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Helping Your Fuzzy Friends, in Style

The story of PetFusion is unique to say the least.

 

Ted Elliott and Andrew Roost knew how to run a business. They worked corporate jobs that, in Ted’s words, “were a blended role of finance, business, and psychology.”

 

“We helped build compensation packages for businesses. There was a lot of mathematical analysis, understanding what the business objectives are, and tapping into what sales people and individuals care about. We had to think about how we could motivate people to display the behavior we wanted to see.”

 

There was a lot of mathematical analysis, understanding what the business objectives are, and tapping into what sales people and individuals care about.

 

Ted doesn’t like to call his last job a ‘stepping stone,’ but it definitely gave him and Andrew the foundational knowledge they needed to understand how to run a business.

 

“You have to be such a jack-of-all-trades in small business. Those jobs really honed the quickness of our minds, and the analytical thinking we do everyday.”

 

So, when Andrew and Ted started talking to some people they knew with established Amazon-based businesses, they already knew a fair bit.

 

You have to be such a jack-of-all-trades in small business.

 

“That was kind of the initial trigger. We became very interested in the business model, and really started researching what went into getting something like that started.”

 

They learned the basic formula. Logistically, Ted and Andrew had all the know-how they needed.

 

They just needed something to sell.

 
 

Going to the Dogs (And Cats)

 
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So, Ted and Andrew had the logistics down, even before knowing what the business was. But, they quickly found their target market: pet accessories.

 

“The question of ‘why pets’ was a combination of things. We did a lot of market research, but it really came down to what we had a passion for, and what we knew about. Both Andy and I grew up with dogs and cats, and have pets to this day.”

 

Ted and Andrew saw the market opportunity for high quality cat scratchers, trees, dog beds, and other accessories. They knew that they could beat what was out there.

 

“Before about 5 or 6 years ago, 99% of what was out there for pets was just cheap in terms of materials and construction, didn’t look that great, didn’t blend into your home very well, and not a lot of functionality. And the products that did offer that were way too expensive.”

 

Before about 5 or 6 years ago, 99% of what was out there for pets was just cheap in terms of materials and construction, didn’t look that great, didn’t blend into your home very well, and not a lot of functionality

 

That’s when PetFusion began to take shape. Their products would combine good looks and quality with utility, at a price the average pet owner can afford.

 

The idea was solid. But, as with any small business, it started slow.

 

“We were still working in our previous positions when this all got started in 2010. Our full time and effort wasn’t really behind the business at that time because it couldn’t be. So, it started out as a nights and weekends gig.”

 

As the word got out, Ted and Andrew were receiving orders by the truckful, and eventually found themselves able to work for themselves full time.

 

“We launched our first products in 2011. By 2012, we had our first selling year. But, by the end of that year and into 2013, Andy quit the previous company. By 2014, we could afford for us both to. After that, it blew up. The last couple of years have been an absolute whirlwind.”

 

Even with a bit of an unorthodox start, Ted and Andrew had finally hit their stride. But, even they didn’t expect it to get so big.

 
 

Booming Business

 
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Since 2014, Ted and Andrew’s side business has expanded into more products, markets, and avenues than they could ever have imagined.

 

“We started with a product in cat-scratching furniture, and a product in litter. Then we entered a third category with our elevated feeding station, and then we moved into beds. We’re continuing to grow those, while also moving into a couple of new categories like travel products and grooming.”

 

PetFusion has appeared on AnimalPlanet, Martha Stewart Living, houzz, and even the Wall Street Journal.

 

As they grow, more big names have started to notice. PetFusion has appeared on AnimalPlanet, Martha Stewart Living, houzz, and even the Wall Street Journal. Though this publicity is great for business, it also attracts an important part of the animal care community.

 

“We have a lot of different rescues and other charitable organizations that will reach out to us. There’s quite a list, probably 10 to 15 organizations every year that we either donate products or money to, in an effort to rescue and rehabilitate animals. It’s a lot of smaller organizations that simply don’t have the funding, and need companies like us to contribute.”

 

PetFusion has gotten to the point that small shelters around the country reach out them for donations. But, they’ve also partnered with the Jackson Galaxy organization to help cats in need.

 

That’s a big part of PetFusion’s product design as well. An ergonomic and memory-foam bed for your pet promotes joint health and comfort, while a cool-shaped cat scratcher and tree stimulate your pets, keeping them busy and playful.

 

There’s quite a list, probably 10 to 15 organizations every year that we either donate products or money to, in an effort to rescue and rehabilitate animals.

 

There’s care put into every product. And the world has definitely noticed.

 

“Amazon allows us to sell in some international markets that would otherwise be a bit more challenging. We have a pretty big and growing presence in Europe. Mostly in the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, and France. Canada is huge for us, as well as Japan, India, and Australia.”

 

That’s a lot of customers, and even more cat scratchers.

 

Plus, though all of PetFusion’s products are designed in the US, their main manufacturers and suppliers are in China.

 

So, with more orders coming in and more money going out, Ted and Andrew needed a globally-minded payments solution to continue growing their company.

 
 

Going Global

 
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“As we started to do international business and bring foreign currencies back to the US, we wanted to find a way to do it without incurring multi-percentage markups and ridiculous foreign exchange rates on that. Amazon just wasn’t cutting it.”

 

So, Ted and Andrew started looking for a global payments processor.

 

PetFusion’s accounting firm loved Veem’s data integrations with accounting softwares, the next-generation bill payment functionality, and ultimately overseas payments.

 

“That took us even further down the path of cloud-based bill payment platforms, and cloud-managed accounting. Once we found an accounting firm that did just that, they actually referred us to Veem.”

 

In fact, Ted’s accounting firm is Catching Clouds, a long-time Veem partner.

 

PetFusion’s accounting firm loved Veem’s data integrations with accounting softwares, the next-generation bill payment functionality, and ultimately overseas payments.

 

“Veem has competitive foreign exchange markups, the ability to process international payments, and all these integrations that help our business run smoothly. So, we were sold pretty quick.”

 

Before Veem, Ted was sending international wire transfers through their bank. He was fed up, and the functionality he needed just wasn’t there.

 

“If you send money through them, you don’t even have the ability to attach a document to a transaction. A big part of what we love about Veem is the reporting, documentation, and the user experience generally.”

 

At this point, Ted uses Veem for ⅔ of PetFusion’s payments. For him, the best part of it is the transparency. He can easily communicate with his overseas manufacturers, and rest easily knowing his payments are taken care of.

 

If Veem can even save me one hour a week, that’s one more hour we can put back into developing more products, and fostering relationships, and helping animals.

 

“If Veem can even save me one hour a week, that’s one more hour we can put back into developing more products, and fostering relationships, and helping animals.”

 

Ted considers himself a globalist. “I almost think that by increasing global interaction and global trade, you’re supporting a trend toward a more integrated global society. I think that’s where we wanna be.”

 

For Ted, globalism helps business, but also helps the world. With help from companies like Veem, he and Andrew can follow that trend, and bring PetFusion to homes around the world.