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Retailer Requests: Pet Store Owners Discuss Their Keys to Success in the Booming Pet Market

By Ashley Carestia//May 6, 2024//

Retailer Requests: Pet Store Owners Discuss Their Keys to Success in the Booming Pet Market

By: Ashley Carestia//May 6, 2024//

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The fast-paced landscape of the pet industry is constantly changing in terms of trends, new products and new innovations. The pet industry is bigger than ever. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), pet parents spent $147 billion on their fur babies in 2023, an increase of 16 percent from $260 billion in 2022. For context, the total U.S. beauty and personal care market is expected to reach $100 billion in 2024, according to Statista.

With the demand for more pet-friendly options, the trend is only going to continue to grow. Pet retailers are looking to the industry for insight. Not only in pet boutiques and pet specialty stores, but it’s for any retail store, hotel, general clothing boutiques, and spas who also are looking to add luxury dog products and services to their existing catalog of items.

“I would like to see more of wellness/holistic practices from the pet industry,” said Kelly Gasspari-Fleming, director of Spa & Wellness at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago. “When we consider our guests’ needs during travel, viewing the pet industry through a wellness lens becomes paramount. Many of our visitors either bring their beloved furry companions along or leave them behind while they explore. For most, having a tangible keepsake from their time with us is essential. That’s why we’ve introduced pet amenities to our retail space — a thoughtful addition that allows pet owners to reconnect with their four-legged friends, especially during potentially stressful travel moments.”

The benefits of animal companionship are no secret to many in the hotel industry.

“Moreover, the surge in shelter adoptions during the COVID era has made pets an integral part of urban life. Our guests and residents alike embrace this lifestyle, and it’s our responsibility to anticipate their needs even before they do. By prioritizing wellness and fostering connections between humans and their pets, we create a more enriching experience for everyone,” said Gasspari-Fleming.

Wellness seems to be a topic of growing interest among retailers. Brooke Sommer of Sommer Dog Salon has a similar request.

“We have begun researching natural pet health products and have found information in this area contradictory,” Sommer said. “Articles about supplements, oils, and CBD from a reliable source would be extremely helpful for retailers to feel confident in which product/brands to provide to their customers.”

Quality resources and fact-based information that pertain to specific markets in the pet industry are beneficial for every retailer new or established.

“When we first began our journey in starting a grooming salon and pet boutique, we were not knowledgeable in obtaining quality informational sources for the pet retail industry and we have had to grow by trial and error. Having access to information available which pertained to our specific market would have been beneficial to our business” says Sommer.

An important aspect of the pet health and wellness category is the need for adequate sizing. Specifically, for larger dogs and breeds with irregular sizing. The accurate measuring of the girth, chest and the length of the back (from the base of the neck to the base of the tail) have always been the golden rule in accurate sizing. But what about those breeds who are not one-size-fits-all companions?

“People want more brands to do clothing for larger dogs. Especially, corgis and English bulldogs that are very hard to fit,” explained Jodalee Tevault of Pixie Sticks Dog Boutique.

Perhaps an update in sizing and size charts from our industry is in order, as the clarity and accuracy will ensure the best fit possible for all breeds.

“I think what I would like to see most out of the pet industry is the sizing of pet apparel,” said Brooke Sommer of Sommer Dog Salon. “I know that this will be hard to change, but we have a lot of requests for large breed clothes. However, when ordering, it’s hard to find.”

Regardless of the type of retail store, consumers share one wish: to include their pets in their full lives. Any retailer that supports this wish will benefit. Even beauty chains can add pet shampoos and skin-care products near the lipstick. With 87 billion pet-owning households, it’s likely a good share of those lipstick buyers has a fur baby at home.

Fun fact: How much do Americans spend on non-human family members? Put it this way: If everyone put lipstick on their pet pigs, they might spend as much on beauty products as they do on their pets.


A successful fashion model for 25 years, Ashley Carestia also is founder/CEO of Bark Fifth Avenue, a luxury retail boutique and brand. She has earned the respect of her colleagues through arduous work and dedication, being awarded the Small Business of the Year Award by the Atlanta Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Women of Influence award from Pet Age and Entrepreneur of the Year by Women in The Pet Industry.