Jon Kurtz, an active duty US Navy Captain and his wife Gila, a professional dog trainer, knew that the entrepreneurial spirit coursed through their veins…to be pursued at some point in the future. Finally in 2005, the couple identified a void in the marketplace and seized the opportunity to pursue that dream of owning their own business.
The Kurtz’s attended several workshops at the local Orange County chapter of SCORE. After attending one such seminar by SCORE mentor Tom Patty called “Marketing Without Money,” the couple began participating in one-on-one mentoring sessions with Patty.
In 2008, they began designing and selling dog-themed apparel at small retail events like charity dog walks and fundraisers in Orange and LA counties. As they witnessed the popularity and increasing demand for their designs, they broadened their distribution to retail stores. By the end of 2009, their revenues had nearly quadrupled over that of the previous year. In 2011 their revenues once again quadrupled and in 2012 they expect to exceed the previous year’s revenues by 40%.
Jon and Gila say their company's success lies in its ability to deliver a simple message in a way that resonates with dog lovers. With clever and poignant sentiments, they remind consumers how great it feels to be with our dogs. They have also developed a reputation for generously giving back to animal welfare organizations throughout the United States.
They have recently expanded their product offerings to include the “Cat is Good” and “Horse is Good” apparel lines. The company is currently seeing growth in all 3 distribution channels: direct retail, wholesale and licensing.
SCORE mentor Tom Patty helped Jon and Gila sharpen the focus of their message to keep it centered on their core audience. Using examples of famous brands, Tom explained how a company’s message should create an emotional attachment in order to earn loyal customers. To this end, Jon and Gila coined (and trademarked) their goal of “delivering dovergnügen” – that great feeling one gets when with their dog.