How to grow your DTC brand to over £12m with Guy Blaskey founder of Pooch and Mutt (episode 396)

Guy Blaskey is the founder and CEO at Pooch and Mutt, creators and suppliers of health food for dogs selling single orders and subscription via their Shopify store. Founded in 2007, they now do £12million just over 1/3 DTC, 1/3 Amazon, 1/3 Retail.

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Getting Started in eCommerce

Guy’s eCommerce journey started in 2006-2007 when several things happened around the same time.

First, he became redundant at work. But he was allowed to set up his own consultancy and take some of his clients with him, which led him to do creative consultancy.

Second, their family dog was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. They treated her with a joint supplement for horses that worked well, and Guy thought there could be a market for that.

Third, he read an article where the Red Bull founder, also with the same background in marketing as Guy, said he only needed a product and he’d be able to make it a success. The idea resonated with him and that’s how it all started.

About Pooch and Mutt

  • Based in and sells primarily to the UK
  • Is on Shopify

The business got into DTC straightaway with a WordPress website. After customers shopped on his site, Guy would download a spreadsheet, pack orders, and brought them to the post office.

He eventually sold products in Pets at Home stores. But it wasn’t until 2012 when they launched their treats line, that Guy laid down a proper retail plan. From that retail growth, Pooch and Mutt also managed to grow Amazon and DTC.

The Team

The Pooch and Mutt team is fully remote. Guy says that they’re like a sales and marketing company in a way that if they sold a different type of product, almost everyone would still have the same job.

They’re currently divided into different teams:

  • Retail sales
  • Amazon sales
  • eCommerce
  • Admin team

Manufacturing and warehousing are all outsourced, plus other tasks they feel would be best done by other people like website development. 

The Early Years of Pooch and Mutt

At the start, Guy says it was mostly about understanding the market and its dynamics. There was no crowdfunding and he was doing things by himself, which gave him the discipline to work hard and be profitable.

It’s very different from what startups have now, and Guy says there’s a tendency to not do things properly, especially for those who are overfunded.

He also puts an emphasis on the difficulty in managing growth, cash flow, and profitability, which not many people appreciate but should be focusing on.

Sustainable Packaging

Guy shares that they launched in 2007 using biodegradable packaging, which he now says is not the best choice for the environment. However, they have been environmentally-conscious from the start, and are currently working to make a commitment to where they want to be in 2025.

They switched from tin cans to TetraPaks, and also work with DPD for their green deliveries. They’re also looking at various recycling programs and different ingredient options to become more eco-friendly.

Their decisions have always been made with the environment in mind, but Guy says they’ve never written down the things they do well. But all their developments are based on actual data.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

*For more book recommendations from Guy, visit his blog post on 7 BOOKS FOR ALL ENTREPRENEURS

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • For Guy, affiliates is the one that performs well but doesn’t get the press it deserves.

Tool Top Tip

  • A good structured management meeting with good reporting on a really good spreadsheet.

Growth Top Tip

  • Know where your thousand orders are going to come from and you might get them.

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