Success with Solutions
Cristen Underwood, director of marketing for Quaker Pet Group, discusses how a focus on solution-oriented products has quickly made the company a major player in the pet industry.
Pet Business: Quaker Pet Group has had a lot of success since it was founded in 2010. To what do you attribute this success?
Cristen Underwood: We strive to create products that retailers want to carry and that fit the needs of pet-loving consumers. Our ultimate goal is to offer retailers a range of high-quality, solution-oriented products that are innovative and stand out on a shelf. From durable toys for dogs that play hard to patent-pending innovations that make life easier to best-selling carriers that are guaranteed on board by all major airlines, we are always working towards creating products that the consumer needs and therefore the retailer wants to offer in their assortments.
PB: Quaker Pet Group has built a portfolio of brands that encompasses a wide range of pet products. What has been the company’s strategy in building this portfolio? How can retailers expect this strategy to evolve moving forward?
Underwood: Quaker Pet Group (QPG) is always looking for new acquisitions of companies that fit our style and portfolio. We are expanding into new categories, but we are not necessarily looking to be in every category. Rather, we strive to offer unique products that fit the needs of consumers, and offer value and most importantly, fun.
PB: What are the latest developments from Quaker Pet Group?
Underwood: We are really excited about our new SuperCat product collection. Cats and the people that love them deserve fun and innovation too. SuperCat is a catnip product line that features a unique, microencapsulated delivery system. The line features a range of playful options, like paper products coated in long-lasting catnip, to markers and spray that mean that you can put catnip on any surface. Each time a cat rubs up against it, some of the micro-bubbles break, releasing more.
Also, we are very proud of our Hear Doggy! toys. The patent-pending ultrasonic squeaker design inside each Hear Doggy! toy offers technology that helps make life quieter for pet-parents but provides the pup the same high-intensity fun.
PB: What product categories do you believe will have the biggest impact on independent pet stores in the coming year? How does that fit with QPGs approach to product development?
Underwood: With over 50 million pet owners traveling with their pets each year, Quaker Pet Group/Sherpa wants to partner with independent pet retailers on tremendous growth in the travel and safety category. A best-selling brand of high-quality products, Sherpa is focused on innovation, fashion and function. QPG wants to help consumers to make travel easy and comfortable with Sherpa carriers. For example, we have added a new Auto Safe Strap onto the carriers to help support new pet-safety legislation inside the car, as well as our Guaranteed On Board program with all the airlines.
PB: How does carrying Quaker Pet Group products help retailers achieve success? How does the company support independent pet stores?
Underwood: We have a strong commitment to working with independent retailers to provide the merchandising solutions that retailers need to not only sell more products, but also build relationships, trust and education with their customers. QPG is always working toward a strong customer service standard and providing profitable product innovations that consumers seek out. QPG offers several point-of-purchase merchandising displays that help maximize floor space.
PB: What can retailers expect from Quaker Pet Group in the future?
Underwood: QPG will continue improving customer service, and will always be a progressive company that seeks out new growth opportunities. We work hard to stay ahead of innovation and offer our independent retail partners the best products on the market.