Glenn Polyn//November 1, 2023//
Glenn Polyn //November 1, 2023//
Life-long dog lovers Pete Stirling and Macon Brock wanted to create natural, safe and eco-friendly products to improve the lives of pets. Skout’s Honor uses plant- and mineral-based ingredients to create goods that are proudly cruelty-free. In addition, through the brand’s Paw Pledge, every purchase provides one day’s worth of meals for a rescue animal.
Pet Age recently spoke with Stirling to learn more about the brand, its mission and its path to success.
How has Skout’s Honor evolved since it was founded in 2015?
Organically. We came to market in 2016 with an innovative approach to the Stain & Odor category that really caught on with retailers and consumers alike. We never set out to expand in any particular direction in order to stay flexible, listen and learn from our customers and the consumer, and grow to fit their needs. Skout’s has always been focused on the importance of improving the lives of pets and their people and over the years that focus has driven the brand forward into the grooming, wellness, training aid, flea & tick and now Oral Care categories.
What are your key factors to gaining and building consumer trust?
Quality, reliability, and consistency form the foundation of a trustworthy relationship. The Specialty retailer has a problem to solve. Their role is to curate a selection of best-in-class solutions to the problems pet parents face daily. The product selection at a specialty retailer represents their promise to help a customer address the issues that impact their quality of life with a pet, and it is our job to help them come through on that promise. Equally as important is our promise to the consumer to make sure they have the best experience possible when using a Skout’s Honor product and that the experience makes living with their animal more enjoyable. No relationship is without its hurdles, but if we can clear those hurdles a little easier or make the process of caring for companions more enjoyable time and again we will earn and keep their trust.
What motivated you to launch the Skout’s Honor Oral Care line in 2023?
I just wanted to take better care of my dog. When we talk about pet oral care there is a lot of discussion around plaque, but the truth is plaque really isn’t a problem until it starts to harden and form tarter. Although plaque is easy to remove tartar is not. Tarter is much more difficult to remove, can stain the teeth, and serves as a protective layer for the bad bacteria that can cause gum disease, gingivitis and tooth infection if left untreated. There is even convincing evidence that heart disease can result from a lack of good dental hygiene. My biggest complaint about the options available on the market were that they either involved brushing or focused on plaque removal and control. Our products address tartar directly without the need for brushing and are easy to integrate into the caretaker’s daily routine. Mav is a 130-pound lovebug, but we both came to terms on the no-brushing thing long ago, so it is nice to have a functional alternative that we can both enjoy. The fact we made a version that tastes like Peanut Butter and Bacon doesn’t seem to bother him either.
Why focus on topical probiotics for the Skout’s Honor grooming line?
The natural trend had been in full swing for a while before we hit the scene, but what there was a dearth of truly functional products to address itching, redness, irritation, and shedding. More importantly, everything available addressed the symptom and not the underlying cause of the problem, which is typically a messed-up skin biome. As a result, the animal and their caretaker become locked in a seemingly endless cycle of treat-and-repeat, addressing symptoms only to have them pop back up. Topical probiotics are simply the right solution for stopping that cycle and don’t require any additional routine or process. They simply make our products better and the line has been highly successful as a result.
What is something that you hope to see change in the pet industry?
The humanization of pets is seemingly here to stay in a good way, but I still see an ocean of products that wouldn’t meet human standards. It is happening to a certain extent, but I’d like to see an increase in focus on creating products that would be suitable for human use. I often reflect on the fact that although my dog might be one member of the family, I am his everything and it is my duty to reciprocate his love and attention. Taking care of him and making sure he is happy and comfortable is my way of showing that love in a tangible way. That is what Skout’s Honor is to me, a way to make a lasting impact on our collective ability to care for our animals and express affection in a meaningful way.