Bundle x Joy has been on a mission since its public launch at Natural Products Expo West in March 2022: Deliver premium pet nutrition, curated products and endless joy to every pet person. Joy, in fact, is a touchstone for everything the company does, from its superfood-rich pet food, treats and supplements to the companies it partners with to stock its online Joy Shop; from the very details of the company’s brand look and feel to the unconventional marketing strategies company founder Jessica Berger employs to get the word out.
For Berger, a big part of spreading that joy also involves a very intentional use of her unique life experiences to help break down barriers of entry into the pet food industry.
“As a female-Latina founder, I am acutely aware of my responsibility of setting a path forward for underrepresented founders in the pet industry,” she says. “I spent 10 years dreaming of owning my own pet company but struggled to identify with any founders that looked like me in the space.”
Once Berger’s opportunity came, she took it — and Bundle x Joy is the bright, collaborative, forward-thinking result.
Female-forward positioning in the pet food space
Berger’s company is 100% female-founded and focused on empowering people as well as pets: Bundle x Joy harnesses a 3% give-back to fund women in entrepreneurship and local communities. For Berger, it all ties together.
“Our female-forward positioning is often cited as ‘new’ and ‘refreshing’ when compared with traditional pet packaging,” she says. “We are focused on the joy that comes from pets, curating purposeful bundles that are personalized just for you and your bestie. We know that the millennial and Gen Z consumer is now the largest cohort of pet ownership. This next generation of pet people will continue to expect more from the brands and products they engage with — and we see this as a significant differentiator for Bundle x Joy, as we lead with purpose at the center of everything we do.”
The bright color scheme of Bundle x Joy’s logo and packaging stands out in the premium space, which traditionally relies on a simpler color palette, and Berger says this is a very deliberate homage to a different industry altogether.
“The power of color in marketing and its ability to invoke emotion is something that I knew I wanted to bring into the brand design,” she says. “I felt strongly that pet brands were overlooking the female-forward designs that I was seeing in human wellness and beauty brands. While we sometimes hear from industry members that they ‘don’t get it,’ we know that what we are doing is already making an impact. One of our favorite moments is when someone’s eyes immediately light up as soon as they discover our products for the first time. They immediately get it and are excited to purchase our products and support a mission that helps fund women and support a female-founded brand like Bundle x Joy.”
The community connection: Building a representative brand
When Bundle x Joy launched its initial product lines in 2022 (three superfood dog food recipes, three superfood jerky bars and three superfood supplements), it didn’t stop there. The company purposely partners with other pet brands and founders on various collaborations.
As of January 2022, the Joy Shop includes items such as branded Bundle x Joy leashes, dog bandanas and stickers; Springer travel water bottles for dogs and Brutus Bone Broth’s chicken and beef broth; as well as sections called “Joy for You” and “Joy for Your Pup” that highlight products from Dog Mom sweatshirts to dog toys, all curated via brand partnerships. It’s a venture Berger is particularly proud of.
“Our community can now support other founders with a purposeful bundle of products from female-founded and diverse-owned brands — all shipped to their home alongside their monthly bundle delivery,” she says.
As with other premium and superpremium pet food brands who found their initial feet in e-commerce, Bundle x Joy offers a bundle/subscription service that can be customized to suit the pet owner’s needs and removes the burden of having to remember to buy more product before their current stash runs out. That’s not to say Berger hasn’t taken her company to the brick-and-mortar space, however; Bundle x Joy launched into its first brick-and-mortar space at Pop Up Grocer’s Denver, Colorado, location in October 2022, followed that same month by entry of the company’s entire product line into roughly 65 Whole Foods Market stores across Arizona, Southern California, Nevada and Hawaii. In November 2022 Bundle x Joy’s full assortment of jerky bars launched in nearly 400 Sprouts Farmers Market retail stores.
The company is currently in more than 450 retail locations, with plans to more than double that over the next year.
“We’ve seen strong initial sales in brick-and-mortar retail, as new customers are discovering the brand for the first time at shelf, often driven to discover the brand via digital channels like Instagram and TikTok,” says Berger.
Unconventional marketing strategies and continued growth
Speaking of social media, telling Bundle x Joy’s brand story is deeply important to Berger, who spends a significant amount of time interacting with the company’s customers and those curious about what the brand has to offer.
“We believe that community and connection will be key to our growth, building a pet brand that is truly representative of pet people today,” says Berger. “We will begin to share more of our start-up journey in social channels in 2023, as we have quickly learned that our most engaging content has included more authentic and less ‘polished’ stories and highlights from our journey thus far.”
Bundle x Joy has been featured in places one might not expect to find a pet food company, including QVC2 (highlighted as a Latina-founded brand to watch), People Español (as one of “5 Latinx-owned Food Brands to Support During Small Business Saturday”) and MarthaStewart.com (in “12 Food and Drink Trends You’ll Want to Try in 2023”). Berger sees these opportunities as too good to pass up — while they may not lead to immediate, website-crashing runs on Bundle x Joy’s products, the audience being reached is significant and holistic (odds are pretty good anyone watching these spots or reading these articles is a pet owner, after all), and for a small start-up looking to keep up with the big dogs, so to speak, it can be a way to stand out in a less crowded marketing channel.
“As a small start-up, we must innovate in ways that allow us to compete against larger companies with significant access to capital,” says Berger. “Unlike many other start-ups, we have not raised significant external capital. In response, we will continue to pursue growth in a steady and sustainable manner, making sure that we are not growing too quickly. It can be hard to push through the noise of big marketing budgets, but we will continue to find innovative ways to stand out in the crowd.”
So what’s ahead for Bundle x Joy? Growth, and lots of it.
“In 2023 we will look to identify retail partnerships that are equally committed and aligned to our mission to bring purpose to pet nutrition, all while expanding our impact with our 3% giveback even farther this year,” says Berger. “We’ll continue to grow our team and expand our digital community on Instagram and TikTok with authentic content and our brand story.”
It’s a brand story Berger thinks the industry is ready for.
“We believe that the pet industry is hungry for the next generation of pet companies, brands and products leading with purpose first,” she says. “As a female-Latina founded business, we are proud to represent the next generation of pet companies that are helping to inspire new founders to follow their dreams, alongside a community of brands that are coming together in collaboration over competition. We are committed to celebrating the people behind the pets and building a diverse and inclusive community that's representative of real pet people today.”
Headquarters: Glendale, Arizona, USA
Officer: Jess Berger, Founder and CEO
Brand: Bundle x Joy (Bundle and Joy)
Website/Social Media: www.bundlexjoy.com; @bundlexjoy on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and Facebook
Notable: Bundle x Joy’s newest customers are Luna and Sol, our founder’s new Great Dane rescue puppies!