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Buddy Brands Gives Dogs and Investors a Good Night’s Sleep

Witchita, Kansas-based Buddy Brands offers your tired dog a well-deserved rest with a therapeutic mattress so comfortable, you might just start stealing your dog’s bed! The company’s award-winning product has positioned it ideally in a pet industry that has exploded in the COVID era.

Best Bed for a Best Buddy

Buddy Brands started as a personal labor of love for Founder and President Trevor Crotts. The company namesake was his own dog, Buddy, who suffered from joint pain that threatened to shorten his lifespan. Typical dog parents in this situation invest hundreds of dollars in pain killers or even stem-cell treatments to bring limited relief to their animals. From his background in the mattress industry, Trever realized that his Buddy needed a scientifically engineered mattress that could redistribute the weight of the dog, relieving pressure on sore hips and joints and restoring blood flow to affected areas.

Consulting with experts, in 2011 Trevor began creating his “BuddyRest” line of orthopedic dog beds with all the features caring pet owners value: veterinarian-approved; durable materials intended to last the life of the pet; odor eliminating, stain repelling, anti-bacterial, easy-change covers, made in America and with a 10-year warranty. The result? The original Buddy enjoyed an active lifespan that lasted 4 years past his breed’s life expectancy—a success story echoed by numerous satisfied BuddyRest customers.

Today the product is available in a variety of styles at price points ranging from $47.99 to $599.99. A portion of the proceeds supports a variety of dog charities, including “Buddy’s Fund,” dedicated to assisting senior dogs.

A Lone Wolf Becomes a Pack

Trevor describes Buddy Brands as a bootstrapped business that initially won sales customer-by-customer without any outside funding. By year three the business took out a small loan to participate in a trade show and soon after exploded on the market. In short order it began to win veterinarian endorsements and prestigious awards, including a World Branding Award at the Hofburg Palace in Austria.

In the years since, Buddy Brands and launched additional product lines, including Pup IQ, Tough Pup, and Natural Doggie homeopathic products to sooth dog pain and anxiety. In 2018 Buddy Brands acquired SitStay, a dog training supply store that was founded in 1995 as one of the first e-commerce pet companies. Today, Buddy Brands also offers private label services, including fiber filling, 3D asset creation, custom manufacturing, warehousing, and product innovation.

Dog Days in America

Like many businesses in the pet industry, Buddy Brands has thrived during COVID-19, but Trevor comments that it was far from clear that would be the case at the beginning of the pandemic. As consumer confidence collapsed in the spring of 2020, he admits wondering whether his business would survive. But, in his words, “Years of being beat up in entrepreneurship told me I was adaptable and even if I lost my business, new opportunities would show up.”

As it turned out, the steady growth of expenditures on pets in the United States that stood at $69.5 billion in 2017 exploded to a staggering $109.6 billion in 2020 (Statistica.com). During the pandemic, working from home and feelings of social isolation combined to give people the opportunity and incentive to become new pet owners. A massive increase in online shopping also helped level the playing field for businesses like Buddy Brands. As a result, while other companies were navigating layoffs, Trevor actually was able to add positions and move to a larger facility.

Chasing the Future

What’s next for Buddy Brands? Trevor feels cautious optimism. He credits his company’s success to a couple of intrinsic strengths: getting products to market quickly and being vertically integrated:

“We own a lot of our own channels. So I can have an idea that I think is a winner . . . I can talk to our product engineers about it, I can literally have it on the market by the end of the day.” (Startup Competitors Podcast, July 19, 2021).

A key to Buddy Brands’ strategy is maintaining redundant US-based supply channels that have made the company less vulnerable to the effects of international supply chain disruptions. Its flexible manufacturing infrastructure also puts the business in an ideal position to expand its B2B services in 2022.

Given continuing international tensions and trade tariffs on China, nimble and innovative companies like Buddy Brands will be increasingly important not only to allow pets to get a good night’s sleep, but investors as well.

Learn more about Buddy Brands and navigate to their BuddyRest line at https://www.buddybrands.pet/    

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