We recently sat down Kevin Fick, CEO of Worldwise, to talk about the company’s new offerings and its focus on eco-friendly products.
Q: Worldwise has been a big player in the pet industry for many years. Can you tell us a little about how they started out?
Fick: Worldwise was founded in 1990 with the goal of making environmentally responsible products that are smart, attractive, innovative, affordable and accessible to everyone. We began developing products for a variety of industries, such as lawn and garden, where we produced Surface Savers for plants made from recycled plastic.
About 20 years ago, we entered into the pet industry. Pets have a variety of needs, that when fulfilled, help them lead the happiest and healthiest lives. We also discovered that there is just as strong of a need to meet the needs of a pet parent, and if we can do so through innovation and making the products environmentally friendly, then we feel like we have succeeded.
Q: Worldwise is very focused on sustainability and eco-friendly products. Tell us about this part of your business and why you moved in this direction.
Fick: The pet industry was growing at a rapid rate, however, there was an opportunity to not only make great products, but to do so while considering the impact on the environment. Over the years, Worldwise has carved out a leadership position with eco-friendly and sustainable products within the industry.
We began by creating products such as our organic catnip and our corrugated scratch block made from recycled cardboard. We were at the forefront of bringing memory foam beds made from reclaimed materials to the pet bedding market. Every product also meets or exceeds all applicable safety standards and has a guarantee of 100 percent consumer satisfaction prominently positioned on the front of our updated branding that will begin to hit the market mid-2014.
Q: What is a typical day for you?
Fick: The best aspect of being part of the WW team is that we are a smaller tight-knit group, not a multilayered organization with a lot of red tape. This affords me the opportunity to interact with most members of the team on a daily basis and I enjoy that. The team is comprised of professionals that are very good at what they do. They have a perspective and a voice, which ultimately leads to a highly creative environment that allows us to drive our brands and innovation to the market at an accelerated pace.
Q: What are your product and brand goals for 2014?
Fick: Our goals for 2014 are very bold. Twenty months ago, we developed our strategic plan for the future, with a target date of the 2014 Global Pet Expo as our launch pad for all of our new innovation, with [more than] 400 new products being unveiled. In addition, we will debut the newly updated Petlinks and SmartyKat brands, launch the new brand of TrustyPup, as well as the worldwide launch of the comprehensive Kathy Ireland “Loved Ones” Collection. This has been a herculean effort across the entire organization and we are excited to share it with our business partners.
Q: What is the vision for Worldwise going forward?
Fick: Our vision for the future is to be the market leader in our chosen market segments via best-in-class consumer insights, innovation, and clear and distinct branding. Our revenue and profit targets will be achieved via a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. We have very high expectations as you can see.
Q: What advice can you offer to those hoping to enter the pet industry?
Fick: Have a vision, build meaningful brands via innovation, and execute flawlessly.