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August 3, 2015

Innovation Doesn’t Sleep

Innovation in this category is important, as long as it meets consumers’ needs.

“Many of Ruffwear’s products are designed with feedback and direction from our customers,” said Susan Strible, director of marketing at Ruffwear. “We like to let our customers help shape the direction of our product line, based on their needs. We thoroughly test all of our gear and make continuous improvements based on this feedback and testing.”

Ruffwear launched the Urban Sprawl bed, which has features that make it a standout, Strible said.
“First, the entire system (mattress and cover) are machine washable. The two-sided mattress features a soft, cozy sleeping surface which is nice for older dogs and a firm surface which is better for puppies. The non-slip, waterproof bottom and handle are great for travel. Whether you’re using the bed in your home, the back of the car or campsite, it’s easy to move, versatile and durable,” she said.

Ruffwear is prepared to launch a new backcountry sleep system this summer, among other products, Strible described.

“The Highlands Sleeping Bag is a soft, durable bag that provides warmth and comfort while easily fitting inside our Palisades Pack. The new Landing Pad packable sleeping pad integrates into the bottom of the Highlands Sleeping Bag as well as the updated Highlands Bed to make a great camping sleep system,” she said.

Resting on Value

At BuddyRest Pet Products, executive director Trevor Crotts said that their focus is on value.

“A lot of people when they first think of the word value, they think of low price. Value means different things to different people. Our philosophy on value is providing high-quality solutions to the myriad common problems that pet parents face every day,” he said. “That is how we build the value of our products. Our beds stay clean and never smell. Our beds are a one-time purchase guaranteed to last ten plus years. Most importantly, our beds are vet recommended and proven to promote better health and relieve pain. Although our products do not always win on price, they always win on value.”

Crotts said that BuddyRest partnered with Dormeo Octaspring to create innovative dog bedding.

Crotts said that people often complain about memory foam being too hot and uncomfortable, and that dogs experience the same discomfort.

“Dogs who get hot on their beds will migrate to a tile floor, which can have long-term detrimental effects on their joint health,” he said. “Also, dogs who have joint problems and arthritis can sometimes have a difficult time getting in and out of typical memory foam beds. The Dormeo Octaspring beds by BuddyRest solve both of these issues by providing supreme ventilation to ensure there is no heat retention. In addition, the Octaspring provides a little bit of conventional push back support that really helps senior dogs get out of the beds. It is almost as though there is a lift assist technology built into every bed.”

Waking up Sales

In store, Strible said, “Ruffwear’s 20-year history of creating high-quality products for dogs and their human companions ensures retailers and customers that they can purchase our gear with confidence that it will stand the test of time. We put a lot of emphasis on design, fit, quality and function to build lasting products. And, we’re a company full of dog
lovers.”

For merchandizing, Crotts suggested a fresh approach.

“Our products should be presented much like premium dog food,” he said. “Why do people spend so much money on high-quality food for their dogs? The answer is it’s better for their dog’s health. That is the same reason you buy a BuddyRest. The most important thing retailers need to know about our brand is that we use real science to help pets. All of our beds are pressure mapped and vet recommended to promote better health in all dogs. We build only high-quality products that really help pets, and we proudly make them in the USA.”

As both brands indicated, this category has a wide range of customer types. It’s a divided customer base: Some are willing to spend more for beds that meet specific needs—like orthopedic support for an aging pet or for durability—while others are shopping solely from a low-price perspective. Offer a range
of innovations, quality and price points to appeal to the diversity of this
market.

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