Q What inspired you to join Planet Dog in 2013?
A I was at a point in my career where I was looking for a new opportunity. I had met the founder of Planet Dog, Alex Fisher, many years back and had admired the brand he created in Planet Dog beginning in 1997. At the time, the company was looking for a strong leader with a proven track record of success leading another business to lead Planet Dog. It was important to the company at the time to also have a president and CEO that could partner with Alex to help make his vision and strategy come to life.
Q How would you describe the evolution of the Planet Dog product line since the company’s inception in 1997?
A Alex was inspired by brands that made great products, were good to the environment, and gave back to their local communities. He wanted to create a similar brand in the pet industry. Twenty-one years later, we have learned a great deal about our core competencies around product. In the beginning, the company launched products in many categories including toys, leashes and collars, travel and beds, as well as some human products. Last year, as we celebrated our 20th anniversary, we made a business decision to focus on our core by making the most durable and eco-friendly dog toys made 100 percent in the USA.
Q What are the three pillars that constitute the Planet Dog brand?
A Made in the USA: All of our toys are made with pride in America—one toy at a time. We strongly believe that safety and transparency is vital when it comes to products that go into a dog’s mouth, be it food or toys.
Eco-Friendly: We were founded with the mission of making the most durable, eco-friendly dog products on the market, and I am happy to say that our mission is the same today.
Philanthropy: The Planet Dog Foundation, created in 2006 as our philanthropic arm, is dedicated to supporting all “working” dogs that enhance and save human lives. We do this by supporting innovative, respected, non-profit organizations that work tirelessly to raise, train and place service dogs with people in need. To date, we have donated over $1.7 million to over 100 organizations across the country.
Q Over the last five years, where has Planet Dog’s growth come from?
A Planet Dog’s growth over the last five years has come primarily from new product launches, stronger partnerships and expansion of relationships with independent retailers and our custom business.
On the product side, with a passion for innovation, Planet Dog has focused much of its new product development efforts in the interactive category. As pet parents are looking to solve the increased problems of boredom and lack of activity, Planet Dog has been working to develop unique and exciting products to help with this need.
In addition to product launches, we continue to add new independent retailers to our company. Developing strong relationships with our retailers is key to our growth as well as the success of the retail establishment.
Finally, we have done a great deal of custom product projects over the last five years. We are unique in the industry in that we are able to offer modifications and customizations to our products fairly easily. We have partnered with vet pharmaceutical companies and pet food manufacturers on co-branding projects to expand our brand presence in both the vet and pet spaces.
Q What can you tell us about Blue, an abused pit bull puppy that is benefiting from one of your products?
A In 2015, Blue was found wandering the woods in rural Maine with his snout wrapped tightly in duct tape. The tape on his snout was so tight, and had been on him for so long, that poor Blue had to undergo multiple operations to fix the horrific wounds that the pressure of the tape created to his snout. It was at this time that Planet Dog became involved with Blue. After calling the veterinarian that was treating Blue to find out how we could help with Blue’s recovery, Planet Dog supplied Blue with a basket of Planet Dog products as well as a gift certificate to our Planet Dog store in order for him to get everything he needed for his new life. Blue is a huge fan of all Planet Dog products, but in particular, Blue LOVES our Planet Dog Snoop, especially when he is recovering from one of the many surgeries he has had to undergo.