SMARTA interviews HOUNDWORTHY co-founders Morgan Cummins & Jo Holdaway to find out what drives the world’s most ambitious dog lifestyle company. This article originally appeared here.
60 SECOND START-UP: HOUNDWORTHY
Looking for luxury products for your four-legged companion that suits both your needs? Well this week, we’re featuring a business that deliver authentic goods for man’s best friend. But it’s not just about the product, HOUNDWORTHY do all in their power to ensure a tip-top service.
0-5 seconds: Sum your business up in a sentence
HOUNDWORTHY is a celebration of exceptional, worthwhile things for the canine-inclined, delivered via our online store www.houndworthy.com; we are the most authentic dog lifestyle company on the planet.
5-10 seconds: What’s the business model?
HOUNDWORTHY curates a world class collection of gear and apparel for discerning dog owners. We seek to encourage dog people to choose better goods for their hounds and make more informed, meaningful decisions about everything they share with their four-legged companions. HOUNDWORTHY is redefining the dog shopping experience and delivering products that simply make life with dogs better.
10-15 seconds: Who are your competitors?
The pet accessories industry is incredibly fragmented and there really isn’t any true champion for discerning dog owners. While a few luxury brand challengers exist, and serve the top end of the market, our approach is more 360. We believe dog people share universal truths, whether you’re aristocracy or a beach bum, urban hipster or suburban adventurer. No other dog lifestyle company is the real deal. We are.
15-20 seconds: What’s your USP?
Authentic superb quality dog products presented by real dog people, with our names and faces above the door, with no hard-sell bullshit and definitely no rubbish on sale to simply make a fast buck. We believe in what we do and stand behind everything we say, share, sell and think.
20-25 seconds: How have you funded it so far?
We launched our business on a wing and a prayer, from our own piggybanks, putting our own money behind something we whole-heartedly believe in. Now, 12 months in, we are exploring more expansive funding options and have been really pleased with the interest (globally) our business has attracted thus far.
25-30 seconds: What were you doing before?
Morgan was working as a freelance advertising creative for international branding agencies. Jo is a qualified graphic designer and art teacher, and was working as a freelance illustrator while also managing a small market research facility.
30-35 seconds: Where did the idea come from?
We had an epiphany moment while out walking our own dogs along the 2 miles of beach that’s on our doorstep; we looked around at the gorgeous landscape surrounding us here in Britain and realised hey, this was something that mattered. The beautiful English countryside represents something all dog owners would rather be doing… being outside, with their most loyal and loved companion, exploring, relaxing, just being happy and content and enjoying some freedom with a creature that loves you unconditionally.
35-40 seconds: What’s the smartest thing you’ve done so far?
Just going ahead and starting something we knew nothing about. Our business facilitates happiness… we make people very happy. Spend a few mins on any of our social media and you’ll soon see what we mean. And we work with the most socially enabling subject on the planet. Opening up and telling every person we meet about our business and our goal to build the world’s most meaningful and recognised dog brand is the smartest thing we’ve done so far – we’re getting a lot of love back.
40-45 seconds: What’s the stupidest?
Thinking we could do this alone. We’ve realised through doing that you need to pull the right people and resources towards your idea and yourselves in order for it to achieve greatness. Nowadays we’re embracing every chance to share our idea and our vision for our business, and connect with others who can help us realise it.
45-50 seconds: If your business was a biscuit, what would it be?
Gravy Bone, obviously. Except we’d probably re-work the recipe so it was the best damned thing your dog ever tasted.
50-55 seconds: Which idea are you a bit jealous of?
Not sure if jealousy is the right way to think about how we feel about the ideas that wow us. So few companies set out to change an industry, change the wider perception for something that applies to a lot of people in a lot of places… so for those that do it successfully, we have nothing but huge respect and admiration. So perhaps we have envy, not jealousy! Ha! The guys at Innocent did something great with their brand, proving that speaking with honesty and going against the grain when it comes to marketing “norms” can resonate with real people in their millions.
55-60 seconds: Where are you going to be in 12 months’ time?
Our business is poised for great things and opportunity quite literally bangs on our door with increasing regularity! The sky’s the limit. We genuinely feel that there is nothing that HOUNDWORTHY can’t do (and do better than anybody else). Look for more of our own signature range entering the market and interesting collaborations with companies who simply get why we exist and why life with dogs is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever know.