Ethical Products is a family–owned business based in Bloomfield, N.J., and has been in the pet business since 1952. In 1978, the company acquired Fashion Pet, a manufacturer of dog apparel. “My father took a special interest in dog apparel and recognized early on the potential for this category,” says Jonathan Zelinger, current president of the company. Over the years, Fashion Pet has continued as a leader in dog apparel.
Fashion Pet Reinvention
Fashion Pet has a strong heritage in dog apparel, but the company wanted to ensure that the brand was well positioned for the future. “We conducted a very extensive review of the brand and the category and found we had opportunities to reinvent the brand,” says Paul Kuny, senior vice president of sales and marketing.
To lead the reinvention, Melissa Corrigan joined the company as Fashion Pet division manager. Corrigan has 20 years of human-apparel experience with several manufacturers, as well as a major national retail chain.
“I was impressed with the Fashion Pet heritage and its acceptance with retailers in the pet industry,” explains Corrigan. “Fashion Pet designs had a traditional and conservative look. There was a definite opportunity to reposition the brand to stay contemporary and relevant in the marketplace.”
Starting this fall, Fashion Pet will continue as the division name for Ethical Products apparel business. At retail, a new brand has been launched that will replace the Fashion Pet brand name.
The company is currently selling under the new lookin’ good! brand of dog apparel for Fall 2011. “lookin’ good! has a very clear and distinct brand identity,” says Corrigan. “The brand identity can be described with three words: fun, colorful and playful.”
The new brand image is informal, not traditional, and is targeted for broad appeal. The new brand look reinforces the new identity. The name lookin’ good! is cool slang. The font used is playful and the logo is very colorful. A signature lookin’ good! dog has been created and will appear on all packaging and point-of-sale materials.
The Design Philosophy
Within the company, Fashion Pet has a dedicated team of apparel specialists with human-apparel design experience. According to Corrigan, “We look to human-apparel trends for inspiration but reinterpret it appropriately for dogs. Our apparel is designed to be fun for the dog and pet parent, but never making fun of the dog or making the dog look silly.”
Zina Canton is the Fashion Pet designer and has extensive design background in children’s apparel. “In designing our apparel, I want to ensure that the designs can be marketed to a broad range of consumers, which means avoiding super trendy styles and odd colors,” she says. “My designs emphasize practicality for the dog.”
Many items in the line provide functional features, such as waterproofing and padding for extra warmth. “We strive to offer the consumer a great value, which is a combination of affordable pricing, good quality and design,” says Corrigan.
Supporting Specialty Retailers
The new lookin’ good! brand is offered in a full line assortment that includes coats, sweaters, tees, dresses, pajamas, boots and socks. The line has been carefully developed to offer variety while taking into consideration limited retail space.
Fashion Pet assists retailers by offering various display options, plan-o-grams and custom assortments. It has also developed a resource guide to help retailers in merchandising.
According to Lisa Barnes, product manager, “The guide provides the retailer guidance on maximizing apparel sales by concentrating on two key areas: the right assortment and the right product presentation in store.”
“We are very excited about the new lookin’ good brand” says Zelinger, “It is the next phase of our successful dog apparel business.”