A Kickstarter Campaign that Revolutionized the Pet Industry - Bow Wow Labs | Ep. #009
On this 9th episode of The E-Comm Show, our host and BlueTuskr CEO, Andrew Maff, is with Michael London and Johnna Devereaux of Bow Wow Labs, a doggie innovation hub that aims to not only provide the best innovation in pet care but as well as educate pet parents on how to better take care and protect their furry friends.
Listen to Michael and Johnna as they share how a choking incident sparked the idea for the bully stick that started it all, plus some tips and tricks for startup success.
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A Kickstarter Campaign that Revolutionized the Pet Industry
Andrew Maff, Johnna Devereaux, & Michael London
About the Guest Speakers
About Johnna Devereaux (Clinical Pet Nutritionist): Johnna Devereaux has been a small business owner for over a decade. Devereaux is the founder of Fetch RI, a holistic pet boutique and supplies retail store. As a Clinical Pet Nutritionist, Devereaux has been invited to speak at veterinary hospitals to speak about the benefits of proper nutrition for dogs and cats. Devereaux has also been a repeat presenter at Potters League University, teaching children and adults the benefits of feeding pets in a species-appropriate way. Devereaux’s writings can be found in Animal Print magazine, Rhode Island’s Family Guide, and the 2019 Health and Wellness Guide for Southern New England. Devereaux has been featured as a Trailblazer in the pet industry by Pets+ Magazine and her store, Fetch RI, has been awarded “Best of Rhode Island” by Editor’s Pick and Reader’s Choice. Fetch RI has also been awarded “Top Dog” by Animal Print magazine. Devereaux has completed a BFA from New York University and the Clinical Pet Nutritionist program from the Academy of Natural Health Sciences.
For more than 40 years, Michael London has invested in and built companies from startup to maturity, to exit. In all cases, these companies have become more than an investment, and London has been the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of his companies. His varied businesses represent different industries and business models, but every one reflected London’s life-long commitment to delivering true value to his customers. Another cornerstone of London’s philosophy of investing in and building businesses is his commitment to attracting the very best investors, senior management/employees, and strategic partners. London is perhaps best known for cofounding The Headquarters Companies (HQ) in 1967. Today HQ is an international executive suites company that has fulfilled Mr. London’s original vision with over 1,000 offices in 700 cities and over 100 countries around the world. In 1983, the company was successfully sold to a Fortune 500 company. Today, it is a billion-dollar + company. London’s other companies included Initials+, a retail/catalog manufacturing company; Carcub.com, an automotive service company that helped consumers buy, finance, insure, maintain and sell their vehicles; and Wall&Main, a privately held company that crowdfunded itself and provided travel reward packages to backers. London has raised more than $400 million in debt and equity for his companies over his career. His investors and financial partners represent some of America’s best-known corporations, venture, and private equity firms. He was also a founding member of the Association of Venture Founders and was selected to be a member of the Tarrytown 100, an annual gathering of the 100 most innovative senior executives in corporate America. London has been a frequent guest lecturer on Entrepreneurship at various universities, most notably for three years at Duke University and the MBA Entrepreneurship Conference at the University of Pennsylvania. London has served on the Board of Directors for industry associations including the International Franchise Association as well as numerous private companies. He received his B.A. in Liberal Arts from the University of Pittsburgh. He is married with one son.
My thought is to always attract people who bring skills and experience about every aspect necessary to grow a business.
This is Jake of Rinseroo Hey, it's Brian & Michael Speciale of The Comfy that sensation you saw on Shark Tank and you're listening to listen
and you are listening to The E-comm Show.
Welcome to The E-comm Show, presented by BlueTusker. The number one place to hear the inside scoop from other ecommerce experts share their secrets on how they scaled their business and are now living the dream. Now, here's your host, Andrew.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the E-comm Show. I'm your host Andrew MAFF. And I'm here today with Johnna Deborah and Michael London of bow labs. Thank you guys so much for joining me today. You guys ready for good show?
Absolutely. Thanks for having us perfect.
Rates obviously really appreciative of you guys being on the show with me today. I'm super excited about this one cuz I love talking about pets in the pet industry is very interesting to me. I've been in and out of it before. So it's always kind of interested to see what's going on there. But let's let's do the typical pretend no one knows who you guys are. And why don't you guys tell me a little bit about bow labs and of course about yourselves
as well. Alright, well, why
don't we give you a little background first, Andrew. So I'm a serial entrepreneur. I've been building companies since I was a kid. I knew this is what I wanted to do in life and never wanted a boss. I've been lucky and built three big companies. My My first one was HQ the office space leasing company that's now a $3 billion business. My second was a retail catalog manufacturing company that we took public. And the third company car club.com pioneered the whole concept of helping people buy cars, we help people buy about $5 billion worth of cars. And along the way, I've evolved into what I call a venture capital incubate. And by that I mean I help entrepreneurs and small companies take big ideas, where they don't have the team and the capital and the experience. And I take it and I run with it, I build my companies to sell them, I have a very deep set of boxes that have to get checked before I'm interested, I won't share all of them with you. But the three biggest ones are, it's got to be a big idea in a big market and solve a big problem. Which means there's always something disruptive about it. Because if it's not a disruptive idea, there's already the big guys there and I don't want to fight the Googles of the world, I want to partner with them and sell on my companies. The second is got to deliver real value. And what I mean by that it's not something that's faddish, it's not something that it's just dependent on a clever copywriter, it's got to have a real fundamental problem that it's solving. But then the most important, and this was just me, it's got to be what I call a cookie cutter hockey stick. It's got to be a business, that once you figure out the formula, it has the ability to scale explosively because I'm not interested in building $10 million dollar companies or taking 10 years to do it. And once I get an idea when somebody brings something to me, and it's usually an entrepreneur or a small company, I do my due diligence. I build a team. We do a financial plan. We do a business plan. And then most importantly, we do a proof of concept. The proof of concept for this idea was a Kickstarter campaign. And out of 600 pet industry campaigns over the last decade leading up to the summer of 2018. We came in a top 10 We use that as a springboard to launch the company. to two months later, we did a whopping $5,000 that first month, we had 28 straight months of consecutive month over month growth and we broke 500,000 For the first time in January of 2021. And I'm gonna let John tell you a little bit about her background and then I'm going to tell you how we got started. How this idea came to us and how we evolved from the original idea into what it is today.
So Michaels, the heavyweight
I'm a clinical nutritionist. Specializing in canines and felines I'm also I've been an herbalist for like 20 plus years. I also own a holistic pet boutique and supply store in Rhode Island. And most importantly, I'm a dog mom and I've been passionate about pets since I was a young girl and I never, you know I was not the person that was able to be a veterinarian because the thought of blood and the thought of having to put an animal literally just turned to my stomach. You know, as an adult, now you look back and you realize there's quality of life issues. So it's not as bad as I thought when I was a child, but it just wasn't the way that that my life path was gonna take me. So when I realized that there was a career where I could be a nutritionist, and then I could actually join a company like bowel labs, and, you know, share my knowledge and educate pet parents as to how they can help extend their pets lives, how they can make them happier, how they can make them safer, how they can bring them to optimal health, you know, I feel it sounds really hokey, but my heart became full. So it's been a really great journey for me. And I'm just a really, I'm very blessed to be a part of Bell Labs and on their journey with them.
So this idea came to me through my bankers son, my wife and I are founding shareholders in what is probably the most successful community bank in the United States. And the founder of the banquet has been my banker and friend for 35 years. And he called me one day a couple years ago, and he said, Michael, would you talk to my son, Scott, he's got a great idea. But he, he wants to go off to Tahoe and be a ski bum. And so Scott comes to me and tells me this story about his dog choking on a bully stick a couple of Christmases earlier. And they rushed the dog to the vet, the dog, save the vet, a vet, save the dog, I always say it that way to save the dog. And as he was walking out the door, he says, to the vet, what could I have done differently, the vet laughed and said, Don't give them Bully Sticks. So we went home looked on the internet, and the only advice he could find was put the bully stick in a vise grip. Oh, PS, be careful. When the dog gets to the end of the stick, he can break his teeth on the vise grip. So to his credit, they went out he and his wife and and spend $50,000 On a first rate design firm and came up with
the bully button.
A little device to hold the bully stick and keep the dog from choking. That's what we went market with. And in our research. Over the six months leading up to the Kickstarter campaign, we realized that there was a bigger idea than just simply selling bully buddies and bully sticks, there was an opportunity to really develop a a a business that was focused on keeping dogs safe and healthy. To bring products to market that truly no BS we're addressing that need. Which is why Gianna is so important to our business because her nutrition or herbalist, her all of her skills, plus her knowledge from from her retail store, allow her to evaluate products allow her allow us to develop new products. And so we went to market with the little bully buddy one for the Kickstarter campaign had this great success. And, and then we launched the business in November. And as I said, we had 28 straight months, so eight to 15% month over month growth, we started out spending $500 A month $500 A week, sorry, on adspend for Google and Facebook, etc. And as we kept getting the results we wanted kept increasing it. And 2008 months later, we were spending over $150,000 a month. But we also began to develop products. So that little bully buddy turned into a family of bully buddies. Here's the little guy for dogs under 15 pounds.
And wait for the Oh, that's so
because people are listening to this. The bully buddy. The second design is the bone shaped device. That's a safety device that has a screw on the end. And what happens is there's a center there's a hole, and that's where the bully stick goes. And then you screw down on that bully stick and it keeps the bully stick in place so the dog can navigate it put its paws on top. And what it allows them to do is basically enjoy all of the benefits of a long term to without getting to that last one inch no which is then a potential for a choking hazard or intestinal obstruction.
So so then we launched it then then the question was how could we extend beyond the bully sticks in the belly button. And our first product was a little treat called a a wet wafer. And we follow that up with a second one called the crunch path. Now, what those three treats offer is a short term, mid term and long Long term to the waggy wave for instant gratification, your dog did something good. You want to make them happy. You give them a little wacky wave that comes in Turkey, salmon, chicken flavors. They crunch puff actually takes a dog between five and 10 minutes they suck on it. They run around, try to hide it, because they don't want anybody to get it. They eventually bite through. And you get this unbelievable sound that brings a smile to everybody's face this huge crunch.
Wait full disclosure, Michael, if you have a big dog like I do, you have an 80 pound dog. It's more about two minutes just for full disclosure, because when everyone goes out there are crunch pops, I don't want to get a bunch of emails that it's only taken two minutes, not 10 Depends on the size of the dog, but it is definitely a longer term treat.
And then you got the bully buddy bully states, which lasts anywhere from you know, 15 minutes to my little dog are having these used to take a week to get through a abolutely stick, he was about 14 pounds. So we have a whole host of other products we're launching, we're launching the dental line before the end of the year. This is the bully buddies patented. Everything we do, we're trying to develop IP around it to add value. Our dental line gets launched before the end of the year, which is a a patented toothbrush that brushes all of the dog's teeth in 10 seconds.
Yeah, so it has foreheads. So there's three heads on one side, which actually encompass the teeth. And then you have on the opposing side, another head, which actually cleans the opposite tooth and helps to keep the jaw open. And it is it's an amazing veterinary approved patented product that is unlike
anything on the market.
And then we got a whole host of literally a roadmap of products, we hope to introduce a product every 90 days. And the key is we're not going to sell cute clothes. It's all about keeping dogs truly safe and healthy. But you know, this the key, the key to this business and every other business because my businesses have all been different. b2b, b2c, different industries. But there are similarities.
I build platforms.
Because the hard part in building a business is laying track. Those early stages, and if you're going to lay track, might as well lay track, they can carry more than one product. And that's what you see on Shark Tank all the time when they go, you know, you don't have a company here, you have a product. So my thought is to always attract people who bring skills and experience about every aspect necessary to grow a business. And I'm always a rookie, when I started out because I don't want to do the same thing twice. Right. So I didn't know diddly about the pet business other than I have John. So I surrounded myself with very smart people like John, who have deep experience on everything from E commerce, marketing, technology, supply, chain, fulfillment, and so forth. So we're a little company that punches way above our weight, because of the talent and experience of the people we have. So you might say to yourself, Well, how do you get those kinds of people? Do you pay them a lot. And actually, it's just the opposite. I don't pay anybody in the beginning until we get out of the gate. And I do that because it's one of the boxes that have to get checked. If I can attract a great team around the concept of the business. In exchange for equity options in the business, then it's not a big enough opportunity. And so once we launch, everybody starts getting paid, nobody's nobody's being paid full market. Everybody's in this for the same and resolve to build a company to sell it. And to make a lot of dogs and dog pet parents happy.
impressive background on both sides. What so one of the first things I was thinking about is so I've helped in the pet industry several times before and I know while it's a very fun industry, it's very difficult to differentiate yourself, especially on the consumable side. So it's obviously the main product makes a lot of sense. That's an innovation but the treat side is difficult. What are you guys doing to kind of differentiate yourselves from the hundreds of 1000s of other treats that are out there?
I'm going to give you an answer. You get the little piece of gold in every one of our treats. Buy a bag and look for the one that has the golden No, no. Okay, John.
So in truth You know, one of the sales pitch one of the men, right, it's like Willy Wonka a little bit, right, just find the bar with gold ticket. One of the things that is a benefit for me being a part of this team and me having a retail store is that I see on a daily basis, what's in the marketplace currently. But I also see and hear consumers what is missing from the marketplace. So what that does being the boots on the ground, as well as allows me to go back to our r&d product development committee and kind of figure out how to fill those gaps, which is what the crunch costed. So the crunch puffs is a single ingredient beef tree, that fills the void of crunching, which helps kind of brush the teeth and gives all of the benefits of oral health, and is a longer term treat. So technically, what we're doing is we're finding those voids, and that's going to be what differentiates us from all of the other companies that are out there, we just, we don't want to be one more company that has one more of the same. That's not what we want, we want to be innovative in every possible way. And with every product that we bring to market that serves a purpose, right. And one of those purposes being that it helps the pet hat be in optimal health. So it kind of has to check additional boxes as well.
And what's different about the world today, the pet world, in part because of COVID is that our customers don't put their dogs out at night in the snow to sleep, they take them into their beds with them. Okay. So what we're trying to do is be true to our mission, which is to keep dogs safe, healthy and happy. Plus, one of the things that I always do in my companies, and they were really going to do it here is to augment explosive organic growth. I make acquisitions, which triggers and accelerates that trajectory even more, I've never seen a better space for acquisitions, then this dead space because of what you just said, Andrew, it's a very crowded space, there are many, many companies. And there are 14,000 Pets companies in the United States today, it's a very tough space. That's why there's only generally really big boys and little guys, because the little guys can't get space, they can't get the capital, they don't have the experience. And we have already we if we had finished our series earlier, we I could have made six acquisitions already. Little companies with great little products that would have fit beautifully under our umbrella. So, you know, there's no magic, you know, people think, Oh, wow, you really got something, you know, magical. There isn't any magic, it's having a good product, having a good plan, executing the plan, getting enough capital. And and those are four of the five ingredients for success. I taught entrepreneurship as a guest lecturer for three years, during one of my three retirements, I don't do that very well. And it's lasted a while, right? It's the
it's the last ingredient that is only is the one that's most important. It's the people, it's having the talent, it's having people who care about what they do. And in today's day and age where people don't stay very long, they're in it for the money, they're in it to not work very hard. It's very hard to find incredibly smart, dedicated, caring, people who are good at what they do. That's, in my view, the most important angry, I don't care what your product is what industry you're in. If you don't have the right people, your chances of success are very slim. I completely
agree. The acquisition side is very interesting. So I very rarely hear other sellers, especially in the e Commerce Industry have the the background and the knowledge to understand that if you want to move and you want to move fast, the quickest way to doing that is through acquisitions. So it's great to hear that you're doing that. I know, you don't want to share the secret sauce. But what is what is the are you looking to expand the product line within the same category? Or are you looking to acquire pet companies that you can just leverage that data and sell other products that are completely different from what you
currently have. I want to paint a picture for you. The Roman Colosseum,
the Roman Colosseum, lots of doors. We want products that attract people in the door. And then once we get them in there, we want to keep them because we have all the other products there. So we we are going to grow products three ways we're going to invent them. That's our most favorite way to do it. Because now we have the IP we own it. We will acquire it. So we find companies Have a product we don't make. That is we think best of breed that we can take and add scale, that something that is of great interest. And then in some cases, they would have to be something very unique. We will white label something, somebody that has a product that is already there, but they just can't, you know, make it as big as as we will be able to make it. And my approach, growing businesses and acquiring companies is a little different. Yes, we'll give them a little cash. But I think what entrepreneurs who have great little products, one is, if their business is not really where they are at a point where they have enough wealth to retire, the best way for them to get that wealth is to put their product their company into ours take our stock, okay, and benefit from a much bigger engine. And I'll give you one example. In my last company, we were looking to buy a little company that had something we didn't have. And it was a great fit for us. And he wanted $750,000 in cash. I didn't have 750,000 in cash, we were growing so fast, I needed all the cash, we could grow, we could use. So I gave him a million dollars on the stock. And I convinced him that he would be better off. Eventually he took it. And two and a half years later, he put 4 million in cash in his pocket. So that was a win win all the way around. Oh, by the way, that acquisition was a springboard to allow me to raise 50 million. So it was a win win all the way around. So that is normally the way I would be approaching a making acquisitions looking for companies where they've got a great product is ready to scale, but they don't have the money or the capital or the experience to really scale.
So who's running the day to day of the business right now? Well,
right now, we have a very experienced,
very talented woman. My wife,
Linda is a very, she's not there because she's my wife. She's a former IBM executive, one of the first women hired in sales for IBM, the second woman promoted to management had a stellar career until she had the unfortunate experience of running into me. And, but But Linda was the VP of Marketing at the company, we took public and she quit IBM when we retired from the first company and went to live in Europe. It's another story. And then I coaxed her into this for a couple of years. But she She promised me two years, the two years are up, she keeps reminding me it's time to vertical back to the golf course. So we are actually recruiting, we're looking for a chief operating officer out of the pet space ecommerce experience really ready to sort of take us to the next level. But right now the the business is very horizontal. I mean, you're jhanas very influential in the in the day to day as well as some of the other people on our team. You know, this is one of those companies, Andrew, where titles don't really mean anything, you know, yeah. If we had an office, everybody would stop to pick up the piece of paper and put it in the in the garbage but the only garbage on our own home floors. We've been virtual for almost 18 months now. Yeah.
You and your wife are quite a power couple. That's, that's impressive. I'm jealous one day, I'll get where you're at.
So our labs were how many different
channels are you guys on? I know you have your own site. I believe you're on chewy as well. Like where else are you guys selling right now?
Are in amazon.com and walmart.com. We are not on chewy.
Really? Why stay away from chewy? We are do we really haven't? Well, they
don't have an error. Yeah, yeah. And it got escalated. I shouldn't I probably shouldn't tell this story. But I'm going to so we've got to elevate it to to a very senior guy at chewy and I I said to this fella, I said Is it okay if we make any money? And he laughed and he said, You know, it's really valuable to be on CHEWIES I said not if we can't make any money. And that's the problem when you're a mouse and you dance with an elephant. And yes, I mean with CHEWIES be fantastic for us. Absolutely. But we can't make it work for us at the margins that we've got we you know we we don't have the margins we will have when we're much much bigger. So we have to do what we have to do so So as John has said, our two primary are Shopify and Amazon, Braun Walmart. We're looking at tick tock, we're looking at Pinterest, we're looking at all kinds of other channels. We also have a, this is a funny story. So when Gianna joined us, the first thing she did, she says, let me sell bully buddies and in my store and I said, No, no, we're not doing retail. He said, Come on. I said, No. Well, you probably can tell she's a little persistent. She eventually wore me down and I said, Fine, I'll give you a test. We'll send you 50 Bully buddies. And, you know, let's see how it goes. So we sent her 50 Bully buddies, about 10 days goes by, and I call her on the phone, and I go, so how'd you do?
She goes, What do you mean?
I said, How'd you do with those 50 Bully buddies? She said, Oh, what do you mean, I sold them the first weekend. I said, you sold 50 Bully buddies in your store in one weekend, we're gonna mind you at 1200
square foot store in a tiny little town in Richmond, Rhode Island. So I convinced him that it was time to move into the retail space.
And we now have enough exposure that we get calls all the time from pet stores. Hey, people are in here asking about the bully buddy and your sticks and stuff. But how do I? How do I get your products. So we have a couple of salespeople now. And we have what we call our independent pet retailer program. There's 10,000 independent pet stores in the country, we hope to get into about 2500 of them over the next three to four years. And we also expect to be in the bed. When our toothbrush and our we didn't mention our toothpaste, Jonna actually invented this, it is toothpaste once you tell them about the toothpaste.
It's a toothpaste, gel, it's I think it's an amazing product, but I also familiar with it. So it is an enzymatic toothpaste gel that has a Nuka honey and sage in it. So the sage helps. It's actually the only herb that has been proven to help with ginger Vitus. So we have that in there as well as the glucose oxidase that's going to help to break down the biofilm that happens on a daily basis. And it is just an amazing product that's unlike anything on the market. So I might be biased, but I've been using it since the samples have been finalized. And I actually even tried it on myself, I gotta be honest with you, because technically, that's in the world that I live in. If it's got to, if it's going to go in another pet's mouth, it has to either be tested on mine, and they have to love it. And it has to be a quality that's good enough that I'm willing to give it to my dogs who by the way are my children, like literally because I don't have to like it gets or in the case of toothpaste has got to go in my mouth, I will not put animal parts in my mouth just for clarification limits. It's a great product that we already have veterinarians reaching out to us to see when we can get it into their offices. So
it's going to be a great addition to going read. Sorry. So we we went into
retail at the worst possible time. We went into retail November 2019, having absolutely no idea what 2020 was going to bring us and that it was going to lead into 2021. With that said, we're in about 125 stores right now, which says a lot for people that were really hesitant to bring in new products, because so many people were not able to go in person shopping. And yeah, we scaled up, we're now have quite a few salespeople, and we just
continue to grow.
So I think listeners might be interested in the thought process that went into why why the Dental. So I'm going to give you some business info and then Gianna can talk about the medical the nutritional side. So it turns out that the dental space is about $2 billion and a year 2 billion and growing at what? Over 10.
Yes, yeah. 10 To 20% Is that projected?
Morgan Stanley says that the pet space, which is now about $120 billion, will be over 300 billion by the end of the decade. Think about that growth. Okay, a lot of it is going to come through the dental because it goes to the dog's mouth. And the reason that is important is because the mouth is a source of so many problems for dogs. And on that I'm going to turn it over to John.
Yeah, there's an intimate relationship with the health of the mouth and the health of the overall health in the body. So the bacteria that's in the mouth can actually get into the bloodstream get like the bacteria and actually go to distant organs. It's responsible for inflammation in the body. Ginger Vitus heart issues, there's a direct correlation with heart health and dental health. So what we're seeing specifically in millennials is they are, like me, they don't know that not that I'm a millennial by any means. But they don't necessarily, they're not having regular two legged kids at the same age. So they are investing more of their time and more of their money into the health of their pets, and so that are for the first time in the last probably five to 10 years really pushing hard oral health, because there is that direct correlation. And finally, it is getting out into the consumer audience and people are becoming more aware of how important it is. So we are really on the precipice of a movement where people are going to be taking more than more active approach to the dog's health, it's no longer about opening a bag and pouring things to a bowl, we've learned now, you know, through unfortunately, lots of sick dogs, that that is not the way that you take care of a dog, if you want them to be in optimal health and to live as long as possible. And pet parents now more than ever are ready to take that active role and
start doing whatever they can so and the keys. The key was, who wants to brush their dog's teeth and spend two minutes trying to hit the dog's mouth. So we so with this patented toothbrush, we solve that problem with a really quick, really easy, and what this really does is, is now you don't take your dog to the bed for a $600 Put your dog under the right. Asia, right. So this allows us to be having gateway for all a lot of other treat products that are coming, that are all tied to dental, dental choose, you know, there's a little company out there, you've probably heard of greenies, 200 plus million dollars.
We're coming. So you guys are obviously
growing like a weed, you're coming out with a ton of different stuff and your product line? How are you handling the current supply chain issues with all of the stuff coming down your pipeline? And then obviously, we q4 coming up and Michael, you're shaking your head, which means this is going to be a good answer.
It's a nightmare.
You want to tell them the toothpaste tube story?
My nightmare that I've been living for the last few weeks. So one of the reasons why our dental line is coming out at the end of q4 rather than the end of q3 is because we have been waiting for tubes. And the tubes have been built that we're going to be sent by air they ended up being sent incorrectly by a cargo ship. And we received an email at the end of last week basically saying that there are 88 ships that span across 40 miles of sea off the LA port, and brace yourselves, because it's going to be about three to four months before they hit customs. And then you have to get through customs. To which you know, I had a call with Michael and I said this is a no go and we had to negotiate and redo things. And now we're getting them here in about three weeks. Because you know you have to be when all is said and done, you still have to have your business mind about you and you have to try to be you have to be able to pivot on a dime, right. And so when it's challenges come your way, you have to find a different way to navigate and get around the problem however that may be. And so as far as I'm concerned, I feel like it's stretching us in a great way because it's also making us look differently at our future products making certain that we rely more on USA packaging, not just products because that is obviously our driving force, but packaging, printing all of those elements. So it's really making us a better company. That's my optimistic take.
It just means you cannot simply make decisions based on the low cost supplier. There are now other realities, whether it be tariffs, shipping costs, shipping availability. How about this one? Bully Sticks are the, you know, still the primary product we sell today? Well, in the middle of this COVID, Argentina shuts down the export of all meat products, including Bully Sticks. Well guess what happened to the price of wholesale Bully Sticks. Overnight, they almost doubled. So I mean, the supply chain I was in a HEB supermarket looking for some some apple or any polmar last night and there's none and I happen to see the manager and I said where are you out? He said, Are you kidding? Look at all the empty shelves here. He said we we have so much stuff we can't get. It's It's unbelievable. And that's just a supermarket. Imagine In a technical company, you know, we, we we bought a new car earlier this year. And I got a call from the dealer at the end of last week offering me ready $1,000 profit over what I paid nine months ago for a car that has 1000 miles on it used he will buy back from me right now and give me all my money back plus $1,000 Because they have no cars. And I said, Well, I say well, okay, that's I said, What a great deal. I'll do that. I said, When can I order a 2022? He says, I don't know. Maybe 2023? Yeah, no. Yeah, like the housing market? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, no, no, it's really different, challenging. I mean, look, I've always believed that if you make money, you're successful in building a business from scratch. You deserve whatever you got. Because if it's not an accident, you know, that's why you get, that's why you get a lot of the investment community that has shied away from the early stage. You know, they're willing to pay more as part of it is because there's so much money, right, the funds have so much money, they can't afford to do million dollar deals anymore, half a million dollar deals, they got to write bigger checks, but part of it is because they'd rather pay more, and get a company that's further down the down the road.
So with all of the supply chain issues that you guys are having, which obviously a lot of stuffs gonna be pushed back, how are you preparing for q4, I always find that to be an interesting thing to consider. Because typically find, you know, sellers do the normal like Black Friday, Cyber Monday stuff, and you do a big sale. But if you do that, and you sell too quick, you might just be completely out of stock for a while. So what is what's your your thought process behind what you're doing going into the fourth quarter?
If I told you how much time our team, our accounting team and our management team are putting into analytics of thinking about okay, well, what can we afford to sell? What are we going to run out of? How do we get replenishment? If we have to run out of something? When do we want to run out? Right? Run out before the holidays? Are
we willing to be
out of stock on something January second? What else can we do? It affects what the marketing people are trying to think about? You know, it's it's very complicated. I mean, we we have lowered our estimate of what we had expected to do for 2021. By a couple million bucks, because of the ability to get the stuff, you can't get it. Now, the good news is all things pass. You know, I've been through things ups and downs. In E, if you aren't able to pivot, more modified change.
You're not going to succeed. You know,
I let my teams run hard, because they're all smart people, but I'm really good at dealing with insurmountable problems. That's what I tell. That's what I tell my teams to bring me you solve the, you know, don't even tell me the good news. That's fine. It all takes care of itself. But when you got a problem, that's impossible. You know, what do you do? Do you go under it over around it? through it? Or do you simply go
let's go in a different direction. This is I have two words that describe that fail fast. So with that said, we
aren't we aren't failing, right? I will say we also, we also had the foresight back in May, to understand once we started seeing what was going on with the Bully Sticks, that we needed to quickly bring on some additional products that fit our product lineup that, you know, met our brand messaging and what we believe in and what our mission is. So we actually, again, here's one of those good times, and you pivot and you end up expanding in a really nice way. We ended up bringing on a natural chew line. So we now have three new single ingredient products that we wouldn't have had otherwise, if COVID wasn't happening. And if we weren't thinking about what are we going to do? How are we going to have enough product for Christmas and or the holidays or for Halloween? Whatever you want to look at. And so what we've done from a marketing standpoint is we've now taken those products and we are we're creating new packages. So we're having holiday boxes we're having, you know, how will a wean treat boxes that we're going to be offering. So, you know, we're trying to do things a little bit differently and expand our audience because of this, right? So I don't think we're going to run out we bought really well because we had that foresight to do so. And Michael's basically threatened us that we're not allowed to run out so So we're not gonna run out and do.
Good for everyone. Let's say they're not running out, so go by him. I don't want to take
up too much more your time. I really appreciate having to on the show. This is that stereotypical moment where you guys tell everyone where they can learn more about yourselves and more about bow labs.
So bow labs.com that's www bowwwlabs.com Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and tick tock at Bell Labs and Michael you get to wrap it up.
In you'll find that our products are in the very best independent pet stores around the country including fetcher I in Rhode Island.
Thank you nice.
I love that final plug well done. Of course. Johnna & Michael really appreciate having you guys on the show and everyone who tuned in thank you so much for listening. Please make sure to subscribe on any podcast platform that you feel you would like to or tune in to our YouTube channel and head over to ecommshow.com to hear all of our episodes, if not, per usual, keep on selling and we will see you all next time.
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