A basket full of Barking Buddha products.

Barking Buddha, Wellness that Your Dog Can Chew

The pet industry is booming, but it’s not without controversy. In years past, there have been reports of rare illnesses spreading worldwide where treats and chews have been manufactured in parts where safety standards aren’t always guaranteed at manufacturing plants or food processing facilities. 

Barking Buddha Pet is a unique expansion of the already incredible Natural CravingsTMTreats brand. In the beginning, Patrick Caprez wanted to offer the best quality chews to dogs everywhere. However, accessibility matters, and after a few years, he realized that a younger generation, such as the Millennials, are always on the hunt for more bang for their buck without compromising quality. 

Barking Buddha Pet–a company that only sells high-quality treats and chews made in South America with USDA standards so you can feel good about what you give your dog.

One of the items you’ll find at Barking Buddha Pet is their Beef Cheek. This collagen-rich chew comes from the skin above the cow’s shoulder, called the head skin. Because of their puffy texture, dogs love them. Even better is that they are a highly digestible alternative to rawhide chews. 

Patrick and Lucy Caprez

Pet Owners Deserved Clarity and Dogs Deserved Healthy Chews

Patrick Caprez enjoyed a happy and successful career in the automotive industry. However, his passion for animals ended up getting the better of him. He has always strived to follow the wisdom of Hippocrates “Our food should be our medicine, and our medicine should be our food.” But when he went to apply this to his first “son,” his dog Clapton, he found a huge gap in what was available.

As pet owners, we strive to give our furry best friends the best. The best food, the best toys, even the best veterinary care. And Patrick was no different. However, he was struggling to find healthy, quality treats for Clapton, and with cases of dogs falling ill to other products, he set out on a mission.

Patrick wanted to give dogs what they deserved. Starting his company Natural Cravings Pet TreatsTM in 2014 was his answer and by 2016 he branched out to create Barking Buddha Pet as a more affordable option without losing the Natural CravingsTM quality that people and pets deserve.

In 2014 there was a lot of talk in the pet industry about sourcing origins. Customers wanted to know exactly where their pet’s chews and treats were coming from. However, at that time, many companies were outsourcing their processing. So often, chews could easily be bounced between countries. “Packaged in the US” became a marketing tactic, but it didn’t disclose the actual sources fully. 

Safety was a top concern for Patrick when he set out to make a healthy quality chew for Clapton. So, he went to work, and by years of experience in business, he knew to reach out to co-packers to create chews and treats with the highest quality specifications. Thus, the 100% US-made treat and chew line was born that would become the home of the original odor-free Super Monster bully stick

Barking Buddha Products

Clapton went on to live to be almost 18 years old. And Patrick believes that was partly due to offering his pup the best healthy options that he could. 

When Patrick and Lucy launched Barking Buddha Pet, they wanted dog parents with different budgets to get the same premium quality of a USA brand with a more attainable price point.  

Patrick’s brilliance led to an ah-ha moment. By connecting to some South American processing plants they were about to produce the same USDA-approved quality but at a more affordable rate. This allowed them to produce the same top-quality chew that Natural CravingsTM was known for but allowed them to pass along the savings to their consumer. 

Patrick wanted to offer dog parents a healthy chew, and he got it. That’s when Lucy, Patrick’s wife, came on full-time, and she became in charge of all branding and marketing to take both brands to the next level.

Lucy Calamari Caprez brought her entrepreneurial experience to rebrand and refresh both brands. Formerly a chocolatier, her experience with branding and packaging was the game-changer for how Natural Cravings USATM and Barking Buddha Pet would be presented to their growing customer base. 

When Lucy came into the company, they only had one distributor and a small online presence. Since then, the company message and products have been sold by eleven distributors in over 5,000 stores nationwide, and their online business has almost tripled year by year

Changes in the World – The Struggles of a Business Owner

The pet industry overall is currently suffering from supply delays. This is causing many issues for pet retailers and manufacturers, who are struggling to keep up with the demand for products.

These problems are due primarily to the fact that there has been a surge in demand for pets during COVID-19. More people are choosing to adopt pets, even changing their lives to accommodate their new fur babies. Other supply delays have caused a shortage of pet products due to supply chain disruptions. This has made it difficult for retailers and manufacturers to keep up with the demand, causing problems for the pet industry as a whole. 

Another important factor to mention is the war with Ukraine. If it continues, it may cause larger disruptions because Russia is a leading buyer of beef that is often supplied by South American slaughterhouses, with less livestock processed for beef and fewer byproducts available for other industries such as the pet industry

A dog enjoying a Barking Buddha Pet Chew

However, lucky for Natural Cravings USATM and Barking Buddha Pet, Patrick had kept great relationships with their suppliers. They didn’t seem to have too many issues with the shortages during the ongoing pandemic

The Wonderful Opportunities Ahead

Between shortages and customer demand, the entire market is shifting. And this is great for Barking Buddha Pet. Because more and more customers are putting their pet’s health first, many are looking for new great ways to spoil their dog. Furthermore, it gives people like Patrick and Lucy an opportunity to lead us into a new way of seeing chews. 

Barking Buddha Pet will soon be releasing its new line of Longlastics™. Longlastics™ are an all-natural chew that is more digestible than dog food. It sounds crazy, but Patrick took the liberty of getting it tested at a top-rated laboratory to ensure that the results were outstanding. These new collagen sticks are 99% digestible by dogs. However, kibble is only around 80% digestible. So, this great new long-lasting chew will be another leader in quality, healthy, natural chews for dogs. 

These long-lasting, digestible chews are the future of dog fun. 

Good Advice to Others About Business

“When it comes to business, during the pandemic, we learned one important thing, that is that people need people- and companies that do not focus on their customer service and how they can tailor their customer experience to fit their needs will not survive a changing market that is more and more customer-centric.” – Lucy Calamari Caprez.

The one key thing that Lucy believes came out of the pandemic is that we all need human connection, which is critical to businesses in the form of customer service. Stores that made changes that catered to their customers will stick around a lot longer than those that don’t, whether this is making sure that you are online or offering delivery options. Talking to your customers and understanding what they need is the best way to keep a business going

A dog chewing on a Barking Buddha braided bully stick.

Currently, the world is shifting more towards optimizing the user experience (UX), and we are seeing this more and more. Lucy continued with the pro tip that businesses should make sure they give the customer the best experience they can. This can be in the form of employee training if your employees can offer in-depth information about products and services so that customers get the best

“For any business regardless of size, being online is essential.” – Patrick Caprez.

If we look back 20 years ago, the pet industry was a very different place. Local businesses were more common, and often everything was done over the phone or in person. Cell phones were new on the horizon, and pagers were cool. Back in those days, you didn’t need to be online. In fact, the internet came on CDs in the mail. Fast forward to today, businesses are very different. 

In recent years as we focus more on customer service and that golden user experience, a business must be online to stay relevant in today’s shopping world. Offering online services is a critical part of customer service. In a world where everyone expects an easy “click and buy” feature, being online has become a normal part of customer service. 

“Our job is to make sure that pet health can reach everybody.” -Patrick.

Accessibility is an essential part of running a business, and not everyone can get up and go? We must allow everyone the opportunity to reach our products, even those that cannot reach a local store or market. Companies must be present when they shop whenever and however they want. 

Even small businesses shouldn’t be afraid of going up against big box companies like Petco and Pet Supermarket or even online giants like Amazon or Chewy. Because although they can offer a grand assortment of products, they cannot tailor their customer relationship and experience at such a massive scale through dedicated customer service as a mom-and-pop shop can

A dog outside enjoying a Barking Buddha Pet natural chew.

What is Something You Wish You Had Done Differently on Day One

Patrick answered, “Hire an employee.” While we often take pride in our work, it can often be hard to hand over parts of it to employees. Hiring your first employee might be the most important thing you do

Hiring your first employee can be a great business move. Bringing someone on board can take some of the workload off your shoulders and focus on more important things. Additionally, a good employee can help you grow your business and reach new heights.

When you first hire an employee, it makes the process of hiring the second much more manageable. This is because you now have somebody to help with the workload, and you can see how they work in your business. Furthermore, this means that you can find another employee who is a good fit for your company and who will be able to help you grow.

A dog holding a natural chew from Barking Buddha Pet

How Can Small Businesses Compete When it Comes to Pricing? 

Patrick replied: “Research, research, research.” 

Knowing your market is key to ensuring that you are pricing products accurately. And while many people are always worried about bottom lines and percentages, that might not be the smartest way to approach this big question. 

Price too high and products will sit on the shelf, price too low and you’ll either go out of business or people will assume it’s poorly made. Instead, business owners should be looking at the dollars rather than the percentages. Because just by following MAP (Minimum Advertised Price), sales can add up, create customer loyalty, and keep products moving. 

For example, if you have an item priced at $20 and you sell one a month for a 50% return, that is a $10 ROI. Whereas if you look at dollars, it might look more like this. 

The same item is priced at $15. The base cost is the same, so you only make $5 per sale. However, you might now sell five a month at a lower price. Making your profit $20. By discounting the product by $5, you actually made more

Another excellent place to start would be to talk to customers. Maybe they aren’t aware of a product. Having knowledgeable staff can help move products and offer input on what customers are looking for.

What Do You Think is the Key to Success When Owning A Business? 

Patrick and Lucy feel that the key to success can be hard to identify when it comes to owning a business because it means something different to every business. However, some key things can keep your business strong for years to come. 

Listen to Your Customers.

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. However, solving their problems can be a great way to stand out from big-name companies. By understanding what they want and need, you can create products and services that appeal to them and that they will want to buy. You can also get feedback from customers to help improve your business.

Don’t Have a Plan-B

While business school teaches you to have an exit strategy, you shouldn’t. Having a plan-b for running your business gives your mind its own scapegoat and allows you to believe you can fail. Furthermore, once you put that thought out into the universe, you are more likely to fail.

When you don’t have a Plan B, you force yourself to succeed. Putting all your effort and skills into a single goal is the best way to succeed at owning a business. 

Be Willing to Grow

Owning a business isn’t what it was ten years ago. Even in the past few, things have changed drastically. You must be willing to grow and change as the world around you changes. Stay humble in your business ventures and remember that no one can do it all. Taking classes, bringing on new employees, and learning new skills can all be ways to keep your business in top shape.

A dog in the grass chewing on a Barking Buddha bully stick.

Surround Yourself with Good People

Diversity and inclusion are essential in any business. However, if you surround yourself with good-hearted people, you’ll find that you will often get a variety of support. From all walks of life, different cultures can offer unique insight into your business. As a business owner, it is essential that you take the time to learn about diversity and inclusion. Doing so will make your business more successful and help you attract and retain the best employees.

Final Thoughts

The advice given in this article can help any business, but especially small businesses, to succeed. The main points are to surround yourself with good people, be willing to grow and change as needed, listen to your customers, and price products accurately. These tips are essential for any business owner who wants to make their company thrive. At Natural Craving Pet TreatsTM and Barking Buddha Pet, they strive to live by these principles and are constantly working to improve our business. We hope that this article has been helpful and that you will consider using some of these tips in your own business. 

Thanks for reading! And be sure to check out Barking Buddha Pet for an amazing inspirational company and all-natural dog chews.

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