Making $1M/Year With CBD Treats That Calm Anxious Dogs

Brock Weatherup
Founder, The Anxious Pet
$80K
revenue/mo
5
Founders
21
Employees
The Anxious Pet
from San Diego, CA, USA
started September 2019
$80,000
revenue/mo
5
Founders
21
Employees
296K
alexa rank
4.49K
followers
11
followers
market size
$208B
avg revenue (monthly)
$80K
starting costs
$14.9K
gross margin
40%
time to build
210 months
growth channels
Affiliate program
best tools
Zapier, SEM Rush, Faire.com
time investment
Full time
pros & cons
35 Pros & Cons
tips
1 Tips
Discover what tools Brock reccommends to grow your business!
Discover what books Brock reccommends to grow your business!
Start A Pet Cbd Products

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

My name is Brock Weatherup and this is a story about how I wanted a great, all-natural, calming product for my wonderful, yet nervous, dog named Boulder, a 10-year-old English Retriever. My team and I are all long-term entrepreneurs in the pet industry and this business is a culmination of all of that experience.

We launched several key products including exceptional pet CBD Oils, soft chews, and innovative supplement bars for calming and joint pain. We have grown the business to be over $1M per year.

making-1m-year-with-the-cbd-treats-that-calm-my-anxious-dog

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

My business passion is centered on consumer marketing in industries full of emotion. Before getting into the pet industry 14 years ago, I had built a business in the outdoor recreation space (ReserveAmerica) as well as one in the Sports & Entertainment space (Fathead). The common thread connecting Pets, Outdoor Recreation, and Sports is human excitement, including my own!

Our founding team has had much experience working together, having built Pet360 and PetMD, as well as running digital innovation at Petco, giving us an awesome head start.

As a team, we’re a unique mix. We have a group of e-commerce-focused innovators including our CMO, Rebecca Pollard; our Chief Creative Officer, Jordan Goldenberg; our Head of Merchandise, Allison Rynne; our Head of Innovation, Nick Rosenthal; and our Amazon Lead, Ethan Getty. And we also have a group of publishing and media experts including our Head of Business Development, Nico Chereque; our Head of Media, Nick Pirlis; and our Publisher, Wendy Toth.

We work well together, have deep Pet Industry experience, and can look holistically at the entire consumer journey from initial research and education through to customer retention.

The idea of building TheAnxiousPet was very much centered around my awesome dog, Boulder. He has some very funny quirks about what makes him nervous. For example, he is the ONLY golden retriever who is afraid of water! He has the other nervous ticks typical of dogs like thunder, fireworks, high-pitched beeping, etc. As I looked around the market I didn't see a product (especially if CBD was involved) that I felt confident in and thus decided to create a product that is put together with THE BEST ingredients and efficacy.

Take us through the process of designing, prototyping, and manufacturing your first product.

The physical product creation had two paths. Specifically for the Oils and CBD sourcing, I wanted to make sure we had a TOP TIER grower/harvester as I wanted to make sure the quality of the product and thus the safety for my and other pets couldn’t be questioned. In theory, you want to have lots of experience in a specific product, but we did not. Then again - if you keep calling lots of people, learn from every conversation, google like crazy and then do your diligence once you “end up” with the one you want to bet on - great things can happen.

As we created the chews & bars, we wanted to think through what could be unique in delivery. There are lots of chews out in the market, we bought a LOT of them, put them all together to navigate why ones looked better, different, unique, etc vs. the others - then chose a few specifics we liked and went from there. We landed on wanting a unique delivery platform that makes pet parent lives easier. We focused on the ability to ‘take it with you' so we created a “cliff bar” type delivery vehicle - it worked!!!! Pet parents continue to tell us they very much enjoy the ease of ‘taking it with you'.

making-1m-year-with-the-cbd-treats-that-calm-my-anxious-dog

Describe the process of launching the business.

Our launch was focused on education to grow our D2C/website as well as optimizing customer acquisition/traffic by creating it yourself vs spending loads of $$’s on traditional channels like Google, Facebook, etc.

It takes a MASSIVE amount of energy and effort to make your business successful. If you aren’t excited about the business and/or don’t love the subject you are engaging in...it makes it much more challenging.

This may not seem like the obvious path for a startup, but because our team has a long history of creating “Free” organic traffic, we launched GreatPetCare.com with exceptional pet parent educational content and this was used as the core foundation of our launch. This is cost-effective when done well paying off over time and it allows us to have a true relationship with our customers over the long-term, something that is a passion for every one of us.

It began with launching the sister site to The Anxious Pet, Great Pet Care, which is a publishing site, fully-focused on SEO-first pet health education. The team there follows strict editorial standards and earns consumer trust. The idea is that the consumers who find content first have a very high intent to purchase due to the nature of the content they are consuming.

Over time, we then add to that strategically targeted performance marketing paired with great consumer experiences and customer service.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Our acquisition strategy began with launching the sister site to The Anxious Pet, Great Pet Care, which is a publishing site, fully-focused on SEO-first pet health education. The team there follows strict editorial standards and earns consumer trust. The idea is that the consumers who find content first have a very high intent to purchase due to the nature of the content they are consuming. Over time, we then add to that strategically targeted performance marketing paired with great consumer experiences and customer service.

We have built knowledge and are finding success participating as a 3rd party seller on Amazon which continues to be a growth area for us. We have also found great success working with our social media property, @DogsOfInstagram and their 5 million followers to drive traffic directly to TheAnxiousPet.com as well as to GreatPetCare.com as a gateway to our products. Any social media account takes time and cares to build, we luckily have an awesome subject - DOGS - which people love to engage with. The @dogsofinstagram platform is wonderfully successful as an influencer platform to help guide pet parents to great products and content so they can love their dogs even more successfully.

When it comes to customer retention, first and foremost you must have a great product - which we do. Our customers come back over and over again as they see the impact our product has on the health of their animals and thus want to keep it going. At the core of that is effective communication via email and/or social to reinforce the brand and value we bring.

making-1m-year-with-the-cbd-treats-that-calm-my-anxious-dog

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

The business is going great today and the future looks very strong. Consumers are showing us their love with their pocketbooks as we will do well over $1M in our first year of sales. We are expanding on that success by focusing our efforts around the GreatPet name and thus have launched Great Pet Shop, which carries expert-curated products from The Anxious Pet as well as a collection of “Great Pet” branded products we developed in-house based on our most popular pet health content. In this way, we’ve developed a full feedback loop that starts with highly-searched educational content and ends with us solving the problems behind those searches for our customers. We had added cat products of our own making as well a section of highly curated ‘other’ products.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

This is the 3rd company I have started, and our team combined takes that number to over 10 companies started, so “what we have learned” is extensive. The number one thing that I would always encourage new entrepreneurs to do is to find something they love and know. It takes a MASSIVE amount of energy and effort to make your business successful. If you aren’t excited about the business and/or don’t love the subject you are engaging in...it makes it much more challenging.

Beyond ‘knowing what you are getting into” - THE #1 important factor is to make sure you are fully onboard with anyone that joins the time. While you may want to hire fast because you need people, force yourself to hire slow. We are now a company of 28 people - the vast majority of individuals are people that I have worked with before in prior companies & roles. They know me, I know them, and we know how to work together. That fact was extremely helpful having launched this business just before covid as our prior knowledge & trust allowed us to build a great culture of success even though we were not able to be physically together.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Given our distributed workforce (we have two ‘centers of gravity’ in San Diego and Philadelphia) including employees all over the United States and several in Brazil, our use of online communication tools is very extensive.

Slack is at the core of our connections along with the use of Google Meet to keep folks “face to face.”

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

As someone who has struggled with dyslexia his whole life, reading books is unfortunately not something I do very much. I do consume podcasts with consistency.

I am a big fan of Masters of Scale led by Reid Hoffman. The largest and most influential impact on my life is my network. Any entrepreneur must spend life building your “team” outside of work. Whether that is a spouse or a significant other, or more broadly, key friends and industry mentors/contacts - work hard to put time and energy into having a group of people that you can bounce things off of, can be there to support you when you are down and equally keep you firmly planted in reality if things are going great.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

IT’S HARD. It seems “trendy” to start something and many articles and headlines make it sound really easy. That simply isn’t true. I will say it is 100% worth it as long as it fits your personality and is exciting. You just need to know what you are getting into. It will be the hardest thing you will do.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

Yes, we are expanding our marketing team in things like affiliate, CRM and content as well as we are looking for an inventory/purchasing manager.

Where can we go to learn more?

If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!

-  
Brock Weatherup   Founder of The Anxious Pet
Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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