When I launched Bundle x Joy in mid-2022, my goal was to disrupt the pet care industry by giving our customers easy access to healthier dog food. I also wanted to support other female-led businesses, as I’m passionate about helping other women entrepreneurs succeed.
My secret ingredient? Forming strategic partnerships with other women-owned businesses in the pet care space. Today, I collaborate with such businesses, and those partnerships not only allow me to expand my website’s product offerings but also to share valuable insights and grow our businesses in mutually beneficial ways.
After working for 15 years with some of the largest pet retailers and manufacturers, I became disillusioned with the lack of diversity, inclusivity and alignment in leadership. I started Bundle x Joy 2022 as my passion project—a way to drive the change I wanted to see.
A first-generation Latina, I asked myself: How can I create a pet company where women business owners from different backgrounds can band together to serve our customers?
For the better part of a year, I attended pet shows across the country searching for potential partners that fit the bill. I’d walk up to someone and say: “I’m Jess. I’m launching this brand, and I’d love to build a diverse network of amazing female founders. Would you be interested in partnering?” I heard “no, thank you” a lot, but I developed relationships with many of those business owners who said yes.
Each partnership is different, but they help increase our revenue potential while getting more exposure for our respective businesses through cross-promotion and other means. In our online “JOY shop,” for example, we sell my brand’s dog food, supplements and treats in curated bundles through a monthly subscription. We don’t promote other dog foods on our website, but we do include products that are complementary to ours. It’s a nice additional revenue driver.
We also collaborate with our partners to create special promotions and campaigns. Last Thanksgiving, for example, I worked with Brutus Bone Broth on a social media video campaign showing how dog owners can create a “doggie dinner” by pouring the broth over our food. We’ve also put samples of Brutus broth in our subscription bundles with a note that says: “Here’s some added JOY.” Brutus, in turn, has included samples of our products in their social media influencer gift bags at conferences.
We occasionally tag and give “shout-outs” to our partner brands on Instagram, as they do likewise for us.
One big benefit of our collaborations is that we’ve built a large digital community without spending a penny on digital marketing. While our Instagram account has about 4,000 followers, it’s growing quickly thanks to the shout-outs and cross-promotion we’ve gotten from our partners.
They’ve also helped us move beyond exclusively being an ecommerce brand. Bundle x Joy is now in 800 retail stores nationwide, including Whole Foods, CVS and Sprouts Farmers Market. The connections I’ve made have been instrumental in helping us carve our business model and grow.
When you start a business in an industry dominated by major brands—like pet food—you have to be strategic about how you make inroads and connect with the people who might be interested in buying from you. Partnering with brands that are aligned in terms of the customers you’re trying to reach, your values and your goals is a great way to reach more people and collectively make a bigger impact.Print this article