Welcome to Wear Wag Repeat Podcast Episode 16: Dana Humphrey The Pet Lady is a creative pet PR guru. Our conversation will definitely get your wheels turning and you’ll be inspired to plan a buzz worthy event for your brand. This advice is good for companies large or small, whether you have a product or a non-profit.
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Dana Humphrey is the Lead Publicist & Owner at Whitegate PR, a boutique public relations agency specializing in the pet industry. She also positions herself as a pet expert as “The Pet Lady” and travels coast to coast scouting out the best pet products, brands and pet experts. She is also a professor and program facilitator at FIT, the fashion institute of technology and teaches in the pet product marketing and design department. She was recently awarded by Pet Age Magazine 40 under 40 and Women of Influence. She has traveled to more than 50 countries and lived in five. Currently she resides in Astoria, Queens with her pet frog Prince Charming.
Tori: How did you get the title The Pet Lady?
Dana: I was working for a company called Muttropolis, and they had an early morning local TV segment in San Diego when I got an early morning phone call that the owner couldn’t do the segment, so I went in her place. It went really well and she asked me to do all the TV segments going forward. I started doing more segments. I was doing a segment in Sacramento with my friend’s cat and the host of the show introduced me as Dan Humphrey, the pet lady. I really liked the sound of it, so she really coined that for me. I’ve since trademarked it and have a few domains around The Pet Lady.
Tori: Tell me about the dogs in your life.
Dana: I am a fairy goddess mother to a French bulldog named Charlie who lives down the street from me. I hook him up with lots of goodies and pay for his Pet Plan Insurance. Whatever Charlie needs, I’m on it. I helped my friends adopt him, and I have full visitation rights whenever I need to see him. I travel a lot so it’s not convenient in my life right now to have a dog.
Tori: You’ve lived all over the world. Does anywhere stand out as the most dog friendly place?
Dana: I lived in north san diego in an area called Solana Beach. It’s a 1-mile town with a dog park and dog beach. In gallery row every gallery has a water bowl and a treat jar. Plus the whole Muttropolis store. It was like dog utopia! The two restaurants in town were not only dog friendly, but they had dog menus!
Tori: If someone has a new business, what is your advice for what someone who wants to get some buzz for their brand?
Dana: You need to give people something to talk about. So I come up with a story angle of something that’s fun and creative so it’s not just an advertisement for a brand. When you’re launching something new, that’s a great time to reach out to press. There are also a lot of different months you can use to reach out, for example if you have an eco friendly product then maybe April is a good month for you to reach out. Events are a great way to invite people to something creative. You could do a 1-night trunk show to introduce your product to local stores and get the buzz out. If your brand is more fitness oriented and there’s a dog friendly 5K coming up, maybe you can sponsor the bandanas. Even if you only have 20 people show up for a yappy hour, then you have photos to share on social media.
Tori: Tell us about the pet product design department at FIT.
Dana: Most of the students are women who have worked in fashion for years, and now they have a dog and want to start a pet business. My students all want to become entrepreneurs and they’re so inspiring! I teach them about about trade shows, pet magazines, how to work with stores, come up with event ideas, etc. It’s the only continuing education pet program on the planet. One of my students started the International Association of Pet Fashion Professionals, and she also has a calendar with all the pet days featured, which is a great resource. I keep in touch with the students and get to see a lot of them at events like the New York Pet Fashion Show.
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