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How we sold 10,000 bags of dog treats in our first month

The idea behind came to us near the close of 2018 after one of our founder’s dogs died unexpectedly from a form of terminal cancer. This tragedy encouraged us to learn more about pet health.

As pet owners, we realized that there is an overwhelming amount of conflicting opinions surrounding pet health. We also know that diet plays a key role in our pet’s lives after seeing how our pets react to certain foods. We quickly noticed that there is an alarming amount of industry-wide problems, the most apparent one being a lack of pet food regulation in the majority of countries around the world. With nearly every pet food claiming to be “healthy and nutritious”, pet nutrition can be confusing and overwhelming. This is why we embarked on a journey to share truthful health information with pet owners through healthybud.

Where are you finding the most traction?

We couldn’t have imagined this but, we’ve sold all of our inventory. The same inventory that we projected to last us half a year, in only 24 days! A large reason why is because of our strong partnerships with subscription box services. The subscription e-commerce market has doubled in size each year over the past five years and it seems as if the trend has made its way into the pet industry.

We had the idea of partnering with unique pet boxes who we felt we’re aligned with our mission and values. Today, we are selling our line of single ingredient treats in various subscription box services in Canada & the U.S. Through these relationships, our products have the opportunity to be introduced to various high profile subscription pet box clients that include; supermodel Karlie Kloss, Washington Redskins player Ryan Kerrigan, former Victoria’s Secret model Lindsay Ellington, and many more.

We wouldn't be where we are today without instagram. “This powerful platform allows us to not only get in front of our target customers, but most importantly, to interact and get to know them. Instagram helps pull back the curtain and include pet parents on our journey. Between Instagram Stories allowing us to capture behind-the-scene moments and reposting amazing images we receive from our #healthygang friends, we are really starting to feel like we’re not only building a brand, but a community” says Ben David.

As a whole, healthybud helps make pet parenting simpler: from nutrition, to education, health care, and more! Our platform and products are designed to allow pet owners to better understand and take care of their pet, with the main goal of enhancing overall wellness and preventing disease — enabling pets to thrive!

After receiving feedback on our idea from experienced veterinarians and animal nutritionists, we realized that, like us, caring pet owners across the country are often misinformed about how to properly feed their pet and confused when it comes to their pet’s food choices. We’ve made it our goal to make pet ownership easier for pet lovers like ourselves and to combat the record rates of animal disease, obesity, and malnourishment.

Who’s buying from you and on which target market are you focusing your marketing efforts?

Millennials. They recently became the largest pet-owning cohort, making up more than half of small animal ownership and driving pet industry sales. Millennials are known to demand transparency and they will often use technology to optimize their lives and their pets’ lives.

As one would expect, we reach this age cohort in different ways than we would attempt to reach other pet owners. As millennials and animal lovers ourselves, we believe we have a unique advantage to market to our target demographic; our team continues to shape the healthybud brand by asking ourselves “would we be interested in this information, product or service?”.

What inspired you to leave your respective careers to focus on healthybud? How did you know this was the right opportunity?

Adrien and Kyle met in high school, where they became close friends. “We have a lot of love and respect for each other but most importantly we trust each other. We have always kept in touch while pursuing our different career paths, finance for myself and law for Adrien.” said Feigenbaum. And - if it weren’t for Adrien, Kyle and Dana (now dating for 5 years) would have never met! “She definitely balances us out, and brings a fun yet fierce energy and the creative touch we need.” added Kyle.

Healthybud was the opportunity that finally made sense for us to all pursue together as we each have such different yet complementary skill sets. We are a team of passionate and driven young entrepreneurs. Collectively, we have experience in the fields of finance, law, accounting, sales, architecture, music, design and health/wellness. We each have our own personal story connecting us to the pet space, and inevitably, to the conception of healthybud. We have each faced the deeply-rooted problems in the pet space at personal levels and are committed to fixing them.

We understand that if you want to make something out of nothing, you have to be all in. It didn’t take us long to realize we had a strong product and market fit. We’ve got some amazing early feedback from pets and their owners across the country. After deeply reflecting on our core values and evaluating our unique respective career trajectories, we decided that healthybud was the right venture to dive in to.

Millennial pet ownership is on the rise: sales in the North American pet industry are expected to hit $281 billion by 2023! Millennials are delaying marriage and putting off having children - choosing to start a family with their furry friend first. The healthybud team came together as a group of pet lovers destined to make a change in an industry that was ripe for disruption.

What’s unique about healthybud? There must be plenty competitors in the pet space, right?

Our goal is to help pet owners understand their pet so they can feel confident they are purchasing the right products and contributing to a healthier lifestyle for their pet. While there are many companies focusing on simple or limited-ingredient philosophies, healthy pet treats, or a variety of supplements, we have not come across one that has undertaken the assiduousness in their research efforts, along with an educational first approach. Those elements are core to healthybud.

Trust and authenticity are also core healthybud principles and those values are prominent in our sales strategy. We are focusing on a niche target market within the pet industry; as a D2C company, at its core, we have designed a strategy to gain trust and build meaningful relationships with its consumers. This will be a crucial component in order to retain lifelong customers and convert them into product and service advocates.

At the end of the day we are focusing on developing an active community of pet lovers. Our brand and community make us defensible.

Are there any apps or tools that you could not run your business without?

The most obvious answer is Shopify. Shopify is the centralized back office from where we can run our direct to consumer business. The platform has allowed us to position ourselves to scale our business right out of the gates; and has made it fairly easy to get in front of a global audience at incredible speed. Shopify has been especially good at using the economies of scale they achieve through their collective merchants and passing them down to newer brands like ourselves. Through Shopify and our other partners, across North America, we’ve been able to obtain better rates on shipping, labour, and processing allowing us to compete with more established brands in the space. We’ve also been able to cross sell our products on Instagram and Facebook leveraging social paid ads when economical to stay in front of existing customers and attract new ones.

What are your future goals? What can you tell us about the upcoming healthybud platform?‍

Our team has set some audacious short term goals. We launched our MVP in October 2019 and we got off to an unbelievable firing start.

We are working on our proprietary complete ingredient dog treats formulated by expert animal nutritionists and alongside McGill University (to be launched in December across North America). We’re excited about our upcoming products but healthybud is far more than a consumer product company. Beginning with nutrition and education; we focus on making pet parenting simple. Our upcoming platform offers pet parents a trusted source for pet health tips and pointers, high quality food products, preventative care services (veterinarian backed) and a wealth of pet ownership advice. We’ll be introducing different elements on the platform over the coming year - stay tuned!

Company Name: Healthybud
Founders: Kyle Feigenbaum, Adrien Malka and Dana Ben David



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