Extended interview with My Perfect Pet president and founder
Karen Scoggins discusses new products, company growth, the future
1. What new brands, products or packaging have you introduced in the past 12 months? How they are doing in the market to date?
Party Bites was released in November 2010. Intended to be available only during the holiday season, Party Bites are made with fresh turkey, pumpkin, yams, cranberries, spinach, carrots and other holiday favorites that people can safely enjoy with their dogs. It has since become our highest selling treat and a permanent part of our product line. Party Bites are our most popular treat at events—at times, people eat more than the dogs!
Snuggles Blend was released in January 2011, specifically developed for adult dogs with urinary tract issues. Excess minerals, commonly found in ground bones and meals, can contribute to the formation of urine crystals, bladder stones and other issues. Some diets claim to reduce or dissolve crystals and stones, but are not recommended for puppies or long-term use as they may increase other health risks. Snuggles Blend is 100% balanced and complete, meeting all AAFCO requirements for adult dogs, and is made with the same fresh, whole ingredients as all other My Perfect Pet products.
2. What are your company’s keys to growth?
Pet owners see an immediate difference in their pet after switching to fresh, whole food. Word of mouth has been our most powerful advertising, building demand in areas not yet supported by retailers or distribution. Unsolicited testimonies report improvements in pet health: reduced allergy symptoms, tearing/staining disappearing around the eyes and mouth, digestive tract issues resolved; even the pickiest dogs love it! Stores everywhere are being asked to carry the product as the news gets out about My Perfect Pet product results and reputation for integrity.
3. What would you say sets your company apart from the competition? What do you strive to be known for?
My Perfect Pet is making a difference in pets’ lives, and in the lives of their people through education on how to have healthier, longer lives with their pets through better nutrition.
My Perfect Pet has an established reputation for superior product quality and safety, and is becoming nationally recognized for integrity and putting pet health first. The company has been unique in using whole foods that pet owners can eat themselves, and is the only nationally available pet food company open to the public for viewing and tasting during all business operations. The company has an “education center” where pet owners can learn more about pet nutrition and health in general, and from there they can observe the production areas through glass partitions, and even taste the products themselves!
My Perfect Pet is the first company to offer a lightly cooked product made with whole, fresh foods. We all know fresh is best. Until My Perfect Pet, frozen raw was the only fresh option available. Now customers have an fresh alternative to raw, with the added benefits of the safety of a food prepared according to FDA safe cooking and handling guidelines, and the convenience of handling and storing with their own food.
At events, people sometimes eat more of our treat samples than the dogs! We even have one staff member (Debra Gibb) who is eating nothing but My Perfect Pet food for one month (puppy formula for the added calcium) and claims she’s never felt better!
The results of all this have led to very aggressive customer loyalty and viral growth within the pet community.
4. Please provide sales estimates for the past year or current year to date—or a comment on sales trends.
The business is flourishing at >50% growth per quarter, and we are expanding our Poway facility to accommodate increasing order volumes.
We are announcing national distribution in September, with planned distribution throughout the U.S. within the next quarter. In addition to retail channels, My Perfect Pet is supporting an online next-day delivery model for markets not supported by retail outlets and customers wanting the flexibility and convenience of online shopping and delivery. And we are also partnering with qualifying nonprofit groups, setting them up to act as distributors for My Perfect Pet products, allowing pet owners to purchase directly through them, enabling pet food purchases to become a source of revenue generation for their nonprofit organization.
The company was not formed from a business plan; it was based on a passion to put pet health over profits, and the fact that we could not find another company or product that we could trust with our own pets’ lives.
My Perfect Pet offers Personal Blendsâ€“custom formulated diets for pets with unique dietary needs. Each blend is custom, based on pet owners and/or veterinarian recommendations.
We manage all aspect of manufacturing in our own facilities. We do not use any pre-processed ingredients, keeping quality control securely within our control and tight standards.
5. What is the outlook overall for the future of your company? Any projections or possible new directions?
As the industry is moving toward fresh foods, My Perfect Pet is well positioned to drive the largest growth opportunity in the petfood industry. There are many products claiming to be the best for a variety of health issues, but continue to use lower cost, more highly processed and refined ingredients which are more difficult for the pets to digest, and contribute to ongoing health issues. There is a strong correlation between pet diet and health, and we are driven to educate pet owners on how to make healthier choices for their pets.
We will soon be announcing a line of fresh food products specifically developed to meet the dietary needs of pets with health issues requiring a special or restricted diet. It is not our intent to offer any standard products not meeting AAFCO nutrient profiles, but to offer fresh alternatives for dogs with common health issues, such as renal/kidney disease, pancreatitis, etc.
This is preceeding even our press release, but we are developing a cat food line that will be introduced by early 2012. Cats’ systems are even more delicate than dogs’, and have just as great a need for fresh products that put their health first. Cat food will be announced hopefully within the next quarter.
6. Where do you see your biggest opportunities?
Following the 2007 recalls, many consumers dropped out of the petfood market altogether and began making their own food. My Perfect Pet is the first company to make the food like they make it themselves. We believe this untapped homemade market is significant.
7. How has your company changed over the past several years?
Within four years, My Perfect Pet has grown from the concept of a revolutionary new product to one of the top-ranked fresh petfood companies in the U.S.
8. Were you affected by the 2007 petfood recalls and, if so, how?
The loss of one pet, and nearly a second, led to the forming of My Perfect Pet. As headlines reported hundreds of recalls and thousands of pet illnesses and deaths, including risks to pet owners themselves, demand skyrocketed for a safe and healthy product made by a company that pet owners could trust. The need for education about petfood ingredients and processing also became paramount for the customers and the retail stores.
My Perfect Pet scientifically developed a dog food line based on the same ingredients customers use to feed their own families. Only whole, 100% natural, real ingredients are used, no preservatives, lightly cooked and kept frozen for freshness.