This is a follow up story for Dope Dog. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published about 1 year ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi Everyone! I’m Erin, co-founder of Dope Dog. I started Dope Dog with Michael Benatar back in 2017 to help our 10-year-old pitbull James recover from his knee surgery and early onset arthritis. We were looking for natural alternatives for James to avoid having him on harmful medicines for the rest of his life. After experiencing the benefits of CBD personally and doing extensive research on how cannabinoids work naturally in the system of both humans and dogs, we started James on CBD. Within just a few weeks we saw a difference in his mobility and overall health, and within months we completely weaned him off those liver-damaging meds.
Our next order of business was getting him to love taking his CBD each day, and that’s how the Calming Crunchie was born. We’ve since created a full product line of CBD products that dogs LOVE and can help thousands of dogs struggling with anxiety, arthritis, and more.
We sell primarily on our website and through independent retailers across the country. We bootstrapped the business for over 3 years and have reached monthly revenues of over 25k.
Michael and James
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
Since we were last featured in Starter Story, we have raised our first round of capital via Republic.co, a crowd investment community. Campaigning with Republic was a great experience and we were able to raise over 100k from over 200 investors. We are grateful to have welcomed so many dog lovers and investors into the Dope Dog community.
With that, we have been able to bring on some amazing people to help us grow including a community manager, social media manager, and a few other part-time roles. We have grown our revenue to over 25k monthly and have lots of customers taking advantage of our subscription option so they can have their dog’s CBD treats delivered on a monthly schedule.
We’ve been focusing on new growth strategies including community events, affiliate programs, influencer marketing, and expanding our reach on social channels including Pinterest. We are also exploring more organic ways to get in front of new Dope Dogs like offering our Calming Crunchies to pet-friendly hotels. We’re even starting a Dope Dog news podcast!
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
Our biggest learnings this year probably came from our experience raising funding. This process required us to really dig into our business and start thinking bigger. It put us in front of many investors who had some really great questions and feedback. Putting yourself out there on display for the world to see can be nerve-racking, but ultimately added so much to the brand.
In 2020 we found ourselves with a little extra time on our hands during quarantine so we started a business podcast called “Call Me Crazy - I Started A Business”. We invite founders and entrepreneurs onto the show to share their stories and inspire other entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs who might be looking to start a business. We’ve learned that some of the best things that happen for the company stem from a personal connection, and the podcast is a great way to build that network.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
We’re excited to announce we will become NASC certified this year. The National Animal Supplement Council is the only regulator body that is regulating CBD products for dogs.
Putting yourself out there on display for the world to see can be nerve-racking, but ultimately added so much to the brand.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
Michael and I are always digging into books that can teach us new skills and inspire. Some titles from our current library include:
The Hard Thing About Hard Things - Ben Horowitz
Psycho-Cybernetics - Maxwell Maltz Dare to Lead - Brenae Brown
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Remember to zoom out. It can be easy to forget the bigger picture when you are tackling a specific problem that is taking up a huge amount of energy and focus. Because your business is probably something you are super passionate about, it can feel like the smallest issue is such a huge deal. When in reality, you’ll get through whatever it is and come out that much stronger.
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
We’re always looking for amazing people to join us. Currently, we are looking for support in community building, for things like planning partnerships and managing our ambassador program. We’re also on the hunt for a co-host for a Dope Dog podcast! Please reach out to us on Linked In or at [email protected] if you or someone you know is interested!
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!