Welcome to Podcast Episode 60: Taking a Frozen Dog Treat Nationwide With Meg Meyer of The Bear and The Rat. On this episode, I’m talking to a woman who’s taking canine gut health mainstream. For years, investors, retailers and the press just didn’t get it – but she stuck with this business and now it’s taken off! You’ll hear how she markets a product that’s both fun and practical plus inspiring advice about never giving up!
Taking a Frozen Dog Treat Nationwide
Meg Meyer is co-founder of The Bear & The Rat: Cool Treats for Dogs, a company that makes gut health fun, with their frozen yogurt and frozen goat milk yogurt treats for dogs & cats. In a past life, she was a reality tv producer, worked at an ad agency. She’s a dog mom and a mom to two human boys.
(00:51) Introducing Meg Meyer, The Bear and The Rat
(01:30) Meg’s story about getting recruited for Shark Tank
(05:44) How Meg’s business was impacted by Shark Tank
(08:10) What one of the biggest trends is in the pet food industry is
(10:24) The hardships of a frozen product
(19:01) What has been Meg’s best marketing strategy
(19:57) How Meg manages her time
(21:57) The moment Meg almost quit
(28:19) Where to find Meg Meyer
TORI: You were on the popular ABC show, Shark Tank back in 2012 which is pretty much when you were getting started. I’m sure everyone always asks you to tell them about the experience. What was good about it? How have things changed for The Bear & The Rat since then?
Meg: Matt and I came up with the idea for the company back in 2010 working the farmer’s market. We both had day jobs and were making it work for a few years. One day we received a random email from a Shark Tank producer who asked if we wanted to come on the show.
Since I had been a reality TV producer, I knew that it was possible for producers to reach out and find people. He saw us on some random website, thought we would make good TV and asked us to apply. We had 2 weeks to prepare and only $30,000 in sales at the time. It was an incredible experience overall. However probably the best part is someone watching the show actually became our investor so that was the best part of the experience! We still work with him to this day.
TORI: I’ve been told that you almost went out of business a couple of years ago and now you’re going into Whole Foods stores nationwide. How did you make that pivot?
Meg: Manufacturing for us has always been the thing that’s held us back. We were hand packing and cold-calling people all across the country for years just us. I’m talking two years straight. I have a whole spreadsheet of all these people that we’ve talked to and we just kept hearing the same things. We could not get into anywhere. And so I finally took on a full time job. My husband then pursued Publix who carried our competition. We did what people tell you not to do which is sell without the manufacturing in place. I then got laid off around the same time and things started to take off! We were really lucky.
TORI: What have you found is the best way to get pet parents to discover your product? Some kind of marketing or in person events?
Meg: We’ve tried a bit of everything – starting with demos and coupons. Coupons are great! And we are very strategic about our social media. We work with influencers and focus a lot on producing great content. We’ve been lucky to have had great retail partners who want to spread the word about our products for us. That’s what happens when your product can speak for itself literally!
TORI: Why are your frozen yogurt dog treats and frozen goat milk yogurt for cats & dogs good for pets?
Meg: So our treats have native probiotics in them, which really help with healthy stools and less gas. Also for cats, it helps eliminate hairballs and issues like that. We’ve completely taken a 180 from our original approach because of the extensive research that we’ve done. And then the more we met people, the more we read things, and the more we are in the industry, the better our product becomes.
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