This is a follow up story for Pawstruck. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
My name is Kyle Goguen and I’m the founder of Pawstruck, a company that provides dogs across the U.S. healthy, high-quality, affordable treats and chews. We’ve built a robust portfolio of products that promote better care, health, and wellness for dogs. Our flagship products include natural dental chews, bully sticks, filled bones, beef jerky, and a line of health and wellness supplements.
More than ever people are treating their dogs and pets as part of the family, so just like people want to know what ingredients they’re putting in their own bodies, they want to know what they’re giving their pets.
Creating affordable, healthy options for pet owners has proved to fill a significant gap in the market. In just six years, we’ve gone from $0 to over $20M in sales. Since the last time we spoke with Starter Story (2019), we’ve increased our revenue by $7M and anticipate the growth trajectory will continue in the coming years.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Since we last spoke just two years ago, our business has nearly doubled. Our growth has been strategic and our business plans have been carefully constructed to achieve steady and sustainable growth.
We continue to build out our team by hiring the right people and engaging team members who are true specialists in their field (marketing, sales, public relations). In the past two years, we’ve added 10 new employees.
We put a strong focus on product development to ensure we’re providing a healthy variety of choices to our customers. In the last two years, we’ve added 40 new products with plans to release more in the coming year. The dental chews and the beef jerky have been our most successful new products, offering natural, single-ingredient treats and chews that contain ingredients like parsley and cumin to promote better health. We’ve also gotten creative by developing more fun and interactive products for our customers like our line of monthly subscription boxes.
It’s critically important to keep our brand and products top of mind with customers, and constantly work to get in front of new audiences. Once their dogs try Pawstruck, we’re confident they’ll continue to purchase from us. PR is a great tool to secure 3rd party validation and open the door to new audiences. This year, we were selected by Amazon to serve as one of two ambassadors for their small business program leading into Prime Day. We were paired with actress Kristen Bell (by her selection) and a part of multiple interviews and media stories that included Good Morning America and People Magazine.
In addition, we’re making a concerted effort to get our products in the hands of bloggers, writers, and reviewers who focus on pet health and wellness. Their opinions are authentic and their readers put stock in those recommendations and reviews. All these efforts working together will continue to drive brand awareness, brand loyalty, and our future success.
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
A global pandemic is something no one could plan for or anticipate. We were one of the fortunate ones. A record number of families across the country adopted dogs and were pushed to shop online.
As an eCommerce business, you have the opportunity to be extremely agile so make a decision and take action quickly.
Where we were negatively impacted was our supply chain. We’ve experienced many pains and frustrations this past year or so. Many factories were shut down and many of our shipments have been spending weeks (or longer) sitting at the ports--so while we were able to increase our sales it was difficult to stay in stock. Through this, we’ve learned to plan for the worst and make sure we have plenty of inventory available.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We will continue to grow our team, our product offerings, and our footprint. We’re getting ready to introduce a line of collagen sticks, springs, and rings. These new products offer more than just a treat to occupy your dog, but are natural and good for joint health, supporting our commitment to the overall health and wellness of your pets.
Looking at our big picture growth, we expect to double both our headcount and our revenue over the next 5 years.
Have you read any good books in the last year
I’ve recently read Who Not How - which focuses on the importance of surrounding yourself with good people, a strong team and encourages you to delegate to solve problems.
The other is “Traction” - which focuses on the business framework of EOS - something we’ve integrated into our business operations.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Hire sooner than you think you need it. There is a certain point where you won’t be able to do everything yourself and you have to plan for that. The sooner you accept that and get yourself help, the sooner you’ll hit your goals.
The other is to try new things. It’s okay to make mistakes. You don’t need to be perfect. As an eCommerce business, you have the opportunity to be extremely agile so make a decision and take action quickly.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Looking at our team and how we want to grow in the coming years, we’re looking to hire more specialized experts. For example, if we bring in someone who is an email marketing expert, that’s all we want them to concentrate on, not a dozen other marketing or communications tasks.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
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