WPA will begin producing the show in 2015, located at the Atlanta Airport Hilton.
The World Pet Association is the oldest industry organization promoting responsible growth and development of the companion pet and related products and services.]]>
Partnering with Worldwise, the team responsible for the line of products from SmartyKat, PoochPlanet and Petlinks, Ireland developed a line of solutions-based home decor pet products. According to Forbes Magazine, kiWW is recognized as one of the country’s most successful design and marketing firms, with revenues topping $2 billion in licensed products annually.
Pet Age spoke with Aimee Diskin, director of innovation and product development at Worldwise, about the kathy ireland Loved Ones collection.
Pet Age: What type of design features make these products stand out in the pet industry?
Diskin: The approach to the line was to offer families intuitive, solution-oriented products that look good in the home environment.
Our goal was to solve both a pet, and pet parent’s, needs through innovation and a very thoughtful analysis of how we interact with our pets in daily life. Our team frequently took an everyday task and asked, “What would make it even more enjoyable, easier, faster?” Oftentimes, we discovered solutions by just being with our pets. For example, while feeding our pets, we noticed how dirty the wall behind the feeding bowl was. Also, noticing how our dogs and cats slept led to the question of if we had the right bed to match that sleep style. We even examined the in-store experience to make our items more accessible and user-friendly on the shelf.
Kathy’s aesthetic melded seamlessly with the products. This resulted in uniquely beautiful, home décor-friendly cat and dog products with high-quality fabrics and materials to harmoniously fit into any home.
Pet Age: What types of products can we expect to see in the collection?
Diskin: The kathy ireland Loved Ones collection offers a comprehensive product line for both cats and dogs that encompass: bedding, toys, leads, collars, travel, feeding, watering, scratchers and furniture. The Loved Ones collection offers beautiful, high quality, solution-focused products for the entire home.
Pet Age: What was it like to work with Kathy Ireland and her team?
Diskin: Kathy and her team are great partners and very much a family dedicated to the wellness of pets and connecting with these Loved Ones. kiWW’s mission is “… finding solutions for families … especially busy moms.” Kathy and I are both aware of what it means to be a busy parent of both the two-footed and four-footed children in our families.
Just because we don’t have a lot of time to spare doesn’t mean we don’t want to offer our families the best care possible. If we can save time, solve a problem and have style while doing it, even better. Throughout the development of the collection we frequently validated the items to make sure there was a solution or benefit offered. If it didn’t have one, it wasn’t going to make the cut.
Pet Age: How did Kathy’s dogs inspire the collection?
Diskin: Kathy has had many animals in her family over the years. Some [were] adopted or rescued, and all [were] part of the family and considered loved ones. Kathy has said, “We have never thought of ourselves as pet owners, rather, we are the trusted guardians for these very special Loved Ones. kiWW and Worldwise are committed to making the world a better place for all pets and the families who love them.”
There is a portion of the line, Gracie & Delilah, that is inspired by two of Kathy’s dogs that were adopted from her late mentor, Elizabeth Taylor. Gracie & Delilah are world-class Loved Ones that are accustomed to the finest things in life and the Hollywood chic lifestyle. You’ll find some indulgent products in the collection that allow all our Loved Ones to live the indulgent life of Gracie & Delilah.
Pet Age: Can you tell us about the pet advocacy program that will work to raise awareness of the benefits of pet adoption?
Diskin: When you pair a dynamic brand like kiWW along with Kathy’s values and philanthropic support, she stands out in the marketplace. Worldwise shares similar values, so it has been great to work together with kiWW. Kathy and Worldwise are both very devoted and involved in a variety of pet-wellness focused organizations. Our objective is to build awareness through as many organizations as possible.
As examples, we support creating awareness of the benefits of both adoption and rescue organizations that understand the power of emotional bonds, rewards and joys that coincide with pet ownership. Some of the organizations we support are Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, A Wish for Animals and APPA’s Pets Add Life.
- Stacy Mantle
The kathy ireland Loved Ones collection will feature solution-based pet products.]]>
Small businesses will benefit most from this continuing movement toward humanization, particularly in the ability to carry premium pet foods and offer unique pet services that meet the very specific needs of clients. Baby boomers and childless couples lead the pack in pet ownership this year, and with that comes a highly educated and demanding group who love their pets. It’s going to be important for pet stores to employ educated, informed staff who can effectively relate to their clientele.
On a Global Level
The pet industry is driven by humanization and it’s a trend that is only growing in popularity. Pet ownership has increased in North America, with over 68 percent of households owning at least one dog, according to 2012 U.S. pet ownership estimates from the American Pet Products Association. According to a Packaged Facts survey, 83 percent of pet owners consider their pet to be a member of the family.
Pets are considered family, and nothing proves this more than the humanization trend that has only increased in popularity. You need only look at the marketplace to gain proof, with medical procedures like hip replacements, orthopedic dog beds, human-grade food and Burberry dog coats.
Growth is expected to continue across all pet categories at a rate of about 5 percent, with industry sales increasing to $64.92 billion in 2014, and a projected $75.09 billion by 2017, according to MarketResearch.com.
The trend continues on an international level.
India has experienced tremendous growth in commercial pet foods as people begin to explore the benefits of commercialized food. In Russia, more than 40 percent of families own at least one pet, of which 73 percent own at least one cat and 32 percent own at least one dog, according to a 2013 report from Global Agricultural Network, published by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. According to Euromonitor International, the pet food market in Russia is experiencing annual growth of 8.7 percent, only second to India, and is predicted to reach $2.2 billion by 2015.
Brazil and Mexico are the two superstars of the international pet supply market; others include Japan, Vietnam and Latin America.
Pet popularity in general has also increased over the past few years. According to an International Markets Bureau report, the dog population in Brazil grew to more than 35 million, representing a 14 percent increase in the past 5 years. The cat population experienced a record 37.5 percent increase there during the same time period, according to the same report.
The United States remains No. 1 in cat and dog ownership, but Brazil has moved into the No. 2 spot for dogs, and Russia is No. 2 for cats, according to a Euromonitor International Report.
- Stacy Mantle]]>
Bark in the Park events allows dogs to join in the fun with their owners by experiencing the all-American fun of a baseball game. Fans can purchase a ticket for their dogs, join in on the pre-game pup rally, march in a parade and spend the day relaxing at the ballpark. Nearly 600 dogs and their families typically participate in these popular events, officials said.
By integrating nontraditional marketing activities with companion brands for dogs and cats, Central Pet can use the sports and entertainment forums to get its products in front of families who have, or are thinking about adopting, a pet.
Through these marketing efforts, Central Pet is able to encourage higher adoption rates, increase product sales and to get the word out about new products.
“Central has a long history with Major League Baseball as the official pet products partner and sponsor of Bark in the Park events with various teams since 2005,” Jim Heim, president, business development at Central Garden & Pet, said. “This season, we are looking to create a winning combination for our brands and business partners by bringing these unique and wonderful events to teams across the country.
Baseball is still America’s pastime and the most family-friendly professional sport. By partnering with teams, we are able to sample products, build awareness and affinity for our brands, and promote responsible pet ownership, adoption and animal welfare to pet-loving families who also love baseball.”
This season, Central Pet plans to expand across eight franchises by adding 8-10 teams to its Bark in the Park schedule. Central Pet plans to showcase products from the AvoDerm and Nylabone channels, and will be partnering with nonprofit animal rescue groups like Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF).
La Russa, a retired Major League Baseball manager and coach, founded ARF in 1991 to address the needs of companion animals by not only aiding abandoned and homeless animals, but promoting the idea that people’s lives can be enhanced by strengthening the bonds between humans and animals.
“We are thrilled to partner with Central Garden & Pet this season to help bring Bark in the Park events to thousands of families and our message to millions of Americans,” La Russa, who also serves as ARF’s chariman, said. “Central is a long-time supporter of ARF’s mission to save dogs and cats who have run out of time at public shelters, and bring people and animals together to enrich each other’s lives. Our ties to baseball obviously run deep and this partnership combines two of my favorite passions … baseball and pets.”
- Stacy Mantle]]>
This award recognizes individuals in the media who have the power to influence millions of people and use it to positively promote the joys and benefits of pet ownership. Past recipients include Rachael Ray, Ellen DeGeneres, Sandy Robins and Victoria Stillwell.
Launched in 2002, Modern Dog magazine began as a regional publication in Canada. The magazine quickly found a readership across North America. In 2012, Wilson launched Modern Cat, a quarterly publication that was named one of the 15 hottest magazine launches of 2012 by Samir Husni, founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism.
“Connie’s true passion for pets and their well-being comes through in all that she’s accomplished,” Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association, said. “Her magazines and websites are just another way for her to share in the love we have for our pets to an active and enthusiastic group of people, which is the true essence of this award. We congratulate her on her contribution to the industry and the pet-loving population.”
Pet Age recently spoke with Wilson about the award and her publications.
Pet Age: What makes Modern Dog and Modern Cat different from other publications?
Wilson: The content, definitely. We strive to make it smart and fun, and good looking and inspirational. Our aim is to provide the perfect mix of advice, entertainment, DIY’s, photos to make you smile, ways to improve your relationship with your dog, new things to discover. We frequently get the comment, “It’s the only magazine I read cover-to-cover,” which of course always thrills us.
Pet Age: You have mentioned that you didn’t have a lot of experience in publishing when you first started Modern Dog magazine. What inspired you to take on such a massive project?
Wilson: I can thank my dog, Kaya. When I moved back to the city, I was nervous about leaving my friends and family and starting a new urban life. And [I] worried that my dog Kaya wouldn’t be able to adapt. Ironically, it was Kaya who helped me, introducing me to a whole new circle of friends, those who loved their dogs like I did mine and treated them as their canine kids.
I was looking to start a new career and Kaya gave me the inspiration to create a resource that would help the dog community live their best canine-inclusive lives. Thus, Modern Dog magazine was born, with Modern Cat following!
Pet Age: You have a sincere passion for dogs and cats, which is evidenced through the high quality of your work. Can you tell us about your pets? How do they motivate you?
Wilson: Kaya, who passed away, was not, for all her lovableness, an easy dog to live with. High-trung, headstrong, neurotic, not to mention flatulent, throughout her life she gave me examples of just about every problem a dog owner could face, providing inspiration for articles and an empathy for others who experienced similar difficulties. We worked through our problems and built a bond so strong it nearly tore me apart when she passed on.
There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t think of her. Penny, a rescued Wirehaired Dachshund, now rules my life. She’s a real cutie and my first small dog, so she’s providing a totally different perspective for me. Having a dog in my life helps keep my centered, gets me out for walks where I can commune with nature, re-energize and also connect with my community. Our dogs are such a blessing.
Pet Age: Which quality would you say most inspires the cross-border (and cross-species) success of your publications?
Wilson: I think there’s a real hunger for quality information delivered by someone who “gets it.” “It” being the myriad of ways our dogs and cats bring joy to our lives, and I like to think to bring that all wrapped up in an enjoyable package.
Pet Age: Where do you gain your inspiration?
Wilson: From our readers and their pets, and from our awesome team here and their pets. The Modern Dog and Modern Cat team are a totally amazing and creative bunch. It’s fun working together to come up with ideas that we think will inspire.
Pet Age: What’s the most rewarding part of your work?
Wilson: The creation of the Modern Dog and Modern Cat communities. Our readers are the best.
Pet Age: As an entrepreneur, what is the most important lesson you’ve learned in working with the pet industry?
Wilson: You need to be quick on your feet, adapting to a constantly changing environment, both in terms of competition and technology.
Pet Age: What does it feel like to be the recipient of such a prestigious award?
Wilson: I feel truly honored. I’ve worked really hard to get where I am, so receiving this type of recognition from my peers is a milestone in my life.
Pet Age: Where do you see the industry heading in 2014?
Wilson: It’s going to keep growing, as it has been for years now. The busier our lives get and the more entwined we become with technology, pets are going to be our salvation, balancing our lives and keeping us sane.
Pet Age: Any advice for aspiring pet industry influencers?
Wilson: First, be sure to do a market test so you’ll know if your target market thinks the product is as great as you do. Secondly, you’ll need to have the passion to see it through, as more likely than not you’ll be putting in long, hard hours; as well you’ll need enough money to finance it. It’s sad to see a great idea fizzle because there isn’t enough money to bring it to market, a process that often takes longer than you think it will.
Wilson will accept the award March 13 in Orlando, Fla., at the Purina Media Reception during the Global Pet Expo, presented by the American Pet Products Association and Pet Industry Distributors Association.
- Stacy Mantle]]>
The industry has not only seen, and will continue to see, dramatic changes in corporate ownership, marketing techniques, shipping, shopping, packaging and other areas.
The pet industry is still the Wild West, a virtual gold rush with lots of room for growth and expansion. It’s an industry that rewards innovative thought and creative approaches to problems. Pets have become a part of the family, and there is no room for error when it comes to a member of the family.
Contemporize and Repackage
Repackaging and contemporizing food brands is first on the marketing agenda this year. Expect to see several major brands rolling out a complete new look.
Pet food and treat manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the impact packaging has on their success. Treats in packaging that supports freshness and ease of use are important. Resealable packages made of recycled materials, and ease of display is becoming almost as important as what is inside the package.
“We wanted the packaging to evoke a very natural, culinary look and feel that plays up the beautiful ingredients we use in our human-grade foods,” Lucy Postins, founder and CEO of The Honest Kitchen, said. “We’re placing a heavy emphasis on the meat or fish source in each recipe, along with more clearly defining the life stage and differentiating the grain-free from whole-grain diets, to help streamline the shopping process and allow consumers to more easily select the recipe that’s right for their pet.”
Bravo Pet Foods also announced a series of strategic brand upgrades. The purveyor of an extensive, natural line of dinners and treats for dogs and cats is introducing a new logo, slogan and packaging design that will officially debut during Orlando’s Global Pet Expo. The image overhaul was developed with strategic guidance from Matrix Partners to make a compelling connection between the exceptional quality of Bravo products and the emotional reward pet owners feel when serving their pet these nutritious, delicious dinners and treats.Repackaging is not limited to pet foods.
Absorption Corp is now Healthy Pet, reflecting its focus as a pet products company. The Healthy Pet brand has been used by Absorbtion for both cat and small animal products, and will now become its corporate brand as well. Healthy Pet will be an umbrella for all of the company’s pet products, with major category brands such as CareFRESH and Critter Care maintaining strong product visibility to ensure consumer familiarity and loyalty.
A new logo and website recently debuted to reflect the change.
Reducing Carbon Pawprint
Green is in. With green technology and practices being touted by consumers and marketed by retailers, there is an obvious movement toward sustainable practices. Environmentally conscious owners are actively seeking out dog and cat treats that utilize recycled materials, sustainable resources and fair-trade ingredients.
“People want to know where their pet’s food and treats are coming from,” Postins said. “We always choose sustainability over cost. Our free-range chicken and line-caught wild haddock, fair-trade quinoa, non-genetically-modified produce and recycled, compostable packaging.”
Founded in 2013 by Cardinal Pet Care, Kong, Planet Dog, West Paw design, Worldwise, Petco, I and Love and You, and Only Natural Pet, the Pet Sustainability Coalition is focused on accelerating sustainability in the pet industry by encouraging the implementation of best-practices to promote continual and authentic improvement for the benefit of our environment, communities and businesses.
“It is our goal at Pet Age to bring the most important news and information to over 26,000 of our readers,” Craig Rexford, vice president and publisher of Pet Age, said. “Sustainability is an issue we support and we want to be sure industry leaders know what’s going on, how to get involved and why sustainability is important to their business. The Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition is paving a new pathway for improvement in this industry and we are proud supporters of their work.”
Luxury Services for Pets
From freeze-dried lobster tail treats offered by Grandma Lucy’s for cats, to blueberry facials from South Bark for dogs, pets are experiencing luxurious lives no matter what the owner’s income. Elegant packaging is what will attract pet owners, effective results is what brings them back.
Unprecedented growth will be seen across all categories, with the American Pet Products Association predicting that it will reach $750 billion by 2015. These changes will be most obvious in spa services that include alternative healing methods, including the cold laser, massage, acupuncture and other forms of alternative healing, behavioral training and counseling, luxury boarding facilities that mimic a home environment, and upscale pet photography.
High-end, solutions-based product lines for the home will also see continued growth. Celebrity brands like Martha Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Rachel Ray, Bret Michaels and Cesar Milan have long been fixtures in the pet industry. And, as new product lines are being consistently developed by those in the public eye, these celebrity endorsements will continue to bring in millions for the industry.
To entice the discerning pet owner, manufacturers have had to become more creative in identifying more variety when it comes to ingredients for pet food.
Alligator, craw fish, shrimp and crab are just a few of the proteins that characterize the new thought process.
An example of this Delca Corp.’s line of alligator-based dog treats.
“Our team has spent many years in all aspects of the pet industry, and we are passionate about this space,” Fritz Goodnow, partner at Delca Corp., said. “We are always inventing new things, and we believe we’ve really done it right this time. As dog lovers, we look for safe, healthy alternatives for our best friends, and our line of think!dog Louisiana Alligator treats are perfect for pet owners who really care about their dogs’ health and wellness.”
Primal Pet Foods continues to focus their raw diets on lamb, duck, turkey and sardine and more. They are also introducing a new, easier to feed type of raw food. Primal Pronto Formula is introducing a revolutionary way to feed raw foods to pets.
“Small, bite-sized pieces make the frozen formula much easier to portion and it thaws in minutes, negating any reason to leave food out for long periods of time,” Matt Koss, founder and president of Primal Pet Foods, said.
No matter what protein is used, it will need to be top of the line to compete within the competitive pet food landscape.
“Providing the best possible product for pets not only nourishes the health and well being of the animal, it nourishes the relationship between pet and parent,” Rob Cadenhead, vice president of sales and marketing at Spring Naturals, said.
Whole Life Pet treats also understands the value of farm-to-table fresh. Each treat is made from 100 percent human-quality, hormone-free, free range and organic meat, with no chemicals, preservatives, additives or artificial fillers. Powered 100 percent by renewable energy, Whole Life has focused on sustainability and quality.
From apps to keep cats entertained to new electronic monitoring for dogs, pets are joining the e-revolution. Look for Smart Homes to be a reality this year, and expect PetSafe to be leading the pack with the pet-side of this technology. Already, they have introduced the PASSport Pet Access Smart System automatic pet doors, doors which have gotten smarter over the years. They also introduced their Train ‘n Praise and Train ‘n Treat systems, the first which helps an owner remotely treat their pet.
Panasonic and Motorola both joined the pet surveillance category in 2013, and DOGTEK will unveil their new line of bark control devices, remote trainers, electronic fencing systems and pet cams at Global Pet Expo this year. The new line of infrared, wireless cameras allow night viewing of pets no matter where they are.
Petzila Pet Remote Interaction Device also unveiled its newest model at the Consumer Electronic Show earlier this year. The internet connected device let’s you interact with your pets while you’re on the road and is just one of many similar gadgets making its way to homes across America.
Wearables are all the rage, and while Fit Bit hit the stage in the human industry, it’s only natural that a data tracking collar for pets would become popular next. I3C Innovations debuted its Voyce tracking collar, which uses a 3-axis accelerometer to track a dog’s active and resting periods, and radio frequency technology to measure both heart and respiratory rates.
One particularly useful benefit of tracking pets is utilizing the data as a health resource, specifically to address the issue of pet obesity. Pet owners are becoming more and more aware of the problems associated with pet obesity. Now, more than ever, the trend is moving towards work outs with pets. Doga, dogs in yoga, K9 Fit Clubs and dog treadmills are the new status quo.
Fitness is more than a trend to PetZen. Their DogTread Authentic Brand includes a full selection of canine gym gear, including a K9 Fit Vest, and balancing equipment to their Canine Gym at Home and K9 Fit Clubs programs. Kathy Santo, professional dog trainer, and Krista Wickens, founder of PetZen Products/DogTread, teamed up to provide your dog with the Golden Duo—Mental and Physical Exercise, in DogTread’s newest Fitness Program innovation—Canine Gym At Home.
New and improved activity tracking software from Tagg, a GPS tracker and the introduction of other electronic monitoring apparatus helps keep concerned pet parents at ease.
“Tagg has compiled an extensive dataset, and we are excited to embrace the intellectual capital of our current veterinary partners to provide a more enhanced user experience,” Dr. Brailean, chairman and chief science officer who envisions Tagg to be at the epicenter of the wellness movement for pets, said. “These additional features will invite our subscribers to create a more customized experience based on the breed of their pet and specific health goals, helping to further shape and define Tagg’s leadership position within the pet advocacy world.”
Electronic toys will also be a bigger category in 2014, as customers are looking for innovation and active toys for their pets.
Most small businesses have focused on attracting high-end, discerning clientele by becoming a base of knowledge and fun. This is done by taking the time to educate their employees, bringing in external presenters for special tasting parties, yappy hours and other special events focused on the customer and their pets.
More of this is expected in 2014, as the competition becomes even greater.
“Your staff is very important,” Elizabeth Pfeiffer, manager of Bark Avenue Pet Supply, said. “Our employees focus is on solutions for pets rather than the trend of the week. We are always seeking to learn more about pet nutrition and share what we have learned with our staff. We invest in our employees with ongoing training by bringing experts into the store to explain the benefits of their products.”
- Stacy Mantle]]>
If you believe there is a perfect job for everyone out there, mine would be sales. I have been doing it longer than I care to admit, and I like to think I am not bad at it.
It’s strange, though, when the tables are turned on you and another salesperson is selling you on something that you want to buy. I know all the tricks in the book, so I know what to expect. At times I can sympathize with them; I understand how hard it is to do sales.
One experience that everyone can usually agree on that people don’t like is buying a new car. I recently was in the market for a new car and decided to go with a completely different make and model. The first couple of cars I went to check out had very pushy salespeople. They wanted me to pretty much sign before I got to check out the car. It was so stereotypical of how car sales happen, that is was humorous.
I continued to do my own research, trying to find the best car that would fit my lifestyle. When I would find some that I liked, I would go see them in person and see how I felt about them. One day, I went to my local Subaru dealership not expecting to buy anything, when a sales man walked up to me. I expected the same routine and pressure to sign a car as quickly as possible so he can get paid.
Instead, he asked what I am looking for in a car. He wanted to know what my habits were, what was important to me, what I thought I wanted, what I thought I needed. Instead of just trying to fit me to a certain car, he tried to fit the car to me. We talked, we joked around, he acted like an old friend who cared about what I wanted and what was important to me.
I really didn’t expect to buy a car that day, but I knew I wanted him to get my commission. After he explained everything to me, I firmly believed after he explained everything well to me and I felt comfortable with my purchase.
Now, to be fair, his job is the same as everyone else’s; he just has a different approach. It’s something that I like to pride myself on with sales.
Are there times I can be a little pushy? Of course. Are there times where I am an aggressive sales person, absolutely. But I like to think I am never really that pushy car salesperson.
So why do I bring this up? Because I know I personally have to remind myself not to be that pushy salesperson. I need to make sure I am listening to the customer and their needs and not trying to just get another sale. It’s something that I think all sales people, in and out of the pet industry, need to remember
I have to talk to my own sales staff and make sure they are not being that pushy car salesperson; it’s something that retailers have to do on a constant basis. It’s just one more thing to add to the list of things you have to do.
Being at Global is amazing for a salesperson. There are so many possible and current clients to talk to, all under one roof. It’s a great time to remember to take your time with each person, to find out what each person wants and needs. I always like to think of Global as a time to remind ourselves — and our staff — to not be that pushy salesperson, to not just go for the sale, but to provide customer service to the best of our abilities.
If I were to leave you with any advice, and the same advice I give my own sales people: In the end, selling is all about being empathetic toward the customer.]]>
In recent years, Tiger Woods has been synonymous with Nike, William Shatner with Priceline and Michael Jordan with Gatorade.
For more than 50 years, celebrities and personalities have endorsed different products. Why has it lasted for so long? Because it works, and it’s something that as celebrities begin entering the pet industry with their own products, pet retailers should take advantage of.
In June 2012, the Journal of Advertising Research produced an article by Anita Elberse, an associate professor of Harvard Business School, and Jeroen Verleun, a Barclays Capital analyst, titled, “The Economic Value of Celebrity Endorsements.” The study was done to see how celebrity endorsements impact sales. One of the conclusions they found: “In general, enlisting the help of celebrity endorsers pays off.”
Now, celebrities don’t always just endorse products, especially not as much in the pet industry. Instead, many of them have started their own pet companies, or worked with established manufacturers in the business to create signature lines, because of their love for pets.
A perfect example of this would be Kristy Hinze-Clark, the creator/creative director for Legitimutt, who is also an Australian model, actress and television host. She has also appeared in Sports Illustrated as well as the Victoria’s Secret catalogue.
“I started Legitimutt because of my love for my dogs,” Hinze-Clark said. “I had always wanted to have a company based around pets and their care. I noticed that there was a gap in the market for high-quality, USA-made pet goods, and when I was brainstorming names one afternoon and came up with Legitimutt, my husband said that I had to go with it. Hence, Legitimutt was born.”
Celebrities and Their Products
Hinze-Clark said one of the biggest questions she gets asked is, “Why do a pet line?”
“Most models that come from my field go into lingerie or swimwear or clothing,” Hinze-Clark said. “Well, it was something different and fun. After being in the fashion industry for over 20 years, I wanted to do something that had a sense of humor while still utilizing my many years of experience.”
Halo, Purely for Pets is co-owned by Ellen DeGeneres, who believes that, “If you’re going to have pets you should treat them like you’d treat yourself. I don’t mean you should treat them to new shoes or a fancy car—I am talking about the basics; a nice bed, fun toys and good food.”
DeGeneres founded the company while finding the perfect food for her dog.
“A few years ago I was looking for some pet food for one of my dogs who was allergic to everything, honestly, even his own fur,” DeGeneres said. “I tried everything, our vet tried everything and finally I found a little company that had the perfect food for him. It’s called Halo, Purely for Pets.
“So, because I think Halo is incredible, I decided to become part owner in hopes that all animals have the chance to be the healthiest they can be. And I’m anxious to spread the word so that everybody knows about Halo.”
Rocky Keever is the president and founder of DOG for DOG, a store with a simple mission statement: “For every item sold we will donate one to a dog in need.”
“It started because my team and I were hosting rescue groups at my stores, The Dog Bakery, and we couldn’t seem to help enough dogs,” Keever said. “So one day, I decided that the only way to truly make an impact was to involve everyone. I truly believe people are giving by nature and just need a convenient way to do so. Thus, DOG for DOG was born.
“My business partner, Scott Ragan, and myself have partnered with some pretty amazing people. Michael Buble and his wife, Luisana Lopilato, Chelsea Handler and Snoop Dogg are all investors for the DOG for DOG movement. It is pretty exciting helping dogs in need with the team that we have.”
In the Beginning
Before the article, “The Economic Value of Celebrity Endorsements,” was printed, most advertisers and marketers said celebrity endorsements pay off.
Where did these ideas come from?Originally, a mathematical manuscript was written by mathematician Manfred Kochen and political scientist Ithiel de Sola Pool called, “Contacts and Influences.” It was published in 1978 and formally articulated the mechanics of social networks. The manuscript didn’t answer all questions, as there were some about the degree of connectedness, and there were still questions about networks, which included the number of degrees of separation in actual social networks.
Stanley Milgram, a Ph.D. graduate from Harvard, who later taught at Harvard and Yale, would go on to produce the famous Milgram experiments. In 1967, Milgram lead experiments called the “The Small World Problem” in the magazine, Psychology Today. It is more popularly known today as the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory or the “Kevin Bacon game.”
In 2000, Malcolm Gladwell came out with a book called, “The Tipping Point,” which seeks to explain how ideas, products, messages and behaviors spread in culture. In the book, he covers “The Law of the Few,” which cites Milgram’s experiments in the small world problem, but it discusses that there is a small but compelling group of individuals who are influential. This group consists of several groups of people, including celebrities.
Since celebrities are influential people, Keever said one of the important aspects to their celebrity partners is that none of them are tasked with selling products.
“They are all tasked with helping spread the word on how we can all help dogs in need,” Keever said. “Some people may say in the end that is the same thing. To us, it is a major difference because focusing on our movement helps let passion and heart lead the way.”
Working With Retailers
David Yaskulka, vice president, marketing communications for Halo, Purely for Pets, said that while brands such as American Express, Lifewater, Cover Girl and others might pay Ellen millions to be associated with their products, Halo is actually co-owned by Ellen.
“She’s a believer, not a paid spokesperson,” Yaskulka said. “And it shows in the power of her messaging. Ellen says, ‘I love my pets so much that I’ll only give them Halo.’ Ellen never says such deeply personal endorsements of other brands, because the nature of this relationship is from the heart.”
Yaskulka continued to say that there is no more passionate, credible and visible animal-rescue advocate than Ellen.
“She would never recommend anything less than exemplary for pets,” Yaskulka said. “That’s why she’s such a powerful part of the Halo, Purely for Pets, brand. She believes in the highest quality natural nutrition and she believes in helping animals. That’s the Halo brand in a nutshell.”
In February, Hinze-Clark hosted a trunk show and pet adoption event in “The Dog Bar,” which is Miami’s leading pet store and also one of their prime locations for Legitimutt.
“We are looking forward to introducing new and exciting additions to the Legitimutt line this year,” Hinze-Clark said. “The pet industry is stronger than ever and we are happy to be a part of such an exciting and growing industry.”
Keever said that one of the reasons we love celebrities is because we relate, are inspired, or see a bit of ourselves in what they do.
“Sharing that story and connection with customers when talking about a brand helps the customer to make the purchase because now they are a part of the brand,” Keever said. “In my opinion, our celebrities are able to help validate our movement to help dogs in need by simply being involved.”
The advice Keever gives to retailers is to talk about the movement first, helping dogs in need and how we couldn’t do it without them.
“They [the retailer] are the difference because with every item they sell, one is donated to help a dog in need,” Keever said. “It is the reason for being and what we stand for. The great part about that is then you can talk about the exciting people involved in the movement. And last, but not least, how all of our products are made in the USA, all-natural and high quality.”
Celebrities are not the only option for selling products. Licensing products are always another option and something that customers look for.
“As a brand, Eddie Bauer has a long history with dogs, as his legacy includes breeding the first black Labrador in America,” Jack Savdie, the vice president of sales for Age Group Ltd., said. “In addition, all Eddie Bauer products are made to withstand the rigors of outdoor use, including various temperatures and terrain. Hence, these products are well-suited for the active pet and owner. What we love most about the brand is we can design an active outdoor collection, as well as a heritage, home-friendly collection.”
Age Group Ltd. also sells Hello Kitty merchandise, which is one of the most popular characters in the world.
“She is recognized by both sexes of all age ranges, kids to adults,” Savdie said. “Hello Kitty has a tremendous and loyal following. Females make up about 75 percent of all shoppers, making this one of the best female brands across all retail channels in almost every category and department.”
Savdie suggests to retailers that if they wanted to promote brands like Eddie Bauer and Hello Kitty, they should use signage, social media, flyers, brochures and their website.
“It takes about 30 seconds to get a customer’s email address,” Savdie said. “Establish a mailing address and send out an email once a week promoting a certain item, sale dates, whatever it is. What’s great about purchasing the Hello Kitty brand is Age Group will give back a certain percentage to the retailer in order to cover advertising fees.”
Just like celebrities, these brands have a history of performing well, which will help them fly off the shelves.
“Hello Kitty merchandise can be found in almost every independent or mom and pop retailer across the U.S.,” Savdie said. “After doing many studies, we found that any brand that performs well in a certain retail channel would most likely perform the same way in another.
“Almost everyone that owns something that bares the Eddie Bauer logo can attest that its functionality, long-lasting quality is the best out there. Eddie Bauer also has a loyal following and as sport, outdoor and functional brands are on the rise, so too we believe that the Eddie Bauer brand is going to perform in all retail channels; we know it already is and we are very excited for 2014.”
Wayde King and Brett Raymer have been in the aquarium business for 18 years. Recently, their TV show “Tanked” has had their product, Blue Shark Products, sales go through the roof.
“Wayde and I used to have an office and people used to come in our office all the time and say, ‘You guys are great, you guys should be on television,’ and we made a great product so we decided to film our own version of a pilot,” Raymer, COO of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing, said. “Then we shopped it around for a while. [It] took about 3 years to get it off the ground. Finally we got it off the ground and here we are 5 years later.”
Before it was Blue Shark Products, the product was originally called, Naturbac.
“These guys had products that were mom and pop products that we used that we thought were great products,” Raymer said. “It had a hard time getting national exposure. So I spoke to Bobby and Christian and told them about the show and, once the show takes off, we would love to endorse these products and get our name onto something because they are great products, we could get some national exposure and hopefully come up with a great chemical line.”
Blue Shark Products is now a well-known brand, especially internationally, and as the show continues to gain popularity, more people will want to purchase the products.
“There is no better advertising than television,” Raymer said. “This year, we are going to feature the product on the show a great deal. Our business from being on the show has jumped tremendously. So I can imagine all these retail stores that bring in our products, how much business they are going to gain from the popularity of the show as well.”
Kathy Ireland and Worldwise
Worldwise has been making pet products for 20 years. Recently, they have partnered with Kathy Ireland because they share similar values in terms of viewing pets as part of the family, and wanting to provide both the pet and the pet owner with products that meet their needs.
Under the partnership, Kathy Ireland, CEO and chief designer for kiWW, will develop a line of solution-based home-decor friendly pet products with the Worldwise team and market the collection under the brand kathy ireland Loved Ones.
“Kathy brings the understanding of what it means to be a busy parent to both the two-footed and four-footed child,” Kurt Avar, senior director, creative services and marketing for Worldwise, said. “We knew we would have a winning combination if we could join Kathy’s knowledge and savvy design sensibility with Worldwise innovation capabilities and industry expertise to create a solution-based, home-décor friendly product line.”
To help boost sales of Worldwise and Kathy Ireland products, Avar said they needed to understand the specific needs that a pet has in order to be happy and healthy.
“Worldwise is built on a foundation of the ‘needs system,’ with product designed to meet specific pet needs from emotional to physical,” Avar said. “By helping to educate your staff and customers about the importance of meeting these needs everyone will be prosperous.”
Pet Age sat down with Andrew Darmohraj, executive vice president and COO of APPA, to learn more about the organization and its sponsorship of the Global Pet Expo.
Pet Age: APPA has been a fixture of the pet industry since 1958. Can you tell us what the original goals of APPA were at that time and how they have changed over the years?
Darmohraj: The American Pet Products Association was established to provide its then 16-member companies with services that would help their businesses prosper. Today, APPA consists of more than 1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers, representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises worldwide. We provide a wide spectrum of benefits and programs designed to serve our members’ unique needs. This also includes producing the largest annual pet products trade show in the industry, Global Pet Expo.
APPA’s comprehensive market research, the National Pet Owners Survey, which debuted in 1988, has positioned the organization as the premier resource for comprehensive consumer data for manufacturers, retailers, investment professionals and media outlets worldwide.
In addition to providing programs to our membership, APPA’s mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet products industry as a whole. It also strives to be a leading voice within the industry through coalition building and legislative advocacy.
Pet Age: Can you tell us how Global Pet Expo has changed over the years?
Darmohraj: Since Global Pet Expo debuted in 2005, the show has experienced unprecedented growth with each passing year. Compared to its premier year, the show has grown 65 percent and is considered one of the top 100 trade shows in the nation, according to Trade Show Executive magazine. Last year, buyer attendance was at all-time high with more than 5,300 buyers, 27 percent of which represented 71 countries from around the world.
Over the past 10 years, we have added specialty sections on the show floor in response to growing trends within the industry, allowing attendees to more easily navigate the massive show while networking with exhibitors in more niche markets.
The international presence, whether it’s attendees or the growing number of international exhibitors, has solidified Global Pet Expo as a key trading opportunity for companies worldwide. Additionally, the press exposure has grown extensively with coverage from the trade magazines and bloggers, as well as major media outlets like the TODAY show, Good Morning America and USA Today.
More recently, Global Pet Expo has taken the opportunity to honor its exhibitors, buyers and media attendees with awards such as the “Best In Show” New Products Showcase, Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award and the latest, Retailer Excellence Awards.
Pet Age: Tell us what APPA’s role is within the context of the Global Pet Expo.
Darmohraj: With the premiere of Global Pet Expo in 2005, APPA joined forces with the Pet Industry Distributors Association to establish the largest annual pet products tradeshow in the industry. APPA is responsible for managing Global Pet Expo’s preshow and on-site operations, from booth sales and attendee registration, to media relations and promotional opportunities for its exhibitors.
Pet Age: How have you seen the pet industry change since 1958?
Darmohraj: Most notably, the pet industry has grown to be a $55 billion industry as projected for actual 2013 spending by APPA. The pet marketplace has consistently attracted a stream of entrepreneurs and investors introducing new, innovative products and services that have fueled tremendous growth in the past five decades.
Pet services such as grooming, boarding and day care have boomed in response to pet owners’ desires for convenience as well as opportunities to pamper their pets. Advances in health care treatments, and increased spending on veterinary care, supplies and OTC medications, demonstrate a greater effort to provide longer, healthier lives for pets on both the industry’s and pet owners’ parts.
And, the overall and consistent rise in pet ownership has certainly been at the heart of many of the trends and opportunities that have emerged within the industry, as the human-animal bond remains strong, encouraging continued growth.
Pet Age: How has the focus of APPA changed over the years?
Darmohraj: Over the course of more than five decades, APPA has taken a leading role in coalition building, legislative monitoring and advocacy, and continues to broaden its reach and impact within the industry as well as reaching consumers. In 2007, it established the Pets Add Life campaign, designed with the sole goal of increasing awareness of the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership and encouraging pet adoption. More recently, APPA has played a pivotal role in the formation of Human-Animal Bond Research Initiative, and the Pet Leadership Council.
Pet Age: Make a prediction for 2014. What do you think the next big trend will be?
Darmohraj: The next big trend is actually a continuation of an existing trend in that the humanization of pets will further drive what is popular to the pet product consumer. High-end products and services that mirror human consumers will thrive as pet owners seek the same high-quality food and care they have themselves. This will result in growth of natural and high-end foods, superior supplements and supplies, and products that improve pets’ health and enhance the bonding and interactive experience.
Pet Age: What types of challenges do you think retailers and manufacturers will be facing in the next few years?
Darmohraj: The continued acquisitions by large companies and the consolidation of vendors providing products to the mass pet chains will prove more challenging for small and midsize manufacturers to sell through those channels. That said, the recovering economy provides opportunity for those companies in pet specialty as independent stores make a comeback and consumers are less concerned about price.
- Stacy Mantle]]>