September 6, 2017

Pet Age met up with Patrick Caprez, president of Barking Buddha, to find out what makes his line of treats so unique.

Q What was your goal in creating Barking Buddha?
A My wife and I wanted to create a line of treats that was fun and made people smile. We already had a lot of success with Natural Cravings, an all-natural USA-sourced and -made brand, but we knew we needed to reach the dog owners that also look for value and without compromising the health of their pets. That is how we decided to go with South American products. A smart price point, high quality, grass fed and free range made this the perfect fit for our brand.

Q What was your biggest challenge in achieving it?
A The biggest challenge was bringing together health and fun in one brand name. It was about balance, and what better than a happy meditating dog to achieve that message? We bounced some names around for a while thinking about our own pets but the “eureka” moment came when we thought of the name Barking Buddha—that’s when we knew we had it. “Barking Buddha, your dog’s diet in balance.”

Q What was your plan in the marketing of Barking Buddha?
A Healthy, yes. Tasty, for sure. Then fun, fun and more fun! We want really happy customers that know that when they buy Barking Buddha the only thing they will need to do is think about how much their dogs love it. We knew from the beginning that if we paired the upbeat brand culture with the yummy treats our own dogs flipped over then Barking Buddha would be a hit.

Q Your product line contains 15 SKUs. Which products have been most popular with retailers?
A Well, our Beef Cheek Slices and Braided Bully Sticks really have stood out as the fan favorites and have become very popular. We try to keep our line simple and without a lot of fluff, and I honestly believe that has added to our success. Everything we offer, from the simple packaging to the single ingredient treats, brings a consistent message and this has helped build the trust with our retail partners, just like it has with Natural Cravings.

Q Has the response for any products exceeded your expectations?
A The answer is yes. Overall, and out of the gate, Barking Buddha has done really well, but we still have a lot of work to do. As we go along we find gaps in the market that we want to fill. We are always developing new products, of course keeping in mind to stay within lines when it comes to the brand message. We truly are a family business and we get our kids involved all the time—they come up with ideas for treats and names. Dinner time is always fun when we are bouncing ideas and working on something new!

Q What do you have in the works for the end of 2017 and beyond?
A Like I mentioned before, we are always working on something new. As the market changes, we want to change right along with it. We are in the process right now to add a couple of new products under the Barking Buddha brand. We are already looking into developing a few fun treats and new chews using fish based Omega-3s. It will definitely be fun launching them once they are ready.

Q Why do you prefer to work with small and mid-size regional distributors?
A The answer is very simple: The smaller distributors take a little more time to get to know us, show the products and share our philosophy with our retail partners. We want our customers to know us personally or at least connect with our brand message. As cheesy as it sounds, we want our partners to really become part of our family. We know that once the store knows that we stand behind our products, just like Natural Cravings, they will transfer that message to their customers building that trust and our relationship with them will be a solid one.

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