Kelly Ison is a busy entrepreneur who started her business—like many professionals in the industry—because of her beloved pup, Abbey. I caught up with Kelly Ison about her pet treat business and Abbey.
Q: Kelly what was the impetus behind Einstein Pets?
A: It was because of Abbey, our “Westie” (West Highland White Terrier). This breed, we knew, was prone to skin conditions, digestive issues and allergies. We knew we wanted to treat her like family—because she is our family—and we wanted the best for her. She was the inspiration behind the unique treats we make.
Q: What unique knowledge did you have, or need to have, to start a treat company?
A: As an educator, a nutritionist and a pet lover, and as the founder of Einstein Pets, I brought more than twenty-five global corporate management experience. All of that knowledge helped me successfully launch and manage the business.
Q: Did you see a need in the pet market that your treats could fill?
A: Through extensive research and knowledge in nutrition and global transformation I had the understanding of what was not in the market for dogs and what should be.
I discovered that the “superfood” chia seed wasn’t being included in pet treats. I knew that because we were including chia seed our treats were unique and that we were originals! So, the company was founded in 2012, and we launched our first treat in 2013.
Q: Tell us a little bit about the power of Chia.
A: We like to say and use the hashtag #poweredbychia, and we use limited ingredients in our treats. It was important that we didn’t lose any nutritional benefit of the chia seed in the treats. Chia seeds are low in calories, an excellent source of Omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, and rich in fiber, iron and calcium.
The most amazing thing about these little seeds is that they help stabilize blood sugar, so our treats are great to give a pup before physical activity like a hike. Dogs that are prediabetic or diabetic can benefit from them. Everyone should love the chia seed!
Q: I see that you put out different treats for the holidays. How far in advance do you need to begin planning for the holidays?
A: We love to have holiday treats available because it’s just fun and pet parents like to include their dogs in the holidays! We start brainstorming at least one- to one-and-a-half years ahead of the holiday. We have a full product launch process we follow that takes us from brainstorming, to test kitchen, to testing, packaging and getting to market.
Q: Is there any inspiration behind the holiday-themed treats? Other than the holiday itself?
A: The inspiration came from wanting the pet parent to think the treats smelled so good, they would eat them, too! Everyone deserves a holiday dinner, especially your pup!
Q: As pet parents train their dogs, in either basic obedience or trick training, how can they incorporate your treats into training routines?
A: Our treats are dense, but easy to break. This allows trainers to use the treats throughout the dog’s workout/training. Trainers also see the benefit of chia seed; giving a dog one or two of our treats helps stabilize the dog’s blood sugar and prevent spikes.
Q: Is there a treat, in your line, that you’d recommend over another when training a dog?
A: A lot of trainers like to use a high-smelling treat (not necessarily a meat product) to keep a dog’s attention. Many trainers use PB’N Jelly Time or Turkey Time for training, but certainly any one of our products can be used!
Q: Tell us a bit more about when your love of dogs began and a little more about Abbey—the dog who owns your heart right now.
A: I grew up on a farm, so loving animals has always been in my blood. I’ve grown up with many dogs, when dogs were more of a family dog, not my own. It was really not until we adopted Abbey, that I truly understood the love for another being. She is my everything. My husband, Robert, who is also my business partner, knows this is true!
Q: I see you just received an award, tell us about that.
A: I’ve been honored to receive a few awards in the pet industry, but this most recent one, Localpreneur Of The Year, was presented by SRQ Magazine, a program that recognizes entrepreneurs who are running locally-owned businesses with purpose and passion. It’s also awarded to business owners who have earned the respect of their peers in the following areas: corporate acumen, innovation, philanthropy, leadership and community impact. All of those reasons add up to why I am so honored to have won the award!
Q: What advice can you give to someone who may be looking to be an entrepreneur in the pet industry.
A: Be you because everyone else is already taken. I know this is corny, but you can’t be any other way. Remember, just because you think you “don’t like people and because of that, you want to go into the pet industry—you still have to deal with people—the pet parents.
One of my biggest pieces of advice is to templatize everything. Spend time, prior to any kind of launch, to work on your documents, email standard replies and more. Create processes that can be leveraged and expanded as needed. Getting templates and processes in place will save you time and money as you grow.
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.
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