For the Love of Pets and Planet
Frank Pohl, owner/president of Bio-Groom, discusses how his company is utilizing the latest and greatest ingredients to advance the safety and performance of pet grooming products.
Pet Business: How is the home-grooming segment performing in pet stores? Why is this an important category for independent retailers?
Frank Pohl: Home grooming is a category that has always been important and always will be important for pet stores.
What has happened over the years is that the awareness and knowledge of the consumer has increased so much in regards to the products they are using on their pets that retailers cannot afford to have an inferior grooming department. Can you imagine going into a pet store that is not properly merchandised and does not have a good selection for its customers? It just wouldn’t make sense. It would reflect poorly on the store overall.
PB: What are the latest and most important trends in home-grooming products?
Pohl: Again, consumers are just so much smarter and more aware of the products they use on their pets, so you have to have products that they trust are safe and effective. Increasingly, pet owners are demanding more and more from manufacturers, in terms of providing the quality that they are looking for. If that quality is not there, those consumers will go someplace else to get it.
More than ever before, people want to know what’s cleaning their dog. So for the past four or five years, we have put our total ingredients statement on our bottles. This way, there is no question what is in our products—just the same as in the human-products market.
PB: How can retailers drive more sales of home-grooming products in their stores?
Pohl: It is really important that you have a well-educated store staff ready to help customers. To help with this, retailers should rely on a variety of sources for information, including their distributors and the product manufacturers. For example, we offer our retailers an in-store education program. And we also offer promotional resources like display and sampling programs.
When it comes down to it, we want to support independent pet stores in any way we can. Another example of this is that when you go to our website, you won’t see a shopping cart. That is because we don’t sell direct to consumers.
PB: Tell us about Bio-Groom’s new Natural Scents line. What are the key features that make these products stand out in the marketplace?
Pohl: Well, we’ve had a Natural Scents line for many years, and our intention has been to always evolve the line with the newest and best ingredients. But we don’t just throw something out there in the market; it takes time to get the formula just right. So, we’ve been developing the news line for more than three years.
Once we developed a really stable, mild, sulfate-free base shampoo, we decided to add baobab, which is a fruit from the tree of life. We picked it because there are a lot of studies that show baobab has a high level of high-quality protein that provides the strength and protection that you can’t get from other proteins. It is also a renewable resource that helps the local communities where it grows, so there are a lot of positives about using baobab. It really hits a lot of the elements that consumers are looking for.
The colognes are there to enhance the fragrance for weeks, so pets don’t have to bathe all the time. They coordinate with the shampoos, which have natural fragrances that consumers find appealing. That can have a big impact on shoppers.
PB: What are some other recent product introductions from Bio-Groom? How do these products improve upon what has come before?
Pohl: Last year, we introduced our Indulge line, which has two products—a shampoo and a brushing aid—in sizes for retail and grooming professionals. It uses argon oil, which is very popular and cutting-edge right now. And the hype is true; it is really a good source of protein that is ultra-hydrating, has high absorbability, and does not leave the skin and coat greasy.