National Black Owned Business Month
August is National Black Business Month, which means that as a nation striving for equality and diversity alike, we make conscious efforts to honor and acknowledge black-owned businesses, as well as appreciate all that they stand for. At ASP, it also means highlighting pet businesses owned by black entrepreneurs. Here are a few of our favorites, all of which deserve recognition and respect every single day!
Jennifer Woodard began her own business in order to help her fur-baby Apollo, who was dealing with skin sensitivities. As a registered nurse, she knows how vital skincare is; considered a main organ in and of itself, it also covers every other major human organ. The same is true for animals. As such, the skin needs constant upkeep. Allergies and irritations are not only often widespread, but significantly troublesome. Jennifer wanted to make sure Apollo was able to live his best life, and that meant providing all natural products for his entire body. Every product sold has been tested and approved by Apollo himself, who is the company’s official CBO, otherwise known as Chief Bark Officer.
Located in Ohio, Apollo’s Paw offers their customers handcrafted and cruelty free sprays, balms, and shampoos. While they’re careful to reiterate that nothing on their website should be used in place of veterinary care and or advice, their website claims all items are “tough enough to combat your fur-babies rough and cracked paws, dry snouts, and skin dermatitis but gentle enough on their sensitive skin.” As a bonus, online shoppers get to “meet Apollo Dexter” through his FAQ. The cute little pup claims to love all his toys, nap time, mealtime, and most of all, his amazing furMOM, who went the extra mile to make sure he was happy.
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Ava Dorsey is only fifteen years young, but is already a business owner! As the Founder and Chief Pet Officer of Ava’s Pet Palace, she came up with a business plan when she was six years old. She’s come a long way since her crayon-scrawled job plan, which you can see for yourself on her website. Yet her passions have only grown stronger with time. In 2016, Ava’s parents allowed her to begin creating organic, all-natural treats and selling them online. Her business took off two years later, and even though they need a lot more hands involved to fill all her customer orders, she’s been vigilant about ensuring that high-quality ingredients are still of top priority. Her business is now even USDA certified organic.
The Pet Palace mission statement says the company was built with “the belief that all pets (in our homes, living in shelters, or even homeless) deserve lots of love, kindness, and the best nutrition,” and they’re certainly on the right track to turning that belief into their consumers’ reality. With the help of social media and her determined mindset, Ava’s business dreams have flourished. Aided by her mom (who she lives with in Chicago), she now ships out hundreds of pet treats each month. The healthy treats are sold all over the nation and carried by over 200 pet-friendly retail stores. Ava seems to be extremely close knit with her customer base, which is (largely) made up by an online community of pet parents, animal lovers, and advocates.
Nana and Marcus Pfeifer are the married fur-parents of Quinn and Minnie-May. Their business venture started when their schnauzer Beau was diagnosed with cancer. They wanted to make her remaining time here as comfortable as possible, and recognized just how important high-quality pet products were to their plight. While Beau has since crossed over the figurative rainbow bridge, they still remain committed to holistic pet care.
With the help of veterinarians, they’ve created a variety of hemp and CBD-based supplements. Their pet chews are listed as made with only a single ingredient, and they work hard to make sure that all their products don’t contain any ingredients they wouldn’t use themselves. Though currently residing with their dogs in Austin, Texas, they believe the perfect home is less about the where. In fact, the idea for their business name came from frequent re-locating. According to their website, turning each house they inhabit into a combined homestead and a well-balanced landscape is of the utmost importance. Thus, Homescape was born.
The Pfeifers also donate to many pet organizations local to their area. Their list contains ten rescues and animal wellness initiatives, and they hope to add more with the help of their customers. You can find more information about their cannabidiol and hemp based pet-care products directly on their FAQ page, including but not limited to sourcing specifics and cannabis-related definitions. They even have a 30-day refund guarantee if owners don’t see the results they had hoped for.
LiZo Bandana Co is listed as an “eco-friendly lifestyle brand and small business supporter.” The owner, a twenty-three-year-old named Haley, has always loved entrepreneurship. While her business started as a way to make some money during the pandemic, she now describes the venture as her full-time passion! Customers are able to shop handmade accessories not just for their fur-babies, but also for themselves! As for Haley, she became a fur-mom during college, and currently raises dogs Lilah and Zoe at home in Texas.
As a former pet food company analyst, Renaldo Webb became disheartened by the low-quality ingredients found in mass-marketed dog food. In 2015, he decided to start his own quality pet food brand. Together with DVM, DACVN, veterinary nutritionist Dr. Renee Streeter, Pet Plate provides meals and treats aimed at helping dogs live an overall healthier life. Their website mission statement professes their “commitment to quality, safety, science, and exceptional taste” and claims that it comes through in every bite of food.
After making an appearance on season 8 of Shark Tank, the company gained recognition and grew by leaps and bounds. In 2021, they raised 9 million dollars in funding, with General Mills being listed as making a large contribution. They now provide subscription-based pet meal delivery services in almost every state. Each meal is specifically catered to the allergies and health needs of the dog recipient.
Travel-oriented blogger Adriannea Smith created The Doggish Life subscription box so that she could help save pet owners time on their pet-product research. The company does all the legwork, putting in long hours to research every item they put into their boxes, so owners can rest easier knowing their dog’s treats and toys are all not only safe, but high-quality.
Both of Adriannea’s parents work (worked) in the airline industry, which she states had a very huge impact on her business ventures. When it comes to both blogging and animals, she had the following to say:
“As a frequent flier and a former veterinarian technician, it has been a blessing to be able to turn both (of my) passions, travel and animals, into a way to help others!”
Because she’s worked so closely with rescues and animal hospitals and knows first-hand how crucial funding is to save our less-fortunate four-legged friends, a portion of each purchase from The Doggish Life is donated directly to animal rescue and shelter endeavors.
Trill Paws founder Rachel Jones gets a lot of inspiration from “pop-culture icons and sayings.” The concept for her business came from the desire to spice up the (normally) boring and plain, standard dog tag options. Based out of Los Angeles, they not only specialize in trendy and relatable fur-baby accessories, but merchandise for fur-parents (and or pet-lovers in general).
According to the website, Trill Paws is more than a fashion store, though. They’re a pet lifestyle brand. While some of their pet tags and stylish products contain quotes, memes, and more, they sell mix-and-match leashes and collars.
Arkansas-based resident Nicole Winstead created Woofcat in 2012. After several years of spending personal funds on dog-rescue endeavors, she began making treats and snacks as a way to save some money. Her friends tried them out on their fur-kids as well, and they were such a huge success that she was encouraged to sell them. She’s continued to do so since then, turning her savings-hack into a well-developed pet treat business.
All WoofCat treats are handcrafted by Nicole herself, and created with organic, high-quality ingredients. She lists the pet community as her inspiration, and what drives her passion as well. Her mission is to “nurture a platform that creates change and healing.” She goes on to tell the story of how her son Ransom came up with the idea for her company name when he was just a toddler. To read more about it or browse her pet products, be sure to check her website out.
We hope that you’ll join our endeavors to spread the word about these amazing black-owned businesses and the talented, driven self-starters that turned their dreams into reality!
The benefits of an Emotional Support Animal certification and a Psychiatric Service Dog certification are drastically different. Fortunately for you, American Service Pets’ network of active board certified doctors can help you find the right path to certification. To find out whether you need an ESA or PSD letter, take our easy, three-step Pet Owner Survey!
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