Profound Growth

Sherpa Pet Group has expanded from a small pet carrier business to a company with a portfolio of brands dedicated to all channels of the pet industry.


Sherpa Pet Group comprises a family of brands that manufacture products for all channels of the pet industry. The company focuses on personalized customer care, high-quality standards and product diversity within its brands, and it is committed to delivering the best in products and service to retailers.

Sherpa sells certain products to mass retailers and others to smaller, independent retailers. “We have a selection of products that we only sell to our boutique accounts,” says Tim Ford, Sherpa Pet Group CEO. “We really try to create business and products that are designed for each channel. We don’t want independent retailers to purchase products that are sold at a mas retailer down the street for half the price.”

In addition, because Sherpa values the opinions and feedback of its boutique owners, the company has launched the Pet Lover’s Corner, an online message board community that will enable pet retailers to share opinions, reviews of products and other business ideas. Retailers can visit the Sherpa Pet Group website for more information (

Humble Beginnings
Sherpa’s Pet Trading Company is the founding brand behind Sherpa Pet Group. Gayle Martz started Sherpa’s Pet Trading Company in 1990 after an unsuccessful search for a pet carrier for her Lhasa Apso, Sherpa. Martz made it her goal to create a stylish, functional product that would enable people to travel comfortably with their pets.

Sherpa became the first pet carrier to be recognized by major airlines, including Air Canada, Alaska, American, America West, Continental, Delta, Northwest, United and US Airways. The Sherpa Bag is also now recommended for use by many veterinarians, the ASPCA, the Delta Society and the Humane Society.

Since its start as a carrier business, the company has expanded greatly, encompassing the brands Cloak & Dawggie, LunaBrite, Dog Mountain Art, Pez for Pets, Fox & Hounds, GoDog and Woof Wear Organics.

Guaranteed On Board
“Our carrier business with the Sherpa brand has a long legacy, dating back to the beginnings of in-cabin carriers,” says Ford. “The company obtained airline approval letters over 20 years ago, which stated that the Sherpa bag was approved for flying. Since then, other companies have been making claims that their bags meet airline requirements, but their statements are confusing. We wanted to make it simple, so we sat down with the airlines and said, ‘Listen, we know seats have changed, security requirements are different, etc.; how do we take care of our customers so that they know if they buy a Sherpa bag they will be let on their flight?’”

The result was a program called Guaranteed On Board. Customers who follow the program are guaranteed to get on their flight with their pet. If, for some reason, they are not allowed on, Sherpa Pet Group will refund the cost of the plane ticket and the pet fee. “Airlines have partnered with us to make sure that the pet carriers fit on their aircrafts and that gate agents are aware of the necessary requirements,” says Ford. “What we are really providing for customers is peace of mind.”

Sherpa is also making an impact outside U.S. borders. Under the Woof Wear line, the company is starting a new program focused on building sustainable communities. “We have product that is being designed and manufactured in a community in Columbia,” says Ford. “We are also in the midst of a similar project in Rwanda. The goal is to try to and find ways that we can reach outside of the normal business models and become involved in a global community.”

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