A Healthy Business

All Natural Pet

Owner: Pasha Cook
Location: Houston
Service: Retail pet food and products; home delivery service
Launch: November 2010
Launch Cost: $25,000
2011 Revenues: $30,000
2012 Projections: $100,000

Now: Balancing making sales from an online marketplace of natural pet food with educating owners on canine nutrition, All Natural Pet seeks to establish itself as the Houston-area expert on healthy food choices for dogs.

Next: All Natural Pet is working on its own line of natural grooming products, teaming with a chemist and an essential oils expert to develop the products.

Health and fitness have been a central focus for Pasha Cook most of her life, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that the 37-year-old former teacher realized how important wellness is for pets. Shortly after adopting her schnauzer, BJ, in 2009, Cook noticed his hair was falling out from the trauma of major surgery. It was then that a friend who worked for a pet food company introduced her to the idea of a natural diet for her canine. “I grew up where dogs ate what we ate,” says Cook. “So the concept of natural pet food was foreign to me.”

It didn’t take long before Cook was hooked. Changing what she was feeding BJ improved his health dramatically. Small changes to BJ’s diet inspired big changes in Cook’s life. After seeing how well he responded to pet food made with natural ingredients, Cook began to research the pet industry, specifically the health benefits of organic pet foods.

While other retail sectors struggled through the recession, the pet industry had a steady increase in overall sales from 2007 to 2011. Last year, U.S. pet food sales rose 4.5% to $19.2 billion, according to Packaged Facts. U.S. retail sales of natural pet products totaled $2.3 billion in 2011; that figure is expected to grow 12% in 2012. Internet sales for pet products accounted for $1.2 billion in 2011 and are projected to grow at a 12% compound annual rate through 2015.

Armed with information on opportunities in the pet food industry and ready to share her knowledge about healthy diets with other pet owners, Cook took $25,000 of her own money and started All Natural Pet in 2010. The Houston-based pet food delivery company operates mostly online.

Cook buys a variety of natural and organic dog food as well as grooming supplies and treats from wholesale vendors. Houstonians can get products online via the company’s mobile delivery service. Since Cook operates a virtual storefront, she can run the business from home without having to house large-scale inventory. She orders stock on a week-by-week basis.

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