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Adrian Archie

Invest in Diversity and Inclusion to Better Your Pet Business

Representation will positively impact your company’s culture and revenue while also creating strong connections within your community.




diverse food on plate

WHAT IS DIVERSITY? Simply put, people with different characteristics. Inclusion? An environment where they all feel valued and respected. If you own or manage a pet business and don’t nurture diversity and inclusion, you’re missing out on many positive returns.

A study by human resources analyst Josh Bersin found that companies with inclusion as a hallmark of their talent strategy had 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. Retail stores with a diverse staff see significantly higher sales, according to the Journal of Management, and have a more diverse customer base, allowing them to better serve the growing number of minority pet owners. Hispanic pet ownership, for example, increased by 44 percent over the past decade, Packaged Facts reports.

Representation matters for the above reasons and many more. So how can you create a diverse and inclusive experience for your team and your customers? Here are five ways to get started:

1. Make diversity a priority in hiring. The differing insights and perspectives will make your business more agile, intelligent and customer focused. You also can offer intern positions by partnering with minority youth agencies, exposing students to the pet industry as a career option and building deep community connections.

2. Be purposefully inclusive when sourcing. Doing so will set your product curation apart, attracting shoppers with an affinity for minority-owned brands and making your minority employees feel more welcome in the industry. You can find plenty of options through online searches — roundups exist for Asian-owned, Latinx-owned and Black-owned pet product businesses, just to name a few. Also searching hashtags like
#blackownedpetstore on social media will bring up several unique brands. Create “Diverse Creators” signage and social media posts to highlight these brands.

3. Develop content that reflects and authentically speaks to a diverse group of pet owners. As a Black business owner, it’s easy for me as I appear in much of my advertising and social media. Others can include a mix of ethnicities across marketing and advertising materials; include music across cultures in posts; and partner with minority-owned local businesses, within the pet industry and outside of it, to develop mutually beneficial relationships.


4. Recognize all cultural holidays. Employees and customers who celebrate them will feel included, and you will raise awareness across your community.

5. Food = relationships. Schedule periodic team gatherings where employees bring in favorite dishes. This allows employees of different groups to share their heritage and customs as well as get to know each other on a deeper level. Post gatherings on social networks for your customers to appreciate.

Nurturing diversity and inclusion in your pet business will allow you to grow intelligently, sustainably and responsibly — and not just in revenue but also with your staff and community.



NASC Media Spotlight

At first it was just an idea: Animal supplements needed the same quality control that human-grade supplements receive. But that was enough to start a movement and an organization —the National Animal Supplement Council — that would be dedicated to establishing a comprehensive path forward for the animal supplements industry. In this Media Spotlight interview, NASC’s president, Bill Bookout, talks to PETS+ interviewer Chloe DiVita about the industry today: Where it’s headed, what’s the latest focus and why it’s vital to gain the involvement of independent pet product retailers.

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