Pet â€˜n Shape president, Ahdee Abramson, talks about his company's success in the freeze-dried treat category and why the company continues striving to revolutionize the category. By Lindsey Wojcik
Ahdee Abramson knows determination goes a long way. When Los Angeles-based Pet Ventures entered the pet treat category with Pet ‘n Shape chicken jerky treats in 2005, Abramson put his determination to work. He sold product door to door around the Los Angeles area and made deliveries to retailers out of the back of his car before the company gained distributors. “It was a grind, but we were fortunate enough to gain some stores that gave us the momentum to go to local distributors,” says Abramson, president of Pet ‘n Shape. “We started to build up a distribution network and we were fortunate for some national distribution.”
Pet ‘n Shape has come a long way since Abramson’s days of door-to-door selling. In addition to gaining national distribution, the company began to develop its product lineup. After much experimentation, it now boasts a finely tuned catalog. “We always knew we wanted to expand outside of chicken jerky and diversify our product lineup,” Abramson says.
The lineup includes a variety of chicken, duck and lamb treats, long-lasting chews and most recently freeze-dried treats for dogs and cats. “Those really set us apart from just being a chicken jerky company to really kind of changing a category that has been very much the same for many years.”
The company recognized the popularity and benefits of freeze-dried treats but wanted to find a different approach to the category. “We felt it was a perfect opportunity to take freeze dried and add real fruits and vegetables, thereby also giving the animal the added vitamins and nutrients,” he says.
The company worked with its vendor partners to develop a treat with the right mix. The result was one of Pet ‘n Shape’s best selling treats. In 2010, Pet ‘n Shape introduced Freeze Dried Chicken Liver PLUS treats with real fruits and vegetables in a variety of flavors: Pumpkin & Apple, Banana & Kiwi, Peas & Carrots and Sweet Potato & Broccoli.
With the success of the chicken liver flavor, Pet ‘n Shape quickly moved toward its next freeze-dried launch—its Freeze Dried Peanut Butter PLUS, available in three flavors: Apple & Banana, Celery & Carrots and Blueberry & Strawberry. “We were the first to do that—to take peanut butter that we know dog love and freeze dry it with real fruits and vegetables,” he says. “We’re really excited about that in terms of changing or evolving the category.”
As Pet ‘n Shape ventured outside of its chicken jerky beginnings, it has continued to focus on controlled growth in order to maintain its core values, which include quality, service and support. “We believe in quality products and outstanding customer service for everybody we touch,” Abramson says. “We’re always there to support those who support us.”
That support reaches retailers through sampling programs for its freeze-dried line, coupons and signage. The heavy sampling program and eye-catching packaging is what Abramson thinks makes Pet ‘n Shape stand out. “We’re pretty confident that when the consumer tries [our product] that they will buy it,” he says.
The company continues to thrive on determination as it prepares for more growth. “We want to grow and evolve into new products, perhaps enter different categories in the future,” Abramson says. With more mobility, Abramson says, Pet ‘n Shape will continue to be a good partner to its customers. “We believe that service is what it comes down to.”