Greetings! Here is the next edition of the APPA's Professional Women's Network 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!
PWN Event Recap featuring Kathy Ireland:
PWN Breakfast at Global Pet Expo Draws Record Crowd with Featured Speaker Kathy Ireland
More than two hundred people attended the third annual APPA Professional Women’s Network Breakfast that took place Friday, March 14, 2014 during Global Pet Expo. The featured speaker at this year’s event was lifestyle designer Kathy Ireland of kathyireland Worldwide®, (kiWW®).
As the special guest speaker, Ms. Ireland shared her experiences that made her one of the 50 most influential people in fashion, and as CEO of kiWW, her $2 billion annual sales brand which is listed as the 25th most powerfully licensed brand by License Magazine.
Ms. Ireland gave valuable insights and advice to a record crowd at the event. Not only is she an influential business leader across many industries, but also has a long running partnership with several pet wellness organizations and charities of interest to the PWN members. She truly is a leading advocate for protection of pets, and was incredibly well received at the event.
APPA’s Professional Women's Network's (PWN) mission is to attract and engage women from the entire pet industry. PWN provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, and promotes social and career development activities that result in greater success for the industry in total. The event was sponsored by the APPA Professional Women’s Network.
Check out coverage of the event at Global Pet Expo http://bcove.me/u3qud81g
An Interview with Jamie Idzi, owner of Yuppy Puppy in
Jamie Idzi sits down with APPA to talk about her business, Yuppy Puppy. Find out how she got started, what her challenges are, and where she sees her business in the future.
How did you get started in the pet industry?
I began working in the pet industry just after graduating high school in 2004 at a dog boutique, Yuppy Puppy, located in a quaint coastal town in Delaware. I quickly fell in love with the business, the customers, the memories, and of course the dogs. In 2006, the owner announced she was selling Yuppy Puppy and I saw an opportunity to see what I could for the business. I was ready for the challenge and my heart was already in it. In January 2007, I acquired Yuppy Puppy and have spent the last seven years growing the company to what it is today.
What do you do to make yourself and your business stand out?
Yuppy Puppy caters to both two and four legged customers. In addition to offering accoutrements for dogs, I also sell dog-themed gifts and apparel for people. The unique mix of product and creative merchandising techniques is what sets Yuppy Puppy apart from other pet businesses.
Do you think there are challenges specific to female business owners?
I think it can be challenging for women who try to find the right balance between career and family life. I also believe that each woman may have her own challenges unique to her lifestyle and business/career so it's a bit tricky to answer this question without generalizing or sounding presumptuous. I have only ever really worked for myself and have not personally experienced any challenges. I feel strongly that anyone can find reward in what they do, regardless of gender.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the future?
My business and I have grown together, it is inherently a part of me and will continue to be for a very, very long time. Yuppy Puppy is a single unit-store at the moment, though an additional location in the future is something I'd definitely consider.
What advice do you have for newcomers to the industry?
Be patient, embrace the industry and let it embrace you. Always, always aspire for more, and don't be afraid to dream.
Visit us at Superzoo!
If you're going to Superzoo, July 22-24 in Las Vegas, NV, stop by the APPA booth (#5108) to say 'hi' and grab some fun swag while you're there!
Sales & Marketing:
How to Have a Better Conversation with Buyers
Are your sales conversations missing the mark with your buyers? Being aware of what drives purchasing decisions can help you better prepare yourself for what buyers want to hear and hopefully result in a greater bottom line for your business.
For Your Business:
Surviving Stress through Passion and Giving Back
Before I launched my career as an investment banker specializing in the pet industry, I was the owner of a series of pet companies in Dallas, Texas. The last company I owned before moving to Colorado was Avian Adventures bird cages, which I sold to Midwest Homes for Pets in August, 2007. Unfortunately, several years earlier, Avian Adventures was on the brink of bankruptcy for nearly three years because my much larger competitor decided to sue me for the sole purpose of destroying my business. Every morning I woke up with a sinking feeling in the pit in my of stomach, worried that this might be the day I would have to give up on the dream that I held so dearly for so many years—to have a thriving pet product manufacturing business. To say this was a stressful time would be putting it mildly.
My competitor almost won. He cost me millions of dollars in revenue due to legal complications, countless sleepless nights, and hundreds of thousands in lost profits. But in the end he didn't win. He didn't realize that I was playing the "game" of business for a reason much greater than just making profits.
Avian Adventures cages were designed to provide a safe, stimulating environment for birds, and of course for their humans, who wanted nothing but the best for their parrots. Our mission was to create value to our customers through innovation, education, communication and marketing and to enhance the quality of life for all exotic birds.
Most people are not aware that bird rescues and sanctuaries are bursting at the seams with parrots who were abandoned largely due to misinformation. Remember the “Dancing Cockatoo” video on You Tube? There are thousands of parrots just like him—smart, beautiful, and homeless. During my 11 years as owner of Avian Adventures, I saw hundreds of heartbreaking cases of avian abandonment, neglect, and abuse. I served on the boards of several of these sanctuaries and donated a significant amount of our proceeds and product to non-profit organizations whose missions were in alliance with my vision.
I was in this business to realize my passion: “Every companion bird living in a healthy, loving, stimulating environment.” I was in it for more than money. One of my favorite Carolisms (I just made that word up) is “Passion and persistence go hand in hand.” My guess is that many of you reading this column will be able to relate to that statement as the pet industry is full of people who are in this for more than the money. It’s what makes the industry such a delightful place to earn a living.
So, as hard as my competitor tried to shut me down, my dream of making my living in tandem with my mission kept me going when most people would have thrown in the towel. I'm sure I would not have survived the brutal attack on my business or the years and years of losses, heartache, frustration, missed expectations, wasted time, and wasted money had I been manufacturing paper-clips instead of fabulous homes for beloved parrots. Without my passion, I doubt I would have survived long enough to see a successful resolution to the lawsuit, or stand by long enough to realize the profitable sale of Avian Adventures. Do you have that kind of passion for what you do? I hope so, because you never know when you’ll need to draw on that passion to get you through the potholes and pitfalls that can get in the way of achieving your dream.
When times get tough like they often will when you operate a business, I like to concentrate on the joy I feel when giving back to my community. For me, it’s a highly effective way to deal with the stress that life throws your way.
And you never know where those volunteer efforts will take you! Avian Adventures would not have existed had I not served on the board of the Pet Industry Distributor’s Association - PIDA (I used to own a distribution company before starting the bird cage company). As a board member, I was in the lucky position to get to know many other influential distributors. I discovered they were looking for a line of large bird cages to sell, but didn’t know where to find one. My entrepreneurial wheels began turning and I started Avian Adventures. My company grew very quickly because of my relationships with PIDA board members. If I had not been serving as a volunteer on that board, I wouldn't have known about the significant demand for this product. I hope many of you have experienced similar results in your roles as trade association and non-profit volunteers.
I find that when you give your time, wisdom, and insight to others, you experience multitudes of joy and fulfillment, and you put yourself in a position to meet people that may influence your work. At the end of the day, the passion we feel to better the lives of companion animals is what keeps us going through thick and thin. To quote Oprah Winfrey, “Passion is the log that keeps the fire of purpose blazing.”
I would love to hear stories and lessons from PWN members of overcoming adversity through passion and persistence. I’ll put them together for one of my upcoming columns!
Carol Frank of Boulder, CO, is the founder of four companies in the pet industry. As a Managing Director at SDR Ventures Investment Bank, she is a registered Investment Banker and leads the team in executing pet industry transactions including M&A, capital formation and strategic advisory services. She is also the owner of BirdsEye Consulting, the consummate source for pet sector consulting expertise in licensing, executive recruiting, and strategy. She can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pets in the Classroom
The Pets in the Classroom program was established by the Pet Care Trust to assist teachers in obtaining and maintaining classroom pets. The program benefits students by teaching them responsible, long-term pet care at an early age and providing the psychological and developmental benefits associated with the human-animal bond. Studies have shown that caring for pets has a positive effect on children, improving school attendance and teaching children responsibility, as well as encouraging nurturing and building self-esteem. Nearly 40,000 Pets in the Classroom grants have been awarded to teachers, bringing a pet into the lives of more than 1.2 million children.
For more information on the Pets in the Classroom grant program, visit www.petsintheclassroom.org.