One year ago today we had our first sale to Lara King! There has been some first this year that I've posted about but October 17, 2018, is when we started selling our gear and it will be our official birthday.
So... what the hell just happened?
We had a crazy idea
Looking back I sometimes shake my head and say to myself, "what the hell was I thinking?" I'll just start a dog company and start selling dog gear?
That's what we did, but there was a lot of thinking about what it meant to be a dog owner, to be in a place like Calgary, Alberta, to have the most unbelievable scenery in our backyard and connecting all this in a brand.
That's how Rocky Mountain Dog was born.
It's hard to believe a year has gone by since we started selling RMD gear online. When you go from one day to the next it doesn't really feel like a lot is happening but when you look back, it's hard to believe we got here.
We needed to create a brand
If this was going to stick, we needed a brand, a lifestyle, something we all have in common.
We created the Rocky Mountain Dog logo and we lucked out with an extremely talented designer who created our brand.
Then we started posting to Instagram and Facebook. Since July of 2018, we've posted every single day. It was pretty lonely at the beginning but we now have 6,300 followers - thank you, thank you, thank you!
Getting our products ready to sell
We started receiving our products in the Fall of 2018 and the learning curve started with customs. I had no idea how customs worked and I'm still not 100% clear but all products are held in customs and a tax is applied to the products depending on its code.
My garage is the delivery bay and the basement is the warehouse. We have a lot of inventory so please, please buy some RMD gear :)
Taking product photography
We then needed some product photography! So we brought in Tracy Reynolds to take product and lifestyle photos.
We needed product shots.
Lifestyle shots with Butch.
And human apparel.
If you build it they will come
I thought I would have a lot of sales when I turned on the e-commerce store for Rocky Mountain Dog, boy was I wrong!
What I've learned is it's hard to convince someone to buy something, it really is. It's a dance with the customer to convince them to buy and I'm not a very good dancer but I'm getting better.
Signing up retail stores
Early in 2019, I realized a key to our success was going to be selling our gear through retail locations so I started hitting the streets talking to retailers.
The first retailer I talked to was Paul from Pawsitevely on 4th ST SW, I walked in and sold him the product on the spot. If only it was going to be that easy!
So far we have seven retailers selling our gear across Alberta and working on signing up many more.
View our retail locations across Alberta.
Booth at markets
We were at five markets this year selling our gear starting with the Calgary Humane Dog Jog, Lilac Festival, Plaid Goat, Marda Loop Mardi Gras and the Inglewood Night Market.
We have one more to go at the Spruce Meadows Christmas Market starting November 15th weekend and running each weekend until December 1st weekend.
We did three group hikes in the year starting with West Wind Pass, PickleJar Lake then Cox Hill. It was awesome to see all of you come out and join the pack! If you are interested in seeing our events and hikes join our Rocky Mountain Dog Meetup group!
We planned our fourth hike to Rawson Lake at the end of September but we all know what happened there (snowmageddon), but it made for some great photos hanging out with Butch at Upper Kananaskis Lake.
Fellow dog owners
Ultimately, if Rock Moutain Dog will become successful it will be because of you. All the dog owners, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, adventurers and wanderers.
We started with only pictures of Butch and we've now switched that to alternating between Butch and your photos on Instagram and Facebook.
Over time, as more RMD gear is sold, we would like to see the majority of content coming from you! But it takes time.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for following us, mentioning us, tagging us and buying our gear. But to build a dog brand that will thrive, we need more.
It takes a pack of dogs and a tribe of people to grow a business so please mention us, tell your friends, tell people on hikes and buy our gear!
And then there is Butch
It all starts and ends with Butch. This business would have never started without Butch. He is by my side all the time, ready for any adventure, any time. And he is my best friend, love you Butch!
Where do we go from here?
We keep on climbing Everest signing up new retailers, getting our products in franchises, improving our e-commerce channel, heading to the mountains and focus on our customer experience.
And we keep product development going. Check out this design coming in 2020, the sooner we sell the existing inventory the sooner the Rocky Mountain collection goes on sale.
This is the Kootenay design. Yes, I'm not kidding, these designs will blow your mind and we also have a Banff, Canmore and Pink Mountain design.