We caught up with newly-named, Pet Industry Woman Of The Year, Gila Kurtz. As president, co-founder, author, and busy entrepreneur, Gila is continually in motion. The mission of her business, Dog is Good, to Deliver Dogvergnügen (the joy you feel in the presence of Dog) is something that Gila delivers to friends and colleagues alike.
Q: What drew you to working in the pet industry?
A:Quite honestly, I needed to create a portable business and wanted to work with people and their dogs. My initial foray into the pet space was through dog training. (Gila is a professional dog trainer and has been for seventeen years). It was through my love of dogs and their families, and knowing how dogs have impacted my life, that lead me to create a product line that expressed that in a way that was stylish and unique. Thus, Dog Is Good was born.
Q: Did you start out owning your own business, or did you come to entrepreneurship after having tried other career paths?
A: As a military spouse, we moved every two years; I had to get creative on what I wanted to do for a career. I had several different businesses leading up to my dog training business. I built a successful gourmet coffee vending business, and it was through that business I determined spending my life working with dogs and people simply because my dogs joined me on my route.
They day I encountered a dog walker at the dog park, I realized I never knew dog walking existed as a career. Seventeen years ago, I decided the next time we moved I would follow the career path of being a dog walker. However, when we moved to Florida, I found out dog walkers really weren’t needed there and decided to combine my [degree and] love of teaching with my love of dogs to become a dog trainer. I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit and now pets and their parents are benefiting!
Q: Do you have a pet(s) that inspires your business and the way in which you run it?
A: When I first started my dog training business I had two dogs in my life who inspired the launch of Dog is Good: a Dalmatian-Lab mix named Zoe, and my hound-pointer-spaniel mix named SashA: Throughout the duration of the business, Henry, a Japanese Chin entered my life.
Though the dog who changed everything, was my yellow lab BOLO (short for Be On The Lookout). BOLO is the inspiration behind our message, “A Dog can change the way you see the world.” BOLO has also played a significant role in both a pivotal change I made in my own life and how I operate within the business. I want to share my message, “Fetch a life worth barking about,” in a different way.
In growing Dog is Good and its international business brand, I found I was so hyper-focused on the growth of the company to the exclusion of everything else in my life. When you’re juggling a million things, you sometimes forget the core of who you are, and it can become a recipe for a personal implosion. BOLO was the only one who pulled me out of a dark place. And in turn, given me the opportunity to (hopefully) help others fetch a great life through her gift.
Q: I love receiving my copy of Fur Covered Wisdom in my inbox weekly. What prompted that?
A: Fur Covered Wisdom came about from my journey of self-discovery from the eyes of Dog and Dog Is Good “Speak.” It was through that journey that came the book, “Fur Covered Wisdom,” and that is to me, my mission in life. My core purpose for being on this earth is to share wisdom with others I hopes of helping them shift how they might “fetch a life worth barking about.”
We have incorporated that mantra into the Dog Is Good brand and will grow that into a bigger component in the operations of the business. The message has resonated and it drives me to know I can personally impact another person in a positive way.
Q: If you could give advice to anyone reading this article about how to grow a successful business, what would it be?
A: First, you need to be very clear on what success looks like to you. Second, understand that you are embarking on a roller coaster ride. All the ups of a roller coaster ride will be there, as will all the dips. This is normal. If you understand why you’re doing what you do, it will be the roller coaster ride of a lifetime!
Q: I’m sure you’ve been asked this a thousand times already, but tell me a bit about your feelings on having been named Woman Of The Year In The Pet Industry.
A: Being named PIWY is humbling. There are so many women who are achieving some very great things. They are making a difference along the way, and to me that is the most important part of living—making a difference. I’m honored and thrilled to have been recognized.
Robbi Hess, award-winning author, is multi-petual: She shares her home with two Devon Rex kittens, three adult rescue cats, a mini poodle, a Goldendoodle, three lizards and two ferrets. When not caring for her pets, she is an editor, speaker, time management and productivity guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words Matter, My Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof.