This blog post is one Mark and I have been kicking around for a while, and on a Friday night I've finally got a moment to jot some thoughts down.
My family and I are in Newcastle for a friend’s wedding. After a big day, Kipp is sleeping next to me on the hotel bed, tennis is on in the background and my husband and I are using this quiet moment to get some work done before crashing ourselves.
This was the first week back at the day job after eight months of mat leave and it's been a tough one. Kipp had a couple days of day care combined with flu, gastro and teething. My husband and I have been trying to juggle our careers with having a new family and seeing what that looks like. Something all families go through I know, but no less challenging. I loved my time at home with Kipp and I missed him so much this week but now I have the opportunity to share those fun times with my husband and we will both work part time to spend time at home with Kipp and rely on day care for a couple days as well.
Amongst all of that there is Pawleo. Definitely a labour of love for Mark and I, a business that we really believe in and are trying to build literally from the ground up. Pawleo is a start up in the truest form, started with no capital, trial and error, our own time and muscle power and continually trying to live up to our values – providing a high quality product, at a price that makes healthy dog food achievable for as many people as possible. You have been patient with us, allowed us to make mistakes, helped us learn how to pack properly, kindly provided feedback on style and mixes, shared photos of your dogs and helped us to build our tiny little company. We have been so grateful and appreciative of all our customer interactions over the past year, we love talking about your pooches, figuring out what ingredients they love and the benefits you see, as well as the ingredients they don't like so much…turnips and beef liver, blergh.
Up to this point we have been operating Pawleo so that it is self sufficient. We have done this to give ourselves time to build our reputation, speak to our customers, refine our product, find the ingredients and suppliers that we love and sometimes get extra help to lend a hand. We now think we have a product that is needed and wanted. We've been busy and we have achieved a lot this past year.
However, that being said, for Pawleo to keep on keeping on we now have to raise our prices, just a little, so that we can continue to cover costs such as rent and the rising prices of good quality meat and vegetables. Sometime soon we would also like to employ someone and we want to be able to pay a fair salary. We truly believe in being a transparent company and we want to be open about why the food costs what it does, so I've drawn a picture on a napkin:
Talking about money is awkward but it's important to us that you know what goes into a tub of Pawleo. It's more than food, it is time and labour, equipment maintenance, online platforms, packaging, ensuring we meet regulatory and financial requirements, office supplies, repairs, hopefully wages.
What we hope for is that our food continues to be of value to you. We do all that we can do bring down our costs and reflect that in our pricing and margins. We know that if we grow we will have greater purchasing and bargaining power and we are committed to reflecting that in our pricing.
One of the things we’ve been working on over the last few months is how can we reduce our delivery costs to make Pawleo more accessible. Mark and I have always said that when we can bring down delivery costs, we will. We never aim to make profit from our delivery prices and never have. We’ve been able to reduce delivery costs by $5.95 across the board and now have a single delivery price for each delivery zone.
Logistics will continue to be one of our main priorities in 2017. We’ll work on lowering delivery costs, improve our packaging and look for more robust solutions for Pawleo in warmer temperatures. In all honesty, we’d love to have our own delivery drivers and to be able to control the full Pawleo experience from website to doggy bowl but third party couriers are necessary for now. We’ve also got a lot of exciting new products and flavours in the pipeline so keep an eye out for those throughout the year! We’re pretty excited for Pawleo in 2017.
We hope that you continue to talk to us and guide us. That we can continue to build this business on a platform of trust that you have in us and our product. What we really want is for people to feel joy when they give their dog a meal (only dog people would understand this) and that comes from feeding healthy food, that has tangible benefits, licked lips and wagging tails.
Jess and MarkContinue reading