Monday, November 28, 2011

How Do New Pet Foods Get Started?

With new brands of pet food entering the market all the time, did you ever wonder how a new pet food brand gets started? There are probably as many ways as there are brands. Some are large corporations, extending their products into new areas to increase revenue. Others pet foods are small, family-based companies like Nature’s Logic. Here is how Scott Freeman, founder and managing partner of Nature’s Logic, tells his story of how he got started in the pet food business.


 A Little Background

Over the course of my life, I have been asked a number of times, “How did you get into pet food? The answer is the same as when people ask me, “How did you meet your wife?” The answer is simple. I bought a horse. Yes, that is the simple answer that both led me into pet food and led me to my wife.

You see, in the early 1980's, I was working at a small firm in Conroe, Texas where some of the employees went fox hunting once a month in the pineywood hills of Nacogdoches, Texas. I had just recently bought an unbroken filly, had her green broke, and was starting to ride her with my $75, garage-sale western saddle. Knowing I had a horse and trailer, my co-workers invited me to come along on one of their fox-hunting outings. So I showed up in my jeans, boots, and used saddle and followed behind my peers in red coats, hunting caps, and tall, English riding boots. When the others jumped over fences to follow the hounds, I looked for gaps my horse could pass through. It was a lot of fun, but I felt a little out of place with my fellow equestrians.

Not wanting to be outdone, I started asking around where I could get some English riding lessons. A friend at church let me know that a gal was boarding a couple horses at his place and she gave English riding lessons. The day I arrived for my first lesson, Deborah was out in the pasture working with another student. She had on riding breeches and tall boots and the rest is history. I was slain and already in love.

The Early Equestrian Center

Over the next year, before getting married to Deborah, I made a trip to Europe and while there bought some top English riding equipment such as a Kieffer All Purpose Saddle, some Vogel riding boots, and Pikeur riding breeches. Also, during the next year I started turning my home with acreage into an equestrian center that eventually included a boarding barn, arenas, a veterinarian clinic and a retail store, which carried mainly English riding apparel and equipment, horse health supplies, a trailer dealership, a groomer, and animal feeds, including pet food.

During my eleven years at retail, I developed two different horse feed formulas that sold successfully. Often, I was able to visit different production plants that made predominantly horse feeds and other large animal feeds, but also dog food.  At this retail store I was first introduced to an early brand of natural dog food in 1986 that I started selling at the store. A year later, through a number of events, I found myself becoming the wholesale distributor for this brand of food in the State of Texas.

So after buying the young filly in about 1983 and actions and events I was led to have from having this horse, I now had a wife, an equestrian center, and was wholesaling one of the original brands of natural pet foods in 1987.

The Focus on Pet Food

By 1995 we had sold to separate individuals the veterinary clinic, the store and the horse operation and moved to New Mexico where I started a new wholesale pet food distribution company. I sold that business at the end of 1997 and beginning in 1998 I became the national sales manager for one of the products I had distributed. During this time, I became more and more interested in animal nutrition and with my entrepreneurial spirit ended up partnering with another individual and became the main developer of the line of food I name Nature's Variety which launched in 2002. That partnership ended in the summer of 2005 after which I started work on the brand I now am managing partner of, Nature's Logic.

Appreciation

If it wasn't for my hard working wife, Deborah, I can say for certain we would never have been able to do all this. She has always helped financially with the family's needs with her great talent as teacher and instructor. She is currently a Humanities Instructor at a nearby college and also recently directed a most successful musical, The Sound of Music, at the Lincoln Community Theater. So successful it was, they extended it for two extra days because so many more people in the community wanted to see it and had not been able to because of all the sell outs.

Our future plans are to continue to grow Nature's Logic with additional product offerings. We greatly appreciate all of our customers who share our philosophy of nourishing pets with 100% natural whole foods, rather than creating inadequate formulas that must be fortified with synthetic supplements for adequacy. I also appreciate the path my horse, Miss Easter, who led me so well since the early 1980's. I am grateful for life, family and the great opportunities that have come from being a part of the pet food industry.

Scott Freeman
Founder and Managing Partner
Nature’s Logic

What questions do you have for Scott?  

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