foufouBRANDS is a Canadian-based company that specializes in the design of innovative and vibrant collections. We base our designs on the needs of our pets, providing functionality and comfort on staple items as well as trendy and fun toys fit for every season and occasion. Our holistic approach to maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle includes a line of treats that are proudly sourced and Made in Canada, formulated for palatability while keeping our health-conscious pet owners in mind.
Tell us about yourself?
I’ve always had, what people would call, the “gift of the gab”. Sales is something I have always excelled in, and the type of work I had exclusively looked for before starting this company. If I’m passionate about something, I can sell it. My love for my dog Ernie and wanting to jump at the chance to fill that much-needed gap of affordable, fashionable dog apparel during the height of its trend, drove and inspired me. The addition of my sister as a partner in the company, and the hiring of my cousin, also made this into a family business I felt responsible to grow and nurture.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
A lot of companies learned from the shutdowns and delays caused by the pandemic, that diversifying your suppliers is key. Hence, the current supply chain issues. I would have advised my former self to have contingencies around the globe and not depend on one region for production.
What problem does your business solve?
We offer customers an option between the super trendy and strictly functional pet toys and apparel, at a competitive price. We found most companies like to focus on one or the other. We like to offer high-quality trendy and esthetic items that are also functional and serve a purpose.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
In 2004, Ernie came into my life. Ernie is a sweet, now 18 years old Maltese. At the time, dressing dogs was made popular by Paris Hilton. However, access to apparel that was more functional as opposed to the novelty/costume attire was difficult to come by, so I set out to fill that space. The company started by selling dog apparel inspired by human fashion trends. As our brand grew, we started branching out into other products such as toys and accessories, as well as treats. The extension of treats in our collection came about organically as Ernie has suffered from allergies and food intolerances his whole life. There were a lot of protein sources he could not eat and we were noticing the majority of mainstream treats had a lot of fillers and preservatives that we as humans didn’t want to eat, so why would we give them to our pets. We developed a line of vegan dog treats to cater to those pets who, like Ernie, had a limited diet as well as a line of meat treats made with all-natural, single ingredients to eliminate those additives and undesirable fillers.
What is your magic sauce?
Newness and Innovation. Most companies will order large quantities of products and sell them year after year. How foufouBRANDS differentiate ourselves, is by releasing new designs and products twice a year. Replacing the old, and keeping the best sellers.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
While we’re well known throughout the wholesale industry by retailers and distributors, we’ve yet to strongly brand ourselves to end-users. Within the next 5 years, we aim to become a brand name familiar to all households and requested at stores at the consumer level.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
As dog fashion started to die down, we had to shift ourselves away from fashion and focus on more functional staple items. We also started to grow our expertise in dog toys and dived into the world of dog treats.
How can people get involved?
foufouBRANDS is a wholesaler, with private labelling capabilities. We have an extensive collection of in-house brands, as well as an impressive roster of clients we have created custom programs for through Private Label. For further information on how to carry our products in your retail store or online store (www.foufoubrands.ca), please email [email protected]. For Private Label inquiries, please email [email protected].