Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Q & A with Anthony Holloway

Some dogs can be very picky about what kind of food they like. Others love to eat but have allergic reactions to certain ingredients in dog food. That's why I was so thrilled to learn about K9 Cuisine.

K9 Cuisine became the answer to this difficult predicament. Known for it's top-notch customer service, finally, there's a dog food company that sells food that all dogs can enjoy.

K9 Cuisine is located in Paris, Illinois carries a huge variety and offers some really great specials. Please join me in welcoming the owner and CEO of K9 Cuisine, Anthony Holloway!

Elena: Hi Anthony! Welcome to Too Kool Doggies.

Anthony: Thank you, it's great to be here.

Elena: Fantastic! Let's get started.

Q: What inspired you to create

A: K9 Cuisine was born from our own frustration with sourcing quality nutrition for our own pet. We had adopted a dog with severe food allergies. Our yellow lab Daisy, was allergic to grains – a common ingredient in most pet foods. Once we found a food she could tolerate, it became very difficult to maintain a consistent supply of her food. We had to either drive 140 miles round-trip or order online. We tried both but neither was a very good solution.

At the time, our online provider was charging $30 to ship a 30 pound bag of dog food. The service was horrible as well. We were constantly running out of food when our shipments had not arrived and we could not feed Daisy other foods without making her ill. After a great deal of frustration, I established with a mission to provide quality pet foods with rapid order turnaround, consistent supply, and reasonable (free) shipping.

Q: How many years have you been in business?

A: We started in early 2007. Our site launched on May 15, 2007.

Q: What type of work did you do before K9 Cuisine?

A: I was the president of a small manufacturing company. We made specialty products for industrial metal finishing. I was there for 18 years.

Wow, that's quite a long time to be working these days.

Q: How does your business differ from a more conventional online store such as PetSmart?

A: We differ from conventional retailers in so many ways. From the beginning we wanted to be different by selling only the highest quality products. We also provide free samples.

Our advanced inventory system provides visitors real-time inventory communication to alert the visitor as to whether the item is currently in stock. Because we stock our own products, our customers' orders ship out the same day.

Email communication provides customers real-time information regarding their order status. We pride ourselves on unsurpassed customer service. We do not outsource this part of the business. That includes answering our own phones and live chat. Our employees are educated and trained about our products.

Best of all, we provide free shipping on most of our orders.

Q: What trends have you noticed in the past year?

A: While the state of our country’s economy has caused most of us to be more selective about our purchases, our business has continued to grow each month. People are realizing the economic advantage to feeding their pets quality nutrition. With higher quality foods, you feed smaller quantities and the pet stays healthier so there are fewer trips to the vet and fewer illnesses requiring less medication.

Q: What are some of the most popular items you carry?

A: Grain-free dog food is by far the most popular category. We sell a pretty wide variety. Horizon, Nature's Variety & Wellness are the most popular. Also bully sticks are very popular chews.

Q: How has social media impacted your business?

A: Social media is a great tool. We use it to connect with customers and friends. It allows us to have a reach that was previously unimaginable for a small business. The benefit for our business is we do not advertise.

Our customers are our best spokesperson. The amplification of “word of mouth” by social media is phenomenal. We are a huge beneficiary of this.

Q: What do you like best about blogging and social media?

A: K9 Cuisine is a value-based company. Our blog is a great way to communicate those values — quality nutrition, safe healthy training, successful pet rescue, and only the highest quality products. I like the ability to personalize a relatively impersonal experience.

Social media allows us to put a face on the company. We can communicate directly to our customers without channeling our message through slick ads. Our message is real, it’s sincere, and it is immediate.

I have also made incredible contacts with major influences in the media and the pet food industry through our social media networks.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about what you do?

A: Connecting with our customers. It's wonderful helping pet owners and their four-legged friends.

Q: What direction do you see your company going in the future?

A: I see us continuing on our current path helping pet owners in need and helping dogs have a higher quality of life.

Q: What lessons can you share about building a successful business from scratch?

A: Find a niche and stay focused on delivering value to customers.

Thank you Anthony for taking the time out visit and educate me and my readers. To learn more about K9 Cuisine, check out this video and drop by their website. You can also become a fan at Facebook or follow Anthony on Twitter. If there are any other questions or comments you have for Anthony, please leave them below.

My final question goes out to you all. Do any of you have dogs that are in a similar situation?

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