The Best of Both Worlds
Bobbi Panter, owner of Bobbi Panter Pet Products, discusses her recent partnership with Antwan André Patton, better known as Big Boi from the hip-hop duo Outkast.
Pet Business: How were you and Big Boi introduced to one another? What was that first meeting like?
Bobbi Panter: Big Boi’s brother James is his partner in [Pitfall Kennels] in Atlanta. James was using our products and loved them, and he kept telling his brother to give them a try because Big Boi was using shampoo that, as he tells it, wasn’t lasting—a day later, his dogs smelled bad again. After Big Boi finally tried our products and loved them, James reached out to me and asked if I would come to Atlanta to meet him and his brother and see their kennel.
At first, I was a little bit reluctant. I thought, “What does this have to do with anything?” But I wanted to get outside my comfort zone; I have little, fluffy dogs—Bebe and Cece—and I’m not really familiar with pitbulls [which is what Pitfall Kennels specializes in]. So, I went to visit with them not really knowing what to expect, Googling Outkast songs along the way.
When I got to Atlanta, Big Boi and I just had an instant chemistry. We have a lot of similarities in our background. For example, both of us had grandfathers who owned hunting dogs, which is what led us to fall in love with dogs in the first place. In addition, I could see how much Big Boi and James loved their pets, and how well cared for their dogs are.
PB: Aside from Big Boi’s passion for pets, what are some of the other attributes he brought to the partnership?
Panter: More than just his celebrity, Big Boi brought creativity, passion, honesty and a whole different perspective to the partnership. He provided a great opportunity to bring our two worlds together—mine being the world of small, fluffy dogs, and his being the world of pitbulls, Frenchies and American Bullies, which I really knew nothing about. We saw it as an opportunity to tell people in my world that it’s okay to have pitbulls, which have gotten a bad rap, and to tell people in his world that you don’t necessarily need to have a pitbull; you can have a fluffy, little dog instead.
PB: What was it about the Bobbi Panter brand and its products that attracted Big Boi?
Panter: First of all, he liked that the products really work. Then, once we met, he said that he could see the same passion in my development of products and focus on using only the best ingredients that he has when he puts a song or album together. That just made everything click on both sides.
PB: Why could the products that are included in the Big Boi and Bobbi line only have come out of this unique partnership?
Panter: I think what makes them unique is that we have two very creative minds coming together from different worlds. As an ingredient specialist, I listened to the problems that pitbulls and similar dogs often have—for example, pitbulls tend to have very sensitive skin that is easily irritated—and I customized our formulas with a lot of oils and other ingredients to address those issues. We do all of the fragrances and packaging artwork and color selection together. As a result, you won’t find products and packaging like ours anywhere else. It’s truly a collaboration.
PB: How has the Big Boi and Bobbi line been received in the industry?
Panter: I have to say, it made an even bigger splash at Global Pet Expo than I expected. The variety of buyers who showed interest in the products was amazing. It wasn’t just high-end chains and boutiques; it really ran the whole spectrum of retailers. And the response we received was overwhelmingly positive.
PB: What does the future hold for the Big Boi and Bobbi line?
Panter: We have big goals for this partnership. We have a lot of ideas to branch out beyond shampoos—in fact, we have a couple of things in the works right now—but those ideas have to come to us organically. With all of the creativity that we have between the two of us, it’s going to be really exciting.