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Subscription Box Business

Why I Decided to Start a Dog Subscription Box Company

Kerrie Fitzgerald

For years I had dreamt of creating something from scratch. I loved the idea of being able to control my destiny and use my creative powers, mixed with my obsession for data and marketing into something big. In my head, I wanted to create a company like Toms, you know- buy one, give one. I’m a little obsessed with Toms and companies like Starbucks that give back to those in need while still creating an amazing product or service.

In 2016, I decided it was time to take the plunge. It was one sunny morning at 24 Hour Fitness in Irvine California where my idea for The Dapper Dog Box begun. I was mid-chest press machine when the idea popped into my head…. A subscription box business- Yes! They were so trendy at the time and virtually anything you could ever think of, there was a subscription for it.

I started to think of some initial ideas of what I could create. At first a baby box came to mind, but I quickly threw that idea out as it wasn’t something I saw myself being passionate about and knowledgable. I then started to think about some subscription boxes I had tried in the past and Barkbox came to mind immediately. I ordered a 6 month subscription for my dog Asha when she was a puppy and i HATED IT! The quality was bad, the treats were mostly biscuits and my dog wouldn’t eat a biscuit if she was starving, she wouldn’t play with the toys and they didn’t offer any customizations for grain free treats. I essentially donated almost everything to my best friends two dogs each month.

I started brainstorming ideas for how I could create a monthly dog subscription box that was better than Barkbox but also had different unique selling points. I started doing market research and looked at what else what out there. Despite a lot of options, none of the current boxes jumped out at me for being aesthetically appealing or having high quality. I decided my dog subscription box would be the #1 High End Subscription Box for Dogs and would include 3 things.

1. I would include trendy bandanas and bowties. I am an accessory manic for my dogs so this was a no brainer, plus NO ONE else was offering this so I knew this was my USP ( unique selling point.)

2. Would offer grain free treats as a customized option. Grain Free treats are a major trend and shockingly 99% of the subscription boxes didn’t even offer this, so since this was important to me and I knew there was a demand for it, this would be part of my service.

3. All products would be the highest quality! Treats would be all natural ( this was something that very important to dog owners) and/or organic, toys would be from the top brands and everything inside the box would look good together. The appearance of a consumer product is something that is important to me so I wanted to make sure the outside of the box, as well as the contents looked good.

Once I knew what type of product I wanted, I spent about a week trying to really decide if this was something I wanted to pursue. My background is marketing and sales and I thought that was a great skillset to start a company with. A week later, I decided to take a chance and start a business. The Dapper Dog Box officially began in March 2016 at a coffee table at Starbucks. The thrill, the excitement, I couldn’t contain myself during that time and I don’t think it was possible to have been more excited about anything in my whole life. Below is a picture of Asha, my black lab mix who is my inspiration for the dapper dog box. This image was taken at Newport Beach, California with my first prototype boxes and would be the banner image on my first website for one year. As a dog who does NOT smile EVER, it amazes me how happy she looks here. Maybe she knew how happy I was at that moment….:)


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