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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

Monday, February 08, 2010

Harness Sales and Find Success

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I am so sick of writing and saying “in this economy” that I can hardly stand to observe myself doing it again, but here I go anyway. What can I say? It’s all still relevant.

In this economy, retailers and manufacturers have had to think outside the box to keep boutique businesses thriving or surviving, as the case may be. I had a great example of that this week in a conversation I had with Gary Remick from the apparel and accessories manufacturer Doggie Design. Gary called me to let me know his company is planning a big push for an out-of-the-box (for them) product in the coming months.

The new product is a soft mesh, step-in, choke-free harness that he is proud to note is made in the USA. It will be available in ten colors, which happen to correspond very closely with the Pantone Institute’s top 10 colors for 2010.

What’s so great about a harness? you might ask. It might even seem a little boring in comparison to some of the high fashion garments Doggie Design has created in the past. But watch closely. I’ve talked to so many boutique owners in the last year who have had trouble selling apparel, or have had to shift their focus from mainly apparel to apparel and the higher-end pet care basics. What Gary is presenting is something retailers can market as practical while giving it points for style. It’s a product that straddles that line between apparel and the more practical leash-and-collar category that has been an easier push during this recession.

What’s more, his company isn’t just making a new product, they are actively marketing it. I can’t tell you how depressingly rare it is that a manufacturer (even the struggling ones) reaches out to me as an editor to let me know about a new product. Some have a woe-is-me attitude about not being able to afford advertising and yet they’re missing out on opportunities for free editorial coverage at every turn.

Let Gary’s initiative be an example to this whole industry. It pays to speak up about what you’re manufacturing. The same goes for retailers. Put those cool, practical, fashionable products out there in a visible place in your shop and when a customer comes into the store, hang up the phone, walk over to her and get your salesperson hat on. Trying makes a big difference, especially in this economy.

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