A Team Player
According to executive vice president Leslie Yellin, Multipet International brings a number of key resources to the partnerships it forms with retailers.
Pet Business: What sets Multipet International apart from other toy manufacturers in the pet industry?
Leslie Yellin: Our relationships with our customers are more like partnerships. We continue to educate ourselves on the challenges in the retail community and how we can bring tools to the table to help our partners succeed. It is not just about selling products—our toys sell themselves. It is about helping to create a retail environment that works from the distribution level to creative on-trend merchandising to department-level support. It is this type of partnership that maintains our long-term retail relationships.
In addition, our products come to market with a team of experts behind them. For example, in the cat category, we work with a cat behaviorist to ensure that our toys are not just appealing to the consumer who purchases the product, but engaging and desired by the end user—the cats.
PB: What were some of the notable product introductions from Multipet in 2014?
Yellin: Many items were notable, but we were very proud when our Multipet Loofa Launcher was awarded the 2014 Pet Business Industry Recognition Award for Best Plush Dog Toy. It was a proud moment to not only have our branded Loofa Dog make the grade, but also our sling-shot type launcher toy get called out for creativity. The Loofa Launcher flies really far, and it also floats, making it a great interactive toy for water dogs and warm climates.
PB: Can you hint at some of the exciting things Multipet will feature at Global Pet Expo?
Yellin: We are really excited about this year’s Global Pet Expo. Let’s just say that you won’t be able to not see what is new. Our customer base has been asking us to come to market with a line that helps support a category that they are challenged with. The only hint I will give is the word “strong.”
PB: What are your expectations for the pet toy category in 2015? Are there any particular trends that you believe will be important in the future?
Yellin: The category continues to become more analytically sophisticated. This past year was the first time the U.S. Census released consumer purchasing information directly linked to pet owners. When studying purchasing habits and working with industry experts, it is clear that there are definite emerging patterns and trends.
PB: What does the future hold for Multipet?
Yellin: We will continue to lead the pack by providing true statistical data directly linked to the emerging consumer buying habits. Our products, whether they are toys that were introduced 20 years ago or just being launched at Global Pet Expo, will satisfy all play types, retailer needs and consumer wants. Multipet continues to be progressive, and we are very excited for our future endeavors.