Meet PupJoy— an innovative company offering a customizable, home-delivery subscription service featuring products to enrich every aspect of your dog’s life. Its founder and CEO, Dustin McAdams and his partner Bill Wilkins, have launched PupJoy with the vision to create a better shopping experience for dog parents and to build a sustainable model to help animals in need. In this interview, Dustin talks about the origin of the brand name, how did they get the domain PupJoy.com, how important is the presence of their brand online and much more.
Can you tell us how the idea for your startup began? What was the original source of inspiration for you to start PupJoy?
The idea began from my personal experience. I was an early customer of the first subscription box service for dogs. Its themes were entertaining, and the home delivery was convenient for my busy life, but the problem was that many of the products that I received didn’t work well for my dogs. I have two rescue mutts, of different sizes, and with different dietary and play needs. The one-size-fits-all monthly-themed model didn’t allow me to tailor the products for my dogs’ individual needs. As a result, I ended up donating a lot of the stuff I received, so there wasn’t a lot of value for my household. At the same time, I was also using some other types of subscription delivery services, which allowed me to personalize choices for things like clothing and food. I ended up with a nagging question — why doesn’t this type of personalization exist for dog parents like me? I couldn’t find a good answer and I also discovered that “dog parents like me” is a really big, growing market. So, my co-founder and I set out to build a new and better online shopping model for dog parents like us. Our customized subscription box service was the first step and now we’re soon going to be launching our next one — an expanded offering with the most user-friendly customer experience and personalization features available in the market.
Who came up with the brand name “PupJoy” initially? What is the backstory?
My partner Bill and I wanted a brand name that highlighted what we stood for — creating happiness for dogs and their parents — and one that provided us with a broad umbrella with which to grow and expand the business. In the early days, we spend a lot of time exploring potential names. We always came back to the concept of “joy”… it just fit our fabric.
When/how did you get the domain PupJoy.com? What has been the effect of having it for your brand?
We purchased the domain. We knew the brand name and a memorable URL were important to what we were trying to build, so it was an early investment in our future. While the impact is hard to measure, I believe that having a simple, memorable, dot-com domain is critical for a company with direct to consumer model as part of its mix.
We knew the brand name and a memorable URL were important to what we were trying to build, so it was an early investment in our future.
I see that the domain name MyPupJoy.com redirects to PupJoy.com, did you start off with the PupJoy.com domain, or was it an upgrade from MyPupJoy.com?
We temporarily used MyPupJoy.com prior to finalizing the purchase of PupJoy.com. We’ve always kept it active as a redirect since.
If you could have any domain name in the world would you still pick PupJoy.com?
For PupJoy, yes 😉
How important is the presence of your brand online? What plays the most important role in people finding you on the web?
It is very important. Most of our consumer-customers buy directly from our website and our commercial customers often engage with us online as well. Lots of our customers find us through referrals; however, a good SEO structure and content is very important to make it easy for folks to find us through search.
If you have to explain what you do, what your brand stands for and brings to the world, in one sentence, what would it be?
Joy… for dogs and their people.
How do you want people to perceive your products and what gives PupJoy a true competitive advantage in the pet startup space?
I want customers to trust us — for what we stand for and how we service them, and their four-legged family members. I want to deliver the best and most trusted online shopping destination for dog parents. That desire guides everything we do… from our stringent product standards to the socially conscious companies that we decide to partner with, our Helping Paws charitable program, the team members we hire, and the way we strive every day to serve our customers better. We’re building the next chapter of PupJoy right now, which will launch some really cool new features that have never been available for dog parents before. Delighting our customers, and earning their trust, is at the heart of every decision that we’re making along the way. We feel truly honored to have been awarded by the Pet Care Innovation Prize as well as others. But I can’t wait to unveil the exciting changes that are coming soon!
If you could go back in time, what would you have done differently with regards to your brand strategy?
We’re on the 2nd version of our logo and brand guidelines, and we’re currently working on some updates, so we’ve identified opportunities to change along the way. However, without the gift of 20/20 hindsight, I’m not sure that I would have done a lot differently if I were to do it all over again. The PupJoy brand has and will continue to evolve as we continue to evolve as a business, trying to always find new ways to delight dog parents and businesses who serve them.
Who is your go-to person for business advice, for domain names and in branding general?
We are fortunate to have a lot of them. We have a number of people, from business leaders to a large network of friends and family that are invaluable in providing advice and perspective. We’re also working with a couple of agency partners, Offleash Communications and Queue Brand Communications, as well as a wonderful development partner, 20 Spokes. The combination of the three gives us an amazing level of expertise.
What should your global audience expect from PupJoy now, what’s next?
We’re building a better way for dog parents, and businesses who serve them, to shop online. It’s going to be exciting!
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