Last Updated on December 7, 2020
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About Lisa Bast
I have a degree in public relations and have worked in the public relations and communications industry for about 15 years. I am a passionate dog lover and got my first dog, a Goldendoodle,10 years ago. I began my foray into entrepreneurship when I started making and selling jewelry in 2002. I’ve always been attracted to the entrepreneurial lifestyle as my dad was a successful entrepreneur.
About Waggin’ Trails, LLC
Through my company, I created the Woofpack dog walking accessory bag which features an inner antimicrobial lined compartment to store bagged waste plus separate pockets for personal items. I got the idea one day walking my dog in windy, cold weather struggling to carrying stinky bagged dog waste and digging in my pockets for kleenex to wipe my eyes and nose. Worse, I didn’t bring enough plastic bags to clean up is doggy doo. I had to drive back to the place (a neighbor’s front yard) where my dog pooped to pick up the waste and dispose of it. I wanted a more enjoyable on-the-go experience with my dog and imagined other dog owners did, too. I conceived of an idea where I can create an efficient lightweight, durable, yet attractive carryall that would not only carry bagged waste but also personal items. I went to the store and got about 10 handbags and crafted a design integrating various styles. I had an Amish woman make 7 prototypes until I found one I liked. Once I tried it out, I soon realized the smell from the bagged waste lingered in the inner compartment stunk after removing the bags. I was on a mission to find a lining that would control odor but didn’t know what I was looking for. After extensive research, I found an antimicrobial material used in the medical industry that was lightweight and would help control odor. The antimicrobial lining works well to staunch the odor of the bagged waste.
How Did You Get Your First Several Customers Or Users? How Many Users Or Customers Do You Have Now?
I got my first several customers by word-of-mouth initially, then I started attending dog events and advertising. I also have social media channels and work with a college intern to create and post social media content. I have sold about 700 bags to-date.
How Does Your Company Grow And Acquire New Customers?
I’ve partnered with several pet charities to get the word out and donate proceeds back to the organization. I leveraged my public relations skills to get reviews in Dogster and Modern Dog magazines. I also got a feature article in an online blog in the U.K. which resulted in some orders from the U.K. Additionally, I’m starting to get the Pack into stores and am planning to advertise more online and in publications.
What Actionable Tips And Tricks Do You Have For New Founders Who Are Looking To Get Their First Thousand Users Or Dollars?
Definitely find a business counselor. Your local SCORE office will match you with a business counselor at no charge. He or she can help you formulate a business and marketing plan to effectively target your market. Attend trade shows to showcase your product or service. Make sure you have a professional website that is easy to navigate on a mobile device. Take free webinars on social media marketing and SEO. These are invaluable for getting insight into how to reach your target market. Network, network, network with others in your industry to see how you can effectively partner with verticals to raise brand awareness.
What Is Something You’ve Learned That Would Not Be Obvious To Somebody Who Hasn’t Worked In Your Space Before?
How tough it is to figure out the right SEO words for organic searches because the WoofPack is such a unique product that people don’t know how to search for it! I also learned to be resilient as starting a business has many challenges.
What’s The Craziest Thing That’s Happened To You (Good Or Bad) On Your Founder Journey?
I was sitting with a friend outside on the patio at Starbucks showing him a red/tan WoofPack from the collection I carried with me (he’s an EMT) and a couple sitting nearby overheard me describing the bag. They ended up purchasing a WoofPack for their niece’s 16th birthday as a gift. The niece was blind and just had gotten a seeing eye dog. I met their niece later on and she demonstrated how her dog helped her navigate the world. It was really insightful how much she depends on her dog to help her live a normal life. Later, my friend who was an EMT and also purchased a WoofPack that day related how he stopped for an accident on the freeway and was able to provide aid to the injured occupants until the paramedics arrived using items he stashed in his WoofPack.
What Are Your Favorite Books?
I like to unwind reading fiction books by my favorite author David Baldacci. This year, I plan to start reading books geared toward small business owners that are informative, inspirational and insightful.
Anything You’d Like To Plug?
The WoofPack dog walking accessory bag. This bag is ideal for pet parents on-the-go and is so versatile. It’s great for walks, hikes, trips to the doggy park and vet’s office – even for airplane travel. People buy the Pack not only for themselves, but also as gifts. I received an order today from a woman in Florida who is gifting friends in the U.S. and U.K with the WoofPack. I can’t believe the Pack is being used by our neighbors across the pond!
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