Fashion Meets Function
Pet Rageous Designs offers products that combine design and fashion with function.
Gretchen George has always had an affinity for dogs. A life-long dog owner, George, like many other pet owners, treats her dogs as members of her family, and shops for them accordingly. But George always had trouble finding fun, good-looking, affordable dinnerware for her canine family members–even though she worked in the housewares industry as a buyer of dinnerware and ceramics. So, in June of 2004, George decided to combine her professional experience with her love for dogs, and Pet Rageous Designs was born.
Pet Rageous got its start at 2004’s Global Pet Expo, where Gretchen George showcased samples of the company’s first stoneware bowls. There was a lot of interest. “We were known as ‘the ceramic bowl guys,’” says Chris George, the company’s vice president of sales and marketing. “What we have done since then, however, is try to become a complete bowl supplier. We now also offer plastic and stainless-steel bowls, as well as toys, feeders, placemats, clothing and mugs for pet owners. We have also added travel items to the mix, like collapsible bowls, treat bags and poop bag holders.”
Since 2004, the company has grown in many ways. “We have expanded our office space to about four times its original size,” explains Chris George. “We have also almost doubled our staff and grown our customer list from 100 to a few thousand. We have taken on independent sales reps across the country, and Gretchen has even hired a designer to help her conceptualize product designs. In addition to the structural growth, this year we went through a brand change, redesigning both our logo and our overall look.”
This year, Pet Rageous also created their first line of plush toys. The company’s goal is to eventually become a full-blown toy supplier. “We’ve branded the new line as ‘my pet’s pet,’ and there are different collections within the group. For example, there is a dinosaur collection, called Dino Rageous, and each dinosaur has its own name–Tino, Gino and Dino.”
This fall, in addition to new bowl designs, Pet Rageous will introduce another line of clothing, which uses more rugged, updated materials.
Keep it Fresh
“When choosing a selection of bowls for a store, I suggest keeping a core mix on the shelf, in all mediums–stainless-steel, plastic and ceramic,” says Chris George. “Stocking basic patterns that fit into any home décor is essential, but retailers should also add a few fashionable, trendy bowls to the mix, in hot colors and styles.”
“Keep in mind that customers rarely need a new bowl; it’s more of an impulse purchase. So the best thing a retailer can do when selling items in this category is to keep the selection fresh and follow the current trends.”
One idea is to bring in new bowls for holidays or seasons. “We offer bowls that say ‘Diva’ or ‘Spoiled,’ which are good to sell around Valentine’s Day. We also have brightly colored bowls that are great for spring and earth-toned bowls that work for fall. Retailers should think about the way customers might decorate their homes at certain times of the year and merchandise accordingly,” says Chris George. “Red and green bowls sell well in December, and pastel bowls sell well in April. There are so many ways to play with the display.”
Pet Rageous is all about combining design and fashion with function. The company’s products are whimsical, yet practical–and sometimes a little outrageous. As for the people behind the products? “We are genuine, care about what we do and do what we say we will,” says Chris George. “I think that translates into good business and good relationships, and that translates into success.”