Welcome to Podcast Episode 61: Creating an App to Help Single Dog Lovers Find Love with Leigh Isaacson. On this episode, I’m talking to a woman, along with her sister, about how they started an app to help single dog lovers find love (without 4 legs). They created a dating app just for dog owners and the people who “get them.” To get the word out about their new businesses, the sisters hosted events all over the country and even created a national holiday! We’re going to break it all down in this episode!
Creating an App to Help Single Dog Lovers Find Love
Leigh Isaacson is the CEO and Co-Founder of Dig – The Dog Person’s Dating app. Dig is the best way for dog lovers to find a compatible match and plan a dog-friendly date. Leigh’s background in TV news reporting, homeland security studies, and nonprofit management helped form the way Dig celebrates the passion and commitment of dog lovers through the Dig app, with dog-friendly events nationwide, and by building a dedicated community of single dog-lovers. Leigh lives in New Orleans with her German Shorthaired Pointer Penny.
(00:55) Introducing Leigh Isaacson
(02:00) Leigh’s story of how she came up with the idea of creating Dig
(08:45) What makes Dig different from other dating apps
(12:25) The steps she took to develop the Dig app
15:20) How they launched the app on Valentine’s Day
(23:46) Why Dig made a Dog Mom’s Day an official holiday
(26:28) Hear about Leigh’s dog, Penny
(29:04) Where to find Leigh Isaacson
TORI: What makes Dig different from other dating apps?
Leigh: We rarely looked at the pain points. We just knew that people liked dating apps and they’re definitely not going away. However, there were a ton of complaints about the current ones out there. There’s the dating app fatigue where people don’t love the experience, but they don’t know any other way. So we looked into the dog world and the dating world and saw they both were craving more experiences. So in the dog world, people love our dog-friendly events where you can bring your dog indoors, meet other like-minded people, have a drink and have your dog with you at the same time. The dog world is changing so much now. We’ve got so many more opportunities and cool locations that are more dog-friendly. And so we said if we can combine the single world to this wonderful dog world, we’re solving two problems.
TORI: Why do people want to date dog lovers? What does that show about your personality or lifestyle?
Leigh: I’m a numbers person and one of the things that really stood out to me was that 55% of single adults in the US are pet owners. That means if you’re in the dating circuit and you’re looking for someone, it’s more likely than not they will own a pet. They already have a relationship in the house that you’re going to need to contend with, right? And if you’re a dog owner, especially, you may know more than 70% of people with dogs sleep with a dog in their bed. So if you’re thinking long-term relationship, lifestyle, and true compatibility, you really need to find someone who’s going to match with your dog forward style. There’s really no way around it or it’s going to be very difficult otherwise. So at least you should be having these conversations up front. And we really wanted to create the space where you can talk to people and start your dating conversations around the most important piece in your life, which is the relationship you already have with your pet.
TORI: How did you figure out how to develop an app? What were the steps?
Leigh: We would not have even considered doing it if my sister wasn’t my cofounder. She is the most talented designer I’ve ever known or seen. Everything is designed by my sister, Casey. She went screen by screen and mapped out what we wanted every button to look like and where it would go. I’m so proud of our marketing featuring dog photos that are available for adoption. We’re able to use a platform to promote dogs at the same time as dating. It really starts from step one, “What do you want this to look like? What do you want this to accomplish? What pain points are out there that you’re trying to solve? Why would people choose to Dig over another app? What is the mindset?” And then we got into an accelerator program to help us find our Chief Technology Officer. From there, we connected with an offshore development team to build the app. So that’s a long way of saying you have to have a really good idea of where you envision your app going and be able to find the right team to build it out.
TORI: What were the challenges of getting an app out there?
Leigh: We started building the app in July of 2017 and launched on the app store just before Valentine’s Day in 2018. It took a little over six months to build out the app and try to raise enough money to build the app itself. And then we were able to launch with a big awesome party in Brooklyn, back in February where we then had raised more money to build a different type of app. And recently, we released the Android version in October of 2018.
TORI: You’re the founder of Dog Mom’s Day. How did you make that an official holiday?
Leigh: This was a dream of my sister’s. She really wanted to make a national holiday all about celebrating dog moms. She did all of the work for this, which was just truly unbelievable. And basically, the national day calendar has a registrar that you can submit new ideas too. They told us they only pick 30 new holidays every year and get over 2000 submissions. And so one way to stand out is to create a petition on change.org and get people to say, yes we want this too. We highlighted the controversy about dog moms celebrating on Mother’s Day. We showed them an Oprah clip where the human moms were so upset because a dog mom doesn’t understand what it’s like to be a human mom. So that’s why we made it really clear that we wanted it to be the day before Mother’s Day, every year. They loved our pitch, obviously loved the pup photos that we send them. They accepted it pretty quickly. And with their help, we got it on the national day calendar. It goes out to all the press whenever they do fun stuff about what holiday of the day it is. And it took off really, really quickly.
TORI: What does Dig do to help rescue animals find love, too?
Leigh: About a third of our users don’t have a dog right now. So they’re looking to date someone with a dog, which basically is just a huge bonus if you’re a dog person or find someone to get a dog within the future. What’s remarkable right now is how much time and effort people are putting into finding their partner. People on dating apps today spend nine to 10 hours a week on dating apps and they’re using three or four apps at a time. So by the time they get to Dig, our idea was that we help them cut to the chase. Let’s narrow down something that’s important to you, but it’s still a huge market. So we wanted to create this dedicated community to start conversations about things that mattered to our users. Hopefully, make dating life a little bit easier while adding dogs to it is what we’re all about. That’s our game plan.
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