Pet Insight talked with David Blatte, the CEO of pet carrier and toy manufacturing company Quaker Pet Group, about weathering the economic downturn and how to stay innovative in the pet industry.
Pet Insight: What would you say is your “flagship” product or line?
David Blatte: We have a very concise line of product. If we had to pick two it would be Sherpa as the flagship brand for traveling safely and comfortably with your pet, and goDog as the flagship brand that equates to fun, innovative and longer-lasting toys.
PI: How was Quaker affected by the recession? What measures did Quaker take to remain profitable?
DB: Although absolutely nothing is “recession proof” – we are fortunate to be in the somewhat of a “recession-resistant” industry. We’ve all heard stories about how people will cut back on their own incidentals before their pets. We focused on operational efficiencies and were able to make procedural changes in our warehousing and product handling that helped compensate for slower retail growth.
PI: How do you stay on top of the latest technology and trends?
DB: We do focus groups, talk to lots of retail and pet owners, and hear what they want. We try to find out what the issue is and how to solve that.
PI: Can you give an example of solving an issue?
DB: One is our patented product with micro-encapsulation for catnip, which releases catnip scent like a scratch and sniff. Catnip normally lasts for 15 to 20 minutes, but this can last for seven to eight weeks… Not only is this the first of its kind in the market, but almost all of the products are manufactured here in the USA.