Who are you?

Here at Scout & Zoe's we create the world's finest dog chews and treats. Our chews are made from naturally shed USA premium elk antlers; our treats are made from human quality raw ingredients that are procured from a restaurant supply company. None of our products contain any chemicals or preservatives and all are sourced and made in the United States. Green, organic, sustainable and a renewable resource our products are rocking the doggie world one beautiful dog at a time!

Why Did you start your business?

I started my business to solve a need for my German Shepherd, Zoe. She has had allergies to beef her entire life and has never known the pleasure of a bone. She needed something to chew on so I set out to find something for her. During her annual visit to our vet, I was complaining that I could not find anything for her to chew on. He said, "You are a smart cookie. Why don't you just invent something? And when you do, I'll invest in it." Not one to shy away from a challenge, I set out to create something for Zoe. It took me three years but I finally hit upon the idea for antler chews for dogs. Great for dogs with allergies and wonderful for all dogs to chew on! Now six years later, the line has expanded from one product in five sizes to 15 SKUs and a presence in four countries across the globe. That veterinarian never did invest in the company. Oh well....

What makes your business unique?

We strive to create products that are especially good for dogs with allergies. So capturing a niche market is ideal, if you are able to do it. Our market not only includes dogs with allergies and digestive sensitivities, but also includes every dog on the planet that loves to chew and loves to eat treats. So the world is our oyster. Scout and Zoe are my actual dogs. And they both have very severe allergies so I know from personal experience what works and what doesn't with regard to dogs with allergies. Scout and Zoe are eager taste testers for new products. If they aren't happy with a product, it never sees the light of day for the public. Scout and Zoe have the final say-so in whether a product goes to market or falls by the wayside. Another thing that makes us unique is that we use only premium raw ingredients. That drives the cost of goods up but is well worth it for pet parents who want the peace of mind that comes with knowing the source of a product. Scout & Zoe's has utilized several clever marketing ideas from guys wearing our shirts all day and eating our treats during live broadcasts (thanks Jason!) to sponsoring live mascots of universities. We love to see pets who are enjoying our products thrive. That truly brings a smile to our faces! Doggie wellness and happiness is what we are all about! What a joy to work with and for dogs every day. Dog hair is my best wardrobe accessory!

What's the biggest mistake you've made with your business and what did you learn from it??

The biggest mistake I have learned is that I should always trust my own intuition. Every time I second guess myself, something implodes. I'm a lot smarter than I thought I ever was. Daddy always said I was smarter than a show dog. I always thought that was a complement until I learned show dogs were mainly pretty and at times, not very smart. Thanks Daddy. I know you meant well.... The second biggest mistake was to buy traditional advertising. It never, ever worked and it was really expensive. Utilizing unusual, unique and clever marketing opportunities which include social media have given us the best result with regard to exposure and return on investment (sales).

what big goal do you have for your company and how do you plan to achieve it?

My goal for Scout & Zoe's is world domination. I want Scout & Zoe's to be a household name for safe, natural, nutritious treats and products for dogs. I started in 2010 with a need for a product to solve an issue for Zoe. When I hit on the idea for a product, I brought it to market in only 14 days. It was created, packaged, branded and ready to sell in just two weeks. And I debuted it at a deer and turkey expo. ....trying to sell antler dog chews to deer hunters. Through perseverance, creativity and a lot of smart work (and yes some hard work too), I've grown Scout & Zoe's from the idea in 2010 with one product to five years later selling our product globally in over 600 retail stores. Currently, we are doing business in Hong Kong, China, Canada and the United States. How did I do it? Strategic movements into new markets. Do your research and go after the accounts you want to secure. Also, thinking big. Not a little. But HUGE! People smile when I tell them my goal is world domination. In just a few short years, they will say, "She did it!"

what advice or tips do you have for people wanting to start their own business or follow their dreams?

First of all, it at all possible find your passion. I have always loved dogs but never realized until a few short years ago that I could begin a business wrapped around the health and happiness of my beloved dogs. Once I realized it was possible and figured out the why, figuring out the how was pretty natural. Everything just seemed to fall into place. Even though not many people around me believed I could make this happen, I knew I could. I felt it and I totally believed it. I could see the end result. So believe in what you are doing. I've never been one to think on a small level so world domination is totally doable in my world. If you have a business you want to start, don't wait. Do it NOW! Don't wait until the time is right or the product is perfect. You have to start somewhere and sloppy success is still success. That is how I started. The first version of our packaging seems crude by our standards today. But I have to tell you, I was very, VERY proud of those first packages. I still am. It was my starting point on a very worthwhile journey. I've often heard the phrase, "Good is good enough." That applies here. If you wait until you think everything is perfect, you will never begin. Don't be one of those people who say, "I wonder what would have happened if only I had done......" Every challenge is a learning experience. You could view the as set backs. But if you try to see the lesson in each challenge, it will make you wiser and your business much stronger.

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