Brand Interview – Annette Frey – Biscuits by Lambchop™

Annette Frey, Biscuits by Lambchop™

How long has your company been in business?
A few years but I re-branded about a year ago and feel like the company was essentially relaunched with all it’s ducks in a row, err….. doggies in a line!

Please tell us a bit about your company
Biscuits by Lambchop™ was created after my own dog developed a myriad of medical issues, including kidney disease and food allergies and was placed on strict dietary guidelines. With nothing to reward him but a “good boy” and a pat on the head, I knew I had to do more.  After 14 years working in physical therapy with humans, I knew all about adapting to new and specialized needs.  So I took to the kitchen, testing hundreds of recipe combinations, while my picky taste-tester, Lambchop, sat eagerly awaiting the next creation.

Finally, I developed a treat that not only met all his opposing dietary needs, but was healthy, nutritious and delicious.  Lambchop even gave them 4 paws up!  All his canine friends agreed and those with food allergies really did a happy dance along with their humans who were happy because not only did their pups love the treats but their digestive systems did too.  That’s when we knew we couldn’t keep them to ourselves and Biscuits by Lambchop™ was born!

My glass is always half full — Starlet

 

Mission, goals
Providing healthy treats for all dogs and especially fulfilling snack reward and training treat needs of dogs with food allergies and other special dietary restrictions, because no dog should have to go without.

Educating caretakers on a healthy doggie lifestyle and problem solving and balancing needs of special needs dogs.

Teaching people, especially children, how to meet and greet dogs and other animals for the safety, comfort, respect and well-being of all living beings.

Do you donate to charities? Tell us about that also and why.
Biscuits by Lambchop™ was founded because of the special needs of one dog and then the realization that so many other dogs had special needs too.  So donating to others in need was a no brainer. We started out donating to various shelters and still do. But when our online social media presence began to take shape, we connected with some amazing animal lovers and a couple of veterinarians who are amazing at stepping up to the plate for various needs in the animal world.  We are always happy to help with events and donate product either for auction or for giveaways to help raise funds for various needs, whether it be for animal shelters, raising money for a little boy to get a seizure alert service dog, Paws for Japan – helping raise funds for World Vets who were in Japan very early on after the earthquakes to assist in treating the many animals that were injured.

The list goes on. We don’t usually talk about these and haven’t put them up on our website because we don’t do it for the press but having you ask is a reminder that people want to know that a business cares so we’ll put that in the works!

We are actually working on a huge project now that plans to give back to many in a big way and will raise awareness about animal issues in a different and fun way. We’re very excited!

How did you know what typeface (font) would be right for your company wordmark or logo?
Originally, I did my own design and chose something I just liked.  I didn’t realize it wouldn’t print all that well and would look pixelated just because of the font it was – papyrus.

When I re-branded and hired a designer, she sent me many fonts she thought would work but I still had trouble choosing because all I could think of was what I liked vs what was right for my brand.  A friend, who has a graphic design degree, told me about Paul Rand – the father of logo design. “Simplicity and readability” were the must-have takeaways I got from reading about him. He did the old IBM, CBS, UPS logos, and more.  Then I finally “got it.”  I started noticing fonts everywhere and took photos of them.  Then our designer got a better sense of what I liked and put it together with choices that she thought worked from a design aspect. We finally chose from there.  It was a very educational process.

If your logo has an illustration, describe why that art was the right thing, animal, place, object, etc…
Originally, I had a photo of Lambchop and then a photo of Starlet on the second product, named after her.  This was when I did the design myself.  I was pretty adamant about the photos but the design wasn’t very cohesive.  When our designer came back with the line drawing I didn’t know what I thought at first because it wasn’t what I was expecting.  But it grew on me fairly quickly and I think it actually looks like Lambchop!  She did a great job!

How did you decide on the right color palette to fit your company look and feel?
Our designer had the general color scheme down but when she sent the hard copies they looked different than online because every printer will pretty much print differently due to their calibration.  So I sat down at a local graphic design office for 2+ hours with their PMS color charts, then brought that same friend back and sat for another hour choosing.  It paid off – I love the colors we chose!  Down to red on the tiny red heart in the Handmade in the USA blurb on the back of our package.  I highly recommend looking at these color charts before going to press to make sure you like the colors and give your printer the PMS colors as well to be sure!

How did you decide which type of designer to work with, or did you design your own identity and web presence?
I came across a designer on Savor the Success when I was looking at web designers, The Creative Slant.  I really loved a component of their website and also their branding/packaging designs.  When we spoke, I realized I should re-brand first, think about the website second, so we went to work on the branding.

I haven’t had anyone else work on our website yet.  I did all that work on my own, learning as I went along.

In what order did you present your company to the world? Did you start with marketing and products, or website, blog and social media?
Product first, some collateral materials second, then website and later, social media.  Re-branding professionally really made the most impact though. Our re-brand represented our product much more cohesively.  It feels right and I feel confident bringing it into any store or sending photos to any press outlet.

How long after the launch of your company did you start pitching in social media?
Maybe 2 years.

Did you do research or study any software, take webinars, teleclasses, before approaching any area of your marketing or web presence?
I woke up one New Year’s Eve Day and saw an ad for The KBuzz (now Likeable Media) on a Facebook Ad.  It looked intriguing. I didn’t know much about Facebook and didn’t want to click on the ad so I Googled their name, read their whole site – because they have such a fun story, and spoke to the owner the next day.  I found out I was doing it all wrong (I only had a personal profile that I was using for my business).  They turned out not to be in my budget at the time but Dave Kerpen, the owner, was so amazing.  He told me they had webinars and so I signed up for every one I could make, or I’d watch them later.  They often had contests and I even won a few because I knew their story so well, reading their website head to toe (because of their great story)!

Do you advertise locally in newspapers and/or nationally in magazines? No.  Are they effective?
I think newspapers and magazines are effective when they feature you on their own.  It’s a completely different angle.  A trusted source (said magazine, online press, radio or TV) who likes you or your product speaks much more to consumers than an ad you take out promoting yourself.

When Martha Stewart’s dogs bark about Biscuits by Lambchop™, other dogs’ ears perk up!  Okay – that’s not completely true. Dogs may not think Francesca, Sharkey & Ghenghis Kahn Stewart are different than any other dog, but their people know that if Martha lets them eat our biscuits, they must be good!  We all know she wouldn’t let them eat just anything.

Do you advertise online using Google, Facebook or on other company sites? Are they effective?
I used Google AdWords for a while and didn’t find it useful.  I may not have been using the right keywords but it turned me off and I haven’t tried again. Facebook ads helped me gain some fans to the Page but not sure it sold product.  I was just building my Facebook presence though, so that helped and I was okay with the outcome.

When you printed your products, packaging, business cards and other print marketing did you choose an online printer or visit a local vendor?
I used a local printer in the beginning but their colors were extremely inconsistent.  I finally moved to an professional online source, Maverick Labels.  I would love to use local but it has to work from both a quality standpoint and price.  At least Maverick ships from the East Coast so it’s not traveling too far to get to me.

Did you know anything about different types of papers, when you wanted to print your marketing materials?
Not a whole lot but I sourced samples from many companies and asked a lot of questions before choosing.  I used a glossy finish before regrinding and now use a gorgeous matte that perfectly compliments the new rice paper finish on our pouches.

Have you ever used “green” technology in printing, using FSC certified papers or recycled paper and if not, how likely are you at trying this on a next project?
I use “green” materials whenever I can but labels for instance, I am told that the glue is NOT “green” and so the labels really aren’t.  It’s not always black and white. I try and look beyond the buzz word that can be used loosely.

If you sell products, are they produced in the USA or abroad?
New York City, USA

Is there anything you haven’t yet tackled, but will want to do soon?
Many things I’m not sure I can talk about just yet!

To learn more about Annette Frey and Biscuits by Lambchop™ visit the links below:

Website:  http://www.biscuitsbylambchop.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/biscuitsbylambchop
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/lambybiscuits
LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/biscuitsbylambchop
YouTube:  http://www.youtube.com/biscuitsbylambchop
Blog:   http://www.biscuitsbylambchop.com/throwyourdogabone
Newsletter Signup:   http://eepurl.com/fo6q

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