Pet Age recently spoke with Paul Armstrong, president and co-founder of earthbath, which manufactures an all-natural line of pet grooming products.
Q Can you tell me about the origin of earthbath?
A Several like-minded friends in San Francisco created three shampoos and a conditioner in the late 1980s. I had invented an item applicable to the pet industry and went to talk with one of the principals, who is still a friend of mine. He told me the pet industry is great, but they would be shuttering the shampoo company. I bought what remained and told myself I’d give it a year and see what happened.
From day one in 1995, I have dedicated my career to listening to pet retailers, groomers, veterinarians and pet parents to learn what they and their pets really need. In 2016, we’ve been celebrating our 21st year in business, and we now sell 73 SKUs in over 30 countries.
Q Your slogan is “totally natural pet care.” How does earthbath embody that mission?
A We relentlessly pursue product quality in order to offer grooming solutions that are genuinely “natural” and “green.” Our strategy is KISS (keep it simple, silly), which unwaveringly demands the concepts of “less is best” and “simplicity is elegance.” All earthbath products are absent of coloration, SLS/SLES, parabens, phthalates and gluten, and our fragrances source from essential oils, extracts and essences. Furthermore, we continually challenge our consulting chemist and our master blender to improve upon their best work as new ingredient innovations become available.
Q Your products are cruelty free and ecologically responsible. Why is that important to you, and can you tell me more about the company’s efforts to be eco-friendly?
A When I bought the company, I took humor in the marketing statement that earthbath was “not tested on animals,” and my marketing director helped me understand that cruelty free is what our statement should be. The health and well-being of animals is at the core of our existence as a company and, speaking for my team and myself, we believe that harm to any animal is not only to be avoided but also stopped. Being green since green was just a color, eco-friendliness has been a core concept of our business and we’ve grown up refining what it means to us. At the highest level, we seek to provide green grooming solutions to pet parents and this comes in the form of blending with green ingredients. We are a founding member of the Pet Industry Sustainability Coalition and have sought their assistance to improve our sustainable practices.
Q Your company has a variety of waterless shampoos and specialty wipes. What kind of response are they receiving?
A The waterless foams are solid sellers, as they offer a convenient way for pet parents to bathe their pets without the hassles of the bath tub, plus this methodology requires far less time: think convenient, effective bathing in a jiffy. The specialty wipes are staples of the line, as many breeds can benefit from clean up around the eyes and clean out of goopy ears. Our grooming wipes are incredibly popular, as they offer a quick touch-up after walks, before getting back into the car or house, or when Fido decides to roll in the unknown and potentially unspeakable.
Q Your website mentions a Pet Wash Program for stores. What can you tell me about the program?
A Self-service pet washes have gained in popularity over the years, and we offer an incentive rebate program to participants who use our products within simple and reasonable terms. We provide delivery apparatuses for the shampoo to be diluted and used by customers, aprons and signage. At the end of the year, we rebate participants based on shampoo purchases. It is a convenient, one-stop solution to getting set up to run self-serve grooming and has great financial benefits to the shop using it.
Q What’s next for earthbath?
A We’re deep into product development, working on sustainability initiatives and putting in place the infrastructure we need to continue to thrive. All in a day’s work, of course.