Putting the “Fun” in Functional
Jeff Camosci, vice president of marketing and sales, North America, for WHIMZEES, discusses how the company is revolutionizing oral care with a growing lineup of unique, natural dental chews.
Pet Business: Tell us about WHIMZEES’ approach to making dental health products for pets. What sets the company apart from other players in the market?
Jeff Camosci: Our mission at WHIMZEES is simple: We want to make the healthiest and most fun, high-quality dental dog chews in the world. Our products are unlike any other dog dental chew—using six primary natural, vegetarian ingredients, all sourced from Western Europe. WHIMZEES are sustainably produced at our state-of-the-art facility in the northeastern region of The Netherlands.
We put the fun in functional! Our unique texture and knobby shapes help to ensure proper blood flow through the gums and help to prevent the build-up of tartar and bad breath. Our chews are designed to last a long time, since we believe that a dental chew should last long enough to perform the function that the pet parents purchased it for.
WHIMZEES will continue to lead the way in educating pet-parents about the importance of a daily dental routine versus just “treating.” We also continue to remain loyal to the pet specialty channel, drive innovation and generate incrementality for the overall growth of the dental category. As one of the fastest growing brands in one of the fastest growing categories, we are confident that you won’t find a brand more committed to dogs, dog-lovers and dental health.
PB: Earlier this year, WHIMZEES was acquired by WellPet. Why did a union between the two companies make sense? How has the acquisition affected WHIMZEES?
Camosci: WellPet and WHIMZEES share the same mission of transforming the lives of pets by providing the very best in natural nutrition, treats and dental chews. We are all extremely passionate about bringing only the best, highest-quality, natural products to the pets we love. Our teams share the same vision and culture, making WellPet the perfect home as WHIMZEES continues to grow. We will remain committed to our original vision of providing only the best, healthiest and most fun dog products to the world in a sustainable, socially responsible way.
Combined, WellPet and WHIMZEES bring more than 100 years of experience developing and delivering nutritional excellence to pets. That’s made possible by the commitment of the teams in both organizations, our state-of-the-art, company-owned facilities and the quality of our products.
Through the acquisition, WellPet will be able to provide additional resources for WHIMZEES internationally, which means more support for our loyal partners and, more importantly, more fun for pets. Our new collaboration will allow WHIMZEES to serve more pet families and bring more health, education, happiness and fun to dogs globally.
PB: What are some of WHIMZEES’ most popular products? What are some key features of these products?
Camosci: Today, we have nine whimsical shapes designed specifically for maximum dental hygiene—and our most popular forms aren’t your typical dog chew shapes, with our Alligators, Hedgehogs, Stix and Veggie Sausages leading the way.
We use a truly special combination of ingredients, along with a unique texture. The grooves and knobs assist in cleaning those hard to reach places and help to ensure proper blood flow through the gums, preventing bad breath and limiting tartar build-up.
Our consumers tell us they love that we don’t have artificial ingredients, preservatives, GMOs, gluten, corn, sugar or meat. They also thank us for the short list of natural ingredients in our products.
PB: At SuperZoo, WHIMZEES launched the Brushzees line into the pet dental health category. What are some of the important features of Brushzees?
Camosci: At WHIMZEES, we want to revolutionize doggie dental care and we could not be any more excited about our newest addition to the family – Brushzees … the new shape of clean. Officially launching at SuperZoo 2017 in Las Vegas, the new innovative design keeps our whimsical and fun mantra—which is so important to the WHIMZEES brand—while continuing to make oral health routines better for pets and the people who love them. Brushzees will be available only in the USA market at first, with international expansion of Brushzees to follow.
PB: Are there any other products that the company has launched recently?
Camosci: Within the last year, we launched our Value Variety Containers, which creatively combine our whimsical shapes into one larger package. We offer three sizes—for small, medium and large dogs. By offering this larger pack size, we can appeal to our loyal WHIMZEES consumers with the hope they see the value per piece, as well as encourage usage on daily basis, since we know oral care should be a daily routine, not just something that becomes a concern when thought about.
PB: What types of sales and marketing support does WHIMZEES provide for pet specialty retailers?
Camosci: WHIMZEES continues to innovate and support pet specialty retail partners with eye-catching POP display options that are easy to customize based on floor space and best-selling SKU combinations. Earlier this year, WHIMZEES unveiled two new, unique permanent displays on wheels that offer space-efficient ways to promote bulk product, value bags and our variety containers.
We also offer countertop units and dump bins that can be placed in high-traffic areas to promote the ever-important impulse buy, which helps our retail partners build the basket and increase their units per transaction.
WHIMZEES also offers a variety of samples with the objective to bring more ‘dogsumers’ into our brand. Trial is so important in the treating world, and we want to do everything we can to assist our retail partners to help bring more families into the brand. Samples can also be requested for special events or used in conjunction with a specific program that we have developed.
Our retail partners can also access the WHIMZEES online brand portal, which houses all of our POP, ingredient and brand information, as well as creative elements that they need on a day-to-day basis to make their jobs a little easier.
PB: What does the future hold for WHIMZEES?
Camosci: Our future is very bright, thanks to our products and, of course, the support of our loyal partners. WHIMZEES is among the most advanced, innovative and forward-thinking marketers and manufacturers of dog dental chews in the world. Our fully automated facility produces to human-food-grade standards.
We take saving energy, recycling and waste management very seriously. Our plant is heated by energy generated in the manufacturing process. The machines we use save up to 40 percent in energy, and we take part in preemptive waste management, allowing us to be nearly a zero-waste facility.
Now, as a proud member of the WellPet Family of brands, WHIMZEES will continue to innovate and build on the natural dental category. Our unwavering commitment is to continue educating pet-parents worldwide on the importance of daily, natural dental health care. With 80 percent of all dogs having some type of periodontal issue by the time they are three years old, we feel a deep responsibility to continue providing dogs and their owners with the best, natural product solutions. PB