We are crazy about animals at Ecwid. Our support team even celebrates a monthly Bring Your Cat To Work
Treating our pets like family has resulted in a
Tukabear Treats are
Like many Ecwid merchants, Tonning works a
Research and development for Tukabear Treats came about organically. Tonning began researching the ingredients in her dogs treats, only to be shocked at the amount of preservatives and unnatural additives she found they contained. I could find healthy food for meals, but the treats were literally full of junk food, she said. Through her research, Erin discovered that
Tonning is happy with her day job and is lucky to have a supportive boss, but her entrepreneurial spirit was driving her to do something more with her free time, she said. Partnering with her husband, the pair turned a detached building in their backyard into a test kitchen.
The biggest expense was the purchase of a
She started experimenting with
We asked Erin about the process of creating her website, branding, and marketing tactics, and how she developed her customer service philosophy. She shared that this is her second online venture, so she had some valuable past experience to draw upon.
Back in 2010, Erin opened her first online shop, reselling collectible home and gift items. That’s when I first learned about Ecwid, actually. My brother is experienced in
Her past experience and knowledge gave her the courage to go bigger with the new Tukabear Treats website, but keeping her
She knew that she wanted a feminine, urban look and feel that reflected the company’s hometown of Memphis, TN. Her goal was to appeal to women, which her research indicated are the most likely buyers for
Rather than create her website from scratch like she did in the past, she chose a $80 WordPress theme that fit her vision, hired a graphic designer friend to create her paw flower logo, and with only two products at launch, she integrated the free Ecwid plan into her site.
Creating Connections and Marketing Tukabear
Marketing her new idea required some trial and error. First, I looked at what other pet brands were doing, Tonning said. Then I attended a pet expo and other local crafting events to get the word out.
Tonning discovered that some events are more worthwhile than others. She advises new business owners with limited marketing funds to attend events focused on shopping. For me, holiday bazaars and local craft markets had a much better return on investment than pet adoption & walk/race events, but both helped to get our brand out there, she said.
Now, Tonning prefers to donate to a rescue organization instead of purchasing a booth at an event focused on entertainment because it’s a better use of her time and marketing budget (we’ll discuss her awesome donation program below). Tonning’s best advice is that if you need to recoup the cost of your exhibit space, you’re better off participating in a
Providing free shipping in the United States is another proven sales tactic that Tonning embraced. I build the cost of shipping into the price of the products. I want to keep the business direct for the time being, and online customers don’t want to pay extra for shipping.
This dovetailed into another piece of valuable advice: Start small, and grow your supply orders as you start to better understand your market. Now I order larger quantities of labels, packaging, and shipping supplies than I did a few months ago, so I’m paying less for each item. But in my effort to keep startup costs down I needed to prove the concept before I spent a lot on supplies.
To further personalize the buying experience, Erin also writes a personal note on each invoice and invites her customers to share their pet photos by tagging her on Instagram at @tukabeartreats.
Pawtners = Direct Sales to Boost Profits
Tonning’s commitment to direct sales is rooted in her need to achieve profitability with a
Ecwid Pets Test Drive Tukabear
Last month, Erin introduced Tukabear Treat’s third
I loved the order status emails, cute paw print packaging, and personalized note enclosed, each touch a testament to Tonning’s commitment to customer connection. The real test came when we engaged our
Ecwid President Jim’s dog, Mori, went crazy for Sweet Potato. My kitten, Herbie, can’t get enough of the Chicken variety. Ecwid pets are unanimous in their feedback: 12 paws up!
Tukabear Treats has already processed hundreds of orders and the young brand is off to a fantastic start. The Tonnings just purchased their
In celebration of National Pet Day, Ecwid fans are invited to discover Tukabear treats at a special 5% discount rate. Just enter the coupon code Ecwid at checkout and get ready for your pet to thank you!
Interested in sharing your story with other Ecwid fans? Send me a note and we’ll chat!