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10 Uniform Styles for Your Staff

If your staff apparel needs a makeover, look to these standouts for inspiration.

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EASILY IDENTIFIABLE. COMFY. Professional. Conversation starter. Functional.

The best business uniforms check all of these boxes — and then some. They also extend brand identity.

Barb Morris, co-owner of Treats on a Leash in Ames, IA, points to the aprons her employees wear as an example of that.

“They’re a great fit for the dog bakery aspect of our store,” she says. “The aprons set us apart from traditional pet stores and let customers know that we put a lot of time and thought into the edibles we carry.”

Owner Leel Michelle also had branding in mind when designing the stylish smocks her groomers don at Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe in San Diego, CA.

“Our uniforms convey the upscale and professional image with the fun and retro flair for which we are known,” she explains.

If your staff apparel needs a makeover, look to these standouts for inspiration.

Bow Wow Beauty Shoppe SAN DIEGO, CA

When owner Leel Michelle couldn’t find uniforms for groomers that combined fashion with functionality, she designed them herself and launched Retro Stylist Wear. The line now features a variety of smocks, pants and aprons in a range of silhouettes and sizes. All are tested and approved by Bow Wow staff before going on sale. “A great deal of thought, from the groomer perspective, has gone into our apparel design,” Michelle says. Smocks have three-quarter sleeves to protect elbows set on grooming tables. Pockets run vertical and have zippers to keep out paws and fur. The thicker, more durable and breathable fabric resists bleach and dye. Best of all, Michelle says, it deflects fur to help keep employees healthy. “Shaved fur can often act like a spear, lodge itself into the skin and get infected.” Bow Wow groomers (including Michelle, shown here) wear their choice of garments from the line.
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Treats on a Leash AMES, IA

These employee aprons (shown here on Maggie Rompot) further extend the store’s brand by putting its logo — featuring Belle the Basset Hound — front and center. The late rescue dog inspired Barb and Michael Morris to open Treats on a Leash. They also rank high in functionality, Barb says, “when filling bulk baskets and the bakery case, and when greeting eager jumping pups!”


Blue Skies Pet Care NEWTON, KS

Owner Ashley Klein has her team wear these fun T-shirts when on duty, whether they’re walking dogs, pet sitting or representing at events. In addition to being a conversation starter — “People love the quote and engage the person wearing the shirt,” she says — they also serve as inexpensive and easy advertising.


Fur Baby Pet Boutique & Doggie Daycare MILFORD, DE

Each department at this pet business gets its own uniform, which varies by season. “We go to great lengths to make sure our facility reflects the high level of services we offer,” owner Sherry Shupe says. “Part of that experience is ensuring our team of pet professionals are always wearing clean, comfortable and easily identifiable uniforms.” Front desk staff (including Rebecca Nicholson, shown here) don these polos, in store colors with the Fur Baby logo, during the summer. They’re made of lightweight, moisture-wicking material. Shupe adds, “It’s also a bonus for our team members to not have to get their own clothes hairy or slobbery!”


Mutt Waggin’ MEDFIELD, MA

Owner Andrew Gaouette purposefully keeps his employee uniforms casual. The newest shirts extend the store brand by featuring its logo, his Boston Terrier, Loki. “Our customers seem to appreciate the laid-back look of the classic T-shirts, as opposed to the business-style polos,” he says. “I think that’s important in the pet industry as you don’t want to come off as pushing sales.”
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Urban Pooch CHICAGO, IL

Staff at Urban Pooch Canine Life Center and Urban Pooch Training & Fitness Center (including Laura Bouxsein, shown here) get to celebrate Chinese Year of the Dog with their current uniform. No matter the theme, retail and purchasing manager Brittany West says, “We like to use bright colors to indicate who are team members are at a glance,” adding that the T-shirts also “promote the brand in a fun way that reinforces the joy of Urban Pooch.”


Wag CentralSTRATFORD, CT

Daycare and retail staff wear these baseball-cut shirts featuring the store’s logo. Owner Angela Pantalone says, “I feel it’s important for workers to identify with the brand and more importantly for clients to know who is working here.” Hats and aprons help on that front, and also keep employees tidy. “I don’t tolerate a sloppy, messy or disheveled look, even though we are working with dogs.”


Simba’s Barkery DALLAS, TX

When this online dog bakery does pop-ups in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, team members wear #DogBar T-shirts. Co-owners Saurabh Rao and Nikita Hemani (shown here) also wear them when out and about. “The idea behind the T-shirts is to create a certain level of curiosity,” Rao says. “I’m sitting at a Starbucks, sporting the #DOGBAR T-shirt right now, sipping on coffee. In the hour that I have been here, I have handed out our business cards to a couple off people who are curious about what #DOGBAR is and what a Bark-tender does.” And what exactly do they do? “Our pop-up #DOGBAR creates a bar experience for dogs and their parents. We mix fresh treats for our dog clientele, such as Dog Beer Floats or Strawberry Pawtinis. Our customers demand a level of quality and customization, which we are able to deliver by #DOGBAR. We are available for private parties and public dog-friendly events.”


Dog Krazy Multiple locations in Virginia

Employees at the four Dog Krazy stores have a dozen or so T-shirts to choose from as their uniform. The Resting Bulldog Face option, inspired by owner Nancy Guinn’s beloved late pup Piglet, proves popular.


Bath & Biscuits Granville, OH

Staff members at this pet spa and market also have options. The No Big Woof suits groomers nicely, as it relays their attitude when it comes to wet dogs and the mess that comes with them.

Pamela Mitchell is the senior editor at PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Spot the senior Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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Portable Profits: Make Your Business Shine on the Road with the Right Booth

Learn how event booths can spring up sales.

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FESTIVAL SEASON WILL be here before you know it. Or perhaps outdoor events happen year-round in your area. Either way, put together a booth for your pet business that pulls passersby from the crowd. These businesses show how an event booth can expand your presence in the community, attract new customers and ring up sales.

Bark On Mulford

ROCKFORD, IL

With her store just over a year old, Kaye Busse-Kleber uses a variety of events to attract new customers. She fills a table with items that offer immediate gratification, such as tasty treats and colorful bandanas.

“People purchased and put them on the dogs right then,” Busse-Kleber says of the accessories. “It added to the festivities.”

Tip: Merchandise during prep. “I organize stuff in assorted baskets/containers while packing at my store,” Busse-Kleber shares. “That way, it’s minimal setup/teardown at the event.”

Wishbone Pet Care

MISSOURI CITY, TX

Tammi Bui sets up a booth each year at the Fort Bend Pet Expo, among other pet-centric events, offering those who adopt a dog that day a free nail trim or bath coupon. Some of the pups become grooming clients for life. Other giveaways include shampoo samples, dog tags and branded poop bags, and she offers food and treats for sale.

Price of Custom Table Runner: $70 | Source: Vistaprint

Tip: “Bring one of your most outgoing staff with you, someone not shy, to talk to people walking by your booth.”

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Pawz On Main

COTTONWOOD, AZ

Her store may be in a tourist area, but Denise Strong attends festivals to meet more locals.
“They keep our doors open with their repeat business. We hand out gift bags with free samples of dog foods and treats.”
Strong recreates her store outside, down to the sign with leopard-print border. At a recent event, dogs could get their nails painted for a donation to local rescues.

Tip: “Purchase quality tent, tables, tablecloths and signage. Your booth is a full representation of your storefront. Perception is reality!”

Dog Krazy

MULTIPLE LOCATIONS, VA

Let’s face it: Smooch the Pooch serves as the main draw at Dog Krazy’s booth. How could anyone resist a kiss from Pork Wonton. He — along with other store pets — joins Nancy and Chris Guinn at a variety of events.
“We try to do as many as possible because pet lovers are everywhere,” she says.
Their most successful 2018 setup was at Virginia PrideFest. Attendees who followed Dog Krazy on social media were invited to spin a wheel to win a prize, among them a pooch smooch from Porkie (below left) or Clovis (below right). The store gained 500 followers that day. Event-specific selfie frames were also a hit.

Price of Canopy: $700 | Source: ABC Canopy

Tip: Stand out. “Bright yellow was the perfect choice, as most people pick white or a darker color,” Nancy explains. “You cannot miss the Dog Krazy booth!”

All Pet Supplies & Equine Center

SPRINGFIELD, MO

Visitors to this store’s booth can shop the Raw Bar, buy a toy and even play Dip Your Dog a Bone, which encourages kids to dip and decorate a treat. Jan Guin sets up at three pet-centric events each year to meet potential new customers.

Tip: Sell instead of sample. “We love handing out samples of dog food, but people take more than their share, so that’s frustrating to monitor,” she says. “We decided we might as well sell something, and who doesn’t like buying their dog a treat?”

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Bubbles & Beyond Pet Salon

TOPTON, PA

Kelly Reed has three goals with each event her grooming salon sets up at: “Give back to clients, make personal connections with prospective clients, and inform the community about grooming and their pet’s well-being.”
Products for sale, giveaways and grooming literature are available, and event-goers can snap a pic with the salon mascot in the Bubbles & Beyond photo booth, “with the hope that it will be shared on social media,” she says.

Tip: “Do your research and target the events you think will generate the new business you’re seeking.”

Pupology

GEORGETOWN, TX

Janet Cesarini doesn’t set up a booth for her business at area events. The booth IS her business. She does not have a brick-and-mortar location, but instead sets up at events and dog-friendly locations every weekend from March through December.

“Events are my main income producer, so my goal is sales,” Cesarini says. “I also collect emails for marketing and promote my social media channels to increase followers.”

Her tent proves versatile as it has sides that can open and close like a shower curtain. She uses shelving, tables and fixtures from IKEA, Hobby Lobby and even Goodwill, and pop-up slatwall offers further display options.

Price of Tent: $300 | Source: Sam’s Club

Tip: “Look at Pinterest for ideas, make a planogram and practice setting up your booth before the day of your event. There’s a big difference between your planogram and real life.”

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Yarn & Bone Pet Supply Co.

CAMDEN, DE

Matthew Moorefield and Michael Morris set up at regular and pet-centric festivals alike to boost awareness of their store. Their most successful event in 2018 was The Bug and Bud Festival.

“We had a lot of customers return to both our Camden and Rehoboth Beach stores with coupons,” Moorefield says.

Tip: “Don’t overthink the booth. Try to capture your store in 10 by 10 area.”

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Make Your Cat Customers Feel at Home with a Dedicated Space to Merchandise

Some stores even have entire rooms dedicated to kitties.

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WHEN CAT PEOPLE VISIT your store, how do you make them feel? Appreciated as pet product consumers? Or neglected, as you only offer them food and a few other items, with minimal merchandising? These businesses strive for the former. Some even have entire rooms dedicated to kitties!

Flying M Feed Co.

HOUSTON, TX

The cat section only takes up 100 of the store’s 4,000 square feet, but a mural and range of products welcome all friends of felines. “We have everything from Purina to Fromm to Lotus, wet and dry. Inaba Ciao treats such as the yogurt sticks and vacuum-sealed filets,” owner Trace Menchaca says. “We try to find really amazing new products from companies like Polydactyl and Dezi & Roo. We also have remedies and supplements, and we sell World’s Best Cat Litter. Meowijuana, of course, too.”
Tip: Consider hosting an annual sale like Flying M’s Catapalooza, which offers a gift with $20 purchase.

Wags to Whiskers

PLAINFIELD, IL

Janelle Pitula shows her affection for felines with the store’s “Kitty Corner,” which features 137 flavors of canned food alone, plus five dry, four raw and four freeze-dried brands. A variety of supplies completes the 150-square-foot section (of 1,000 total). A charming touch: Colorful decals make cats appear to sit on the area’s thermostat and freezer.
TIP: Pitula points out about cat food, “Same margins as dog food, takes up less space.” Consider expanding your offerings.

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Youngblood’s Natural Animal Care Center & Massage

GREENFIELD, IN

The cat room at this store does double duty. Not only will customers find a carefully curated selection of products presented with cozy, country charm, but those looking to adopt can sit and spend time with a foster kitty from the local humane society. Co-owners Samantha and Kim Youngblood added the 255-square-foot room (of 1,200 total) six months ago and are glad they did.
“We’ve seen an increase in sales,” Samantha says. “We also try to educate cat parents that it is just as important to feed fresh, use safe cat toys, supplements, etc. for a cat as it is for a dog. They are really responding.”

Noble Beast Natural Market for Pets

PHOENIX, AZ

In 2017, Marsha Vallee and Alison Chandler saw their sales of frozen raw cat food begin to climb. They built on that momentum by devoting 510 of their 1,560 retail square footage to felines.
“We were able to expand our food lines and bring in more supplies just for the kitties,” Vallee says. “Customers really appreciate the care and variety of fun new things they see in our cat room.”
Among the many offerings in this colorful, whimsically merchandised space are items from Kate Benjamin’s Hauspanther line with Primetime Petz. She curates her section for the store and shops there for her clowder.
While Vallee and Chandler don’t track overall sales by species, they can point to a specific brand as a sign of the room’s success: Fromm cat food sales have increased by 17 percent.

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Moore Equine Feed & Supply

SOUTHERN PINES, NC

5 Cats get their own window display and adjacent 250-square-foot section (of 2,500 total) at this store. Co-owner Kaily Meeks says they began expanding pet offerings, including creation of “Cat Land,” in summer 2017, and “have seen sales grow at an exponential rate.”
Best-selling raw foods include Primal, Answers and Stella & Chewy’s, and Fromm leads kibble and canned food sales. Karma Cat caves add color and whimsy to the section.

Bones2Go!

HOUSTON, TX

Tracey Rentcome specializes in raw food, with the majority of her customers shopping for dogs. That doesn’t mean, though, that those with kitties get slighted.
“People who come in to buy food for their cats want the same experience, actually an even better one, that they get at a big-box store,” she says. “They want to look at different products, see new ones and feel up on the latest trends.”
With that in mind, Rentcome gave her freezer room a feline theme. Toys, scratchers, treats and other products line one wall, and cat shelves wrap around so store pet Devil Kitty can oversee his department from on high.

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Make a Statement About Your Brand with Your Shopping Bags

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How do you practice environmental sustainability in your pet business? By sourcing chews and treats locally? Carrying recyclable toys? Installing water-saving systems and solar panels?

Whatever you do, the planet appreciates it — as do your like-minded customers!

Up your store’s eco-friendliness as well as its brand visibility by providing reusable and/or paper shopping bags with your logo. These stores are doing exactly that.

The Pet Beastro

MADISON HEIGHTS, MI

Shoppers can buy the recyclable polymer-plastic tote for $4.97 and get a 50-cent credit with purchase. Members of a loyalty program earn a free bag when they spend $1,000 or more in a year. And customers can play the “Where in the World Is the Beastro Bag?” contest. They enter by posting a photo of their traveling tote to Facebook or Instagram. Grand prize: a $500 store gift card. “The end result is that we are saving precious resources and doing our part to clean up the planet,” owner Jill Tack says.

Price: $1.80 per bag | Source: oasisbags.com

TIP: Allow shoppers to donate their bag credit to a charity your store supports.

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Hawaii Doggie Bakery

HONOLULU, HI

Owner Niki Libarios began offering recycled and recyclable paper bags — featuring the store logo against a bright yellow background — long before Honolulu passed laws regarding shopping bags. Stores are prohibited from providing plastic or non-recyclable paper bags, and must charge at least 15 cents for any recyclable or reusable bag. Her bags cost much more than that. “We just consider it part of the cost of doing business,” she says, adding. “It’s a great marketing tool for us, especially when we do events.”

Price: 62 cents a bag | Source: local print shop

Pupology

GEORGETOWN, TX

Janet Cesarini stocks recycled and recyclable paper bags in three sizes, each adorned with a colorful logo sticker and lined with paw print or red tissue. “It’s another way we can give back, by not adding to the world’s trash heap. We get PAWsitive feedback from our customers.”

Price: 23-27 cents per bag | Source: papermart.com

TIP: If using stickers to brand bags, keep a stack at the register to sell separately. “I offset some of their cost by selling the die-cut design for $1 each.”

Busch Pet Products

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO

Stacy Busch provides recyclable paper bags for multiple reasons. “I try to be conscious of the environment. I’m not a fan of plastic bags at all, and very recently, our city stopped taking them in recycling.” Customers love the quality and design of the store’s shopping bags with logo sticker — inspired by the Beagles her family once bred. Paw print and red plaid tissue dress up bags for gifts. “Many customers tell me that they repurpose the bags, for taking their lunch or other things. Customers bring them back, too! They say they are too nice to recycle or throw away.”

Price: 18-25 cents per bag | Source: nashvillewraps.com

TIP: Place larger orders to save money. “If you spend $300 or more with Nashville Wraps, you get free shipping. That helps a lot!”

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Lucky Dogs

SKANEATELES, NY

This store’s shopping bags reflect its community’s attitude toward the environment. “Many residents in our area and many of our shoppers are eco-conscious,” owner Amy Schiek says. “I wanted to use quality paper bags with a boutique look that would be recyclable. It was a bonus when I found a style made from recycled materials.” She also sells a reusable canvas tote, complete with a definition of dog any pet parent will appreciate, for $16.

Price: 31-39 cents per paper bag, plus printing; $10.50 per canvas bag | Sources: bagsandbowsonline.com; local print shop

Lewis and Bark’s Outpost

RED LODGE, MT

“We wanted our shopping bags to reflect the rich history of our area and the simple way of life here, while also being environmentally friendly,” owner Danielle Chandler says. Recycled and recyclable paper bags feature the store logo — starring her dogs Gus and Junior exploring a la Lewis and Clark — and have buffalo plaid tissue tucked inside. She recently introduced a reusable canvas tote as well, available for $12. “They sell very well, and we will be diversifying into different colors and styles for our next order.”

Price: 18 cents per paper bag; $6 per canvas bag | Sources: nashvillewraps.com; vistaprint.com

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