Petology Founder Rick Ferritto came to the business from health and beauty care, working with companies like L’Oreal and Revlon. He applied that background, along with Dr. David Jarvis, the executive director of technology, to create a line of pet shampoos and conditioners.
“This is an interesting time,” he said. “Dr. Jarvis and I collaborated on pet shampoo. We had some technology that was brought to our attention from an efficacy point. It forced us to put our eyes on an industry we didn’t know a lot about – we’re personal care guys.”
But, he noticed gaps in the pet grooming industry.
“We didn’t seem to find any product that was driving functional benefits to the dog’s skin or coat,” Ferritto said. “We had the opportunity to fill a void that was remarkably empty – an opportunity to deliver a healthy alternative for pets.”
Petology’s focus is on unique ingredients.
“Petology is the science of pets – it’s simple and expresses what the company does, but the big difference between existing pet care products and the ones produced by Petology is simply technology,” said Jarvis. “When you look at existing pet care products on the market, 80 percent is marketing. What’s inside the package is basically 1960s technology. When you look at our products, you see 2014 technology, and you see technology that is geared toward the pets and the groomers.”
Petology’s offerings include their Professional Line, Oatmeal & Honey Line, and Sensitive Line.
The Quest for Natural
In addition to advanced technology, natural ingredients drive a large, growing part of the segment.
Brands like Organic Oscar, Reliq and earthbath all have natural or organic offerings that appeal to health-conscious consumers. Some brands like Reliq are combining technology with naturally-derived ingredients, with their nano-enhanced volcanic minerals. Further, two-in-one products, like Organic Oscar’s 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner, appeal to customers who don’t want to use a two-step system with a separate shampoo and conditioner, but who still want the benefits of organic ingredients.
Tropiclean’s ingredients are all naturally sourced in the United States.
One way to leverage that consumer affinity is by stocking brands that customers already recognize.
Large, powerhouse brands like Wahl succeed in this way, as do health-and-beauty-aid favorites like Burt’s Bees. However, smaller boutique brands deliver custom solutions.
For example, Isle of Dogs allows customers to create a customized grooming system for their dog, based on breed, habits and coat type. To make the sale, focus on educating the customer on the benefits of a particular line of shampoos and conditioners.
In the grooming salon, specialized products can create customer loyalty.
For instance, Marla Magel-Suglia, a groomer at Woof Gang’s Orlando location, explained they like to use Envirogroom, a product they discovered last year at SuperZoo.
“Again this is soap-free and free of any harsh chemical products,” she said. “We preach about feeding our pets things that are grain and oat free, so we strive to use products that are also equally as healthy for dogs. A big thing about why we love Envirogroom, though, is the incredible smell. We have clients come in specifically looking to have their dog smell that way, so we only use it on the grooming side and we don’t sell it so they only get that Woof Gang smell by visiting our groomers.”
“We do sell Tropiclean and Epi-Pet which some of our groomers will use,” Magel-Suglia said. “Epi-Pet … was developed by a vet and great for dogs with all sorts of skin conditions. We highly recommend that one and use it when we can. We also use Tropiclean and again encourage dog owners to use it for its many benefits. Since it’s our most popular selling product, they seem to listen to our advice.”
Because customers are starting to look for the same quality in grooming as they buy in personal care, it’s important to stock an array. However, as Ferritto pointed out, price is still a critical component.
Choose a mix of big-name brands and mix in high-end specialty products, which include a selection of all-natural ingredients, to cover your customers’ bases.