Southeast Michigan’s local MetroMode media outlet reported on Bingo Pet Salon an upscale pet business opening in Royal Oak, one of the hippest inner ring Detroit suburbs. Bingo Pet Salon offers a contemporary look and feel and in addition to dog and cat grooming services, offers pet sitting and locally made specialty pet products, including personalized collars. Located near the heart of the walkable downtown Royal Oak shopping district, the salon offers pet owners the opportunity to drop off their pets for grooming, take their time shopping and dining and then pick up their pet on the way home. The business offers a free photo share for pet-sitting clients who become fans of the salon on Facebook.
This savvy business is taking advantage of a great location to position the typical time required to groom a pet as a benefit to their busy owners. Their pet sitting services include free email or text updates to out-of-town owners, with an upgrade available to include photo messaging about the pet. The merchandise offered aligns with the trend to “buy local” and offers unique items which are in keeping with the boutique nature of human clothing and accessories sold in the Royal Oak shopping area. The hours of operation are targeted to working pet owners, open every day except Monday until at least 6 PM and until 7PM on Friday and Saturday.
This past Sunday I attended the Paws in the Park event at Canton Heritage Park in Canton Michigan. This was the second of a two-day event celebrating pets sponsored by Paws in the Park USA and the Humane Society of Huron Valley along with other local businesses. There were exhibitions and spectator participation events scheduled throughout the day and vendors selling both items of general interest like windows and chiropractic services and pet supplies and services. I made a tour through the booths and met a number of entrepreneurial Michiganders, including friends Julie King of Gertie Gear pet beds and Arlene Dalida, who owns an Aussie Pet Mobile grooming franchise. The new products I found particularly interesting were the Beer Bones made from home-brewed beer waste products and the ChooBee dog toy, designed by a former automotive engineer, whose knowledge of materials, design and manufacturing combined to make what looks like a pretty darn good dog toy. My girls are testing it now!
I recently came across an article discussing Pethead grooming products in Pet Product News International magazine. Pethead is licensed to Skaffles LLC by Bedhead, which is an edgy brand of human hair products which features packaging with unusual shapes, colors and fonts. This is the first time I’ve seen any human hair care or personal care brand extended into the pet space. Like the Bedhead brand, Pethead products are positioned at a premium price point, with shampoos at $18 on Amazon.com According to the article, this is also Skaffles’ first foray into pet products, the company previously specialized in trendy accessories targeted at teenage girls. The Pethead brand also includes accessories for dogs. Skaffles plans to further extend its pet products into grooming items for cats and American Kennel Club (AKC) licensed merchandise. This product line again confirms the humanization of pets trend and marks a breakthrough in crossover branding, which I’ve previously only seen in pet toys and clothing. I’m eager to see what pops up next!
Packaged Facts recently released the 3rd edition of its Pet Care Services in the US report. I haven’t seen any online summaries of the report yet, but I could glean a few insights from the table of contents available online. Total expenditures on pet care services in 2008 reached $23 Billion, hitting a 10 year high. Veterinary services are the fastest growing sector within pet services, with the increase in pet obesity with its health consequences as well as increasing numbers of geriatric pets helping to fuel this growth. The number of households owning cats and dogs also continues to increase.
The report also covers changes in the structure of the pet services industry, increased corporate presence, more workers, and the growth of franchising. Details about expenditures by service type, pet owner demographics and speculation about the impact of the recession on spending are also included in the full report, which is available in a variety of formats on the Packaged Facts site.
Via a referral from the Pet Biz Helper on Twitter, I discovered an article on the Small Business Trends site regarding pet-related franchises. The article quoted statistics from the American Pet Products Association regarding the strength and growth of the pet industry and then listed a number of “young” pet franchises. Most were in the pet care services area, including boarding/daycare, grooming, photography, food delivery and waste removal. One I found particularly interesting was Interquest Detection Canines, which provides canine scent detection services to schools and other organizations. It appears that one of the things you purchase from the franchisor are the trained dogs.
The realization that this industry is recession-resistant has attracted attention from enterprising business people who are offering these franchise opportunities. Most pet businesses sectors, with the exception of pet supply retailers, are dominated by small businesses. The success of some services, like grooming, can be highly dependent on an individual person’s skills and personality, which to me seem like they would be difficult to standardize in a franchise model. Others, like pet food vending and waste removal, may benefit from the franchise approach. It will be interesting to watch this trend as it develops.
I got a new Twitter follower overnight, Spongetech. New to Twitter, but busy they’ve managed to follow 2000 Twits in something like 6 hours. Makes my neck and wrists stiff just thinking about it! Their products are sponges embedded with soap designed for different purposes, including the Uncle Norman’s Pet Sponge. Now it’s not a good idea to pour shampoo directly on your dog (it gets into the hair pores and comes back out as dandruff) so it’s a good idea from that standpoint. The dog pictured on the website has enough hair that I’m a concerned that rubbing with a sponge could form tangles, but since I have short haired dogs it could work for me. This product begs for line extensions since there are so many varieties of dog shampoo on the market. My requests are for hypo-allergenic and whitening formulas. The whole Spongetech concept is reminiscent of a SoapSponge I received as a gift from Mermaid’s Bath last fall which was a sea sponge impregnated with fragrant bath soap.
One really interesting thing about Twitter is checking out my followers. I’ve been deliberately looking for and tweeting to attract other people interested in dogs, and who should follow me but DogShedding. DogShedding has only updated their account twice, both times about 12 hours before they started following me. The Dog Shedding website is pretty intensely focused on – you got it, dog shedding. Non-shedding dogs (in 3 parts) the heaviest shedding dogs (also in 3 parts) how to deal with dog shedding. Everywhere you look, the phrase dog shedding is there. Browsing the site I saw a number of statements that did not ring true to me, such as that Maltese needed to be bathed daily and you need to brush an Irish Setter “thrice weekly.” The site was created in WordPress; curiously there’s very little advertising on the home page, but plenty of text ads on the interior pages, some about anti shedding products (I knew I’d see the Furminator!) and also general dog topics like puppies, rescue dogs, and training.