Lucky Puppy’s Business is Going to the Dogs’ Lovers

Sandi Hochman

Friends and fellow dog lovers Sandi Hochman and Jonathan Cathey got together to form Lucky Puppy to celebrate the love people have for “man’s best friend” by offering apparel for kids and folks who believe, like Charlie Brown, that happiness is a warm puppy. The “dog”-tag line for Lucky Puppy says it all — “Nothing But Cute.” Sandi Hochman shares with The Giggle Guide® her inspiration to start the lifestyle store that has become a well-known brand. Lucky Puppy is a fitting name, as the company actively helps to find new families for homeless dogs.

How did you get started in children’s retail?

It all goes back to my love of dogs. My dog is my child. She is my family. She bounds into the room with such energy, ready for anything. Whenever she came into the room I would say, “Hello, Puppy.” It finally struck me that there wasn’t anything out there for dog lovers who wanted to show (wear) their love for their doggies. Kids and puppies just seemed like the natural match. When I first got the idea, I had some samples made and they looked adorable on kids… it just seemed right. I have 9 nieces and nephews so I had a built-in consulting team. I asked them questions, showed them designs and we launched the Lucky Puppy collection in November of 2009. I also think that because we are donating a percentage to animal causes, it’s a good way to teach kids at a very early age how important helping others is… whether it’s people or animals.

What was your background prior to this business?

My background is television production. I have been and currently am a post production producer in addition to being the president and founder of Lucky Puppy.

What was the biggest challenge you faced when starting up?

Growing the business and getting the name out there have definitely been the biggest challenges.

What is one thing you would have done differently?

In hindsight I would have started with a tighter and more targeted collection. I produced baby, kid and adult styles which was too much to start. I am now pulling back and focusing primarily on children’s styles for the next season.

What are the three biggest keys to your success?

  1. One of the most important things is to have a team of people who not only understand the product but also work in a similar fashion. My television background has taught me to work under pressure and with quick deadlines. My Website team comes from this type of background as well and is able to pull together whatever I need, whenever I need it. Because of this we have been able to meet some very difficult deadlines.
  2. Have a clear idea of what you want, but be flexible and open to change.
  3. Keep the faith, no matter what. If you believe in your idea, keep going!

How do you evaluate and choose new product lines to pick up?

We see which designs are popular and try to put a fresh spin on them. For instance, our heart/paw design is very popular, so in our next collection we will use this design but it incorporate a twist into the style.

What types of marketing are most effective for your business?

We currently have a PR company assisting us with editorial outreach as well as sales and business development. To date, I have found that blog features have been very helpful because they are directed to our target customer; it’s instant and reaches a lot of people quickly. Also, Facebook and additional social media marketing tools have been beneficial in getting the word out.

How do “green” or eco-friendly concerns weigh into your business decisions?

I am always for taking the greener route and would like to carry my personal philosophy over to my business. We are offering a few organic items for that market including a one-piece outfit and beanies.

What is one trend you’re currently seeing with customers?

The burnout shirt is our most popular style for both adults and kids.

How does your business make use of the Internet?

Our main sales outlet is on the Web, We felt it was important to start with our own online retail store first in order to reach the masses and to link the site to the many social marketing outlets.

What is one change/addition that’s had a positive impact for your business?

I have a PR company assisting me with media outreach and sales consulting which has proven very helpful in getting the word out This sort of networking is huge.

If you had one piece of advice for someone entering children’s retail today, what would it be?

Assemble a team of people who know what they’re doing and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Experienced people have been willing to give me advice. Take it all in and do what is right for you and your company.

More About Lucky Puppy

Lucky Puppy is a collection of finely woven super soft cotton shirts, burnout tees; short sleeve and long, thermals, hoodies, one-piece outfits, dresses and oxfords. There are many styles to choose from with bold, contrasting colors including greens and pinks, blues and greys, purples and yellows — all adorned with the Lucky Puppy signature paw print, heart icon or doggy dish. Lucky Puppy also offers hats, key chains and charm bracelets and an additional line of organic cotton one-piece outfits and hats will launch in 2010.

While Lucky Puppy is cute and adorable, the real heart of the brand is what makes it irresistible. Created with the idea of giving back, each purchase of Lucky Puppy helps to rescue a homeless dog. Lucky Puppy is devoutly dedicated to matching strays with loving families and they have succeeded in this endeavor by partnering with foundations on a local and national level.

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