pet owner, we want to make it as easy as possible for them to provide that type of habitat for their pet by using the products we offer.
Q Which product line has been your most popular?
A It is difficult to say that any one of our products has been the most successful or popular. Over the years we have created and introduced many popular products to the reptile industry. For example, our Comfort Leash was featured on NBC’s “Today” show as a popular product for reptile owners. This past year we introduced our TerraScape line of products, consisting of the TerraMix Substrates and the TerraAccents Decor.
Q What’s been a recent trend in the reptile market?
A The trend in the market has been going toward terrariums being decorated with natural products to mimic what the animals would be surrounded by in their natural habitat. In nature, environments are not made up of only one substrate and a plastic decor item. There are multiple substrates, rocks, bark, moss and all sorts of natural “decor” that animals use to climb, hide and bask. The TerraAccents allows pet owners to replicate this by providing them with natural decor items packaged in smaller quantities so the hobbyist can conveniently add a variety to their terrarium and create a more natural environment for their pet. Along with that, our TerraMixes is a line of substrates with two substrates separately packaged in one bag to allow the pet owner to create a natural substrate in their terrarium. Pet owners can mix, layer, divide or use their own creativity to create a natural environment in their terrarium.
Q How would you describe your relationship with retailers?
A One thing we pride ourselves on at T-Rex is the personal connection we have with our retailers. As former retailers ourselves, we understand what being a retailer is like and keep that in mind when working with them to make sure they are being taken care of. Our goal is to make the process of getting our products on a retailer’s shelf as easy as possible so they can service their customers.
Q What is on the horizon for T-Rex?
A To continue to develop and introduce new products and to work with our existing retailers, as well as create partnerships with new retailers. At T-Rex, we know that retailers are very important in introducing new consumers to the reptile hobby and we need to help our dealers keep these consumers coming back to their stores.