Greetings! Here is the next edition of the APPA's Professional Women's Network quarterly e-newsletter.
Thanks for taking time to check out our e-newsletter. We hope you enjoy this issue, and each and every one that follows it!
Retailer Spotlight: Kristine Godfrey:
An interview with the owner of All Pets Considered
What do you do to make yourself and your business stand out?
My first job was working at a pet supply store when I was in high school. I enjoyed working with people and their pets so much that I realized early on I wanted to have my own store someday. I continued to work at that store throughout college and when I graduated I went to work as a sales representative for a pet food manufacturer. As a pet food sales representative, I visited so many different stores and was always learning what works and what doesn’t in retail. I covered 3 states in my position with the manufacturing representative job and liked to listen to All Things Considered on NPR, which is how I came up with my store name – All Pets Considered. When I settled in Greensboro, I took a job as a sales representative for a pet supply distributor, and 6 months later I was finally able to open my own store. That was over 20 years ago and although it was difficult in the beginning, I feel so lucky to have that first job revolve around pets. I have been in the pet industry more than 30 years and feel very blessed to do what I love!
What do you do to make yourself and your business stand out?
I have never sold pets in my store, instead I have always supported rescue groups in various ways. We frequently hold adoption fairs at the store throughout the year. In addition, we hold pet food collection events to help support our local animal shelter and local rescues. Now, there are a lot more stores in the pet industry that do not sell pets and support rescue, but 20 years ago that was more unusual and my store stood out because of it. I will never forget one of my mentors in the pet business who had been in the industry for years tell me that I will never make it if I do not sell pets in my store. Obviously, he was mistaken on his assumption but at the time that was the way the industry operated.
In our store we are extremely customer service oriented and I have an exceptional staff that truly cares about the welfare of our customer’s pets. In fact, just about every staff member is involved in rescue at some level. We also get along well and I have the upmost respect for everyone, which results in an unusually low turnover rate.
Do you think there are challenges specific to women business owners?
When I first opened my store the landlord made my husband sign the lease with me even though he had absolutely no involvement in the store. I don’t think he would have made a man’s wife sign the lease if tables were turned and that bothered me. I have also occasionally felt I was perceived as difficult to work with if I voiced my concern or opinion about poor business practices with distributors or manufacturers where a man would have been respected for holding his ground. In the beginning I had to work harder to earn the respect I deserved, but it all paid off to be at this point –almost 21 years later.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
We are bursting at the seams and are always trying to find room or reorganizing to squeeze in new products. We need to expand our floor space, but I am reluctant to move because of our exceptional location. Sales continue to increase and our customer base continues to grow, so at some point we will have to expand our store.
What advice do you have for newcomers to the industry?
If someone was interested in opening a store I would advise them to do their homework and not open a store just because you like working with pets. A hobby does not always translate into a good business opportunity.
If someone is interested in working for a business within the industry I would say go for it! The industry is thriving and one of very few that is fairly recession proof. In fact, in tough times people tend to turn to their pets for comfort and many spend even more than usual on their furry family.
Visit us at Superzoo!
If you're going to Superzoo, July 23-25 in Las Vegas, NV, stop by the APPA booth (#852) to say 'hi' and grab some fun swag while you're there!
Sales & Marketing:
10 Key Metrics for Marketing Success in 2013
Planning your marketing strategy for 2013 requires more than just anticipating the latest trends and tools. To help you better support your organization’s goals, Vocus hascompiled a list of ten key metrics, or KPIs, to give you an all around view of your current strengths and weaknesses based on 2012 performance.
Click here to read their 10 Key Metrics for Marketing Success.
For Your Business:
The Happiness Advantage
“Poor people have big T.V’s. Rich people have big libraries.” Dan Kennedy
While this quote may come across as a bit harsh, the main message resonates with me. Reading is critical to both personal and professional growth and without a doubt, the most successful people I know read multiple business and personal development books each month. It’s easier then ever to make that happen with the proliferation of e-books, Audible.com, MP3 players, and the ease of ordering product through sites like Amazon.com.
So speaking of reading - I am a huge fan of a book I recently read titled The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor. Shawn spent over a decade living, researching, and lecturing at Harvard and this book is a result of one of the largest studies on happiness ever conducted. I wish every business leader and manager would read this so they will understand how very important having a positive workplace environment is to the success of a business. I think this is particularly true for small pet companies that can’t pay a lot in salary but can offer big benefits in terms of having a warm, happy, positive culture. And women are uniquely adept at creating this type of environment.
The basis of the book is this: Conventional wisdom holds that if we work hard we will be more successful, and if we are more successful, then we’ll be happy. If we can just find that great job, win that next promotion, lose those five pounds, happiness will follow. But recent discoveries in the field of positive psychology have shown that this formula is actually backward: Happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we are positive, our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic, resilient, and productive at work. This isn’t just an empty mantra. This discovery has been repeatedly borne out by rigorous research in psychology and neuroscience, management studies, and the bottom lines of organizations around the globe.
Every single business outcome increases when people are positive. Students that are positive score better on their tests. Corporate culture that emphasizes positivity will result in THREE times greater levels of creativity and employee retention. Who wouldn’t want THAT? This book will give you entertaining, practical, easy tips on how to reduce not only your stress but, just as important, the stress of those that work for you.
Research shows that unhappy employees take more sick days, staying at home an average of 15 extra sick days a year. That’s a huge difference and one that definitely should get your attention. Not to mention how much more fun it is to go to work in a positive environment. The Happiness Advantage is why cutting-edge companies like Yahoo have an in-house massage parlor, and why Google engineers are encouraged to bring their dogs to work. And why, just before noon, Google workers are e-mailed the daily menus at 11 themed "cafes" scattered across the company's Mountain View, CA campus. Having fun isn’t just about having fun – these companies know that it also leads to bottom-line results. The book covers many different ways that people can achieve happiness – happiness is available to everyone if they just shift their mindset and attitude.
The Happiness Advantage isn’t only about how to become happier at work. It’s also about how to reap the benefits of a happier and more positive mind-set in all areas of our lives. On a personal note, I am an avid cyclist. I notice a huge difference in my energy levels when I am thinking positive thoughts while cycling versus focusing on something negative. I’m sure there is an area of your life that you would notice the same type of difference.
I am recommending The Happiness Advantage for all of my consulting clients. I highly recommend it for both you and your staff.
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Dog Wants a Kitty! A new PAL video.
Since 2005, APPA has been sponsoring the Pets Add Life (PAL) campaign, which is designed to demonstrate the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership.
Most recently, PAL has produced videos on YouTube that highlight our latest message: Get a pal for your pet – an effort to encourage multiple pet ownership.
The APPA Professional Women's Network:
The APPA Professional Women's Network's (PWN) mission is to attract and engage women in all aspects of the pet industry. Our purpose is to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas, and to promote social and career development activities that can help everyone achieve greater success.
For updates on the PWN and our latest activities and events, visit www.americanpetproducts.org/pwn.