The Dog-Eat-Dog World of DTC Pet Food with Jinx CEO, Terri Rockovich
Terri Rockovich, Co-founder and CEO of Jinx, discusses how she took lessons she learned from launching Casper to create a DTC dog food brand to compete with the biggest CPG companies on the market.
If you’ve heard of Casper, the mattress-in-a-box brand, you unknowingly have heard of Terri Rockovich. Rockovich was one of the early employees at Casper and helped the company launch into the stratosphere. Today, she’s trying to do the same thing with her new company, Jinx, a DTC dog food brand committed to helping our furry friends live their best lives.
“Our vision was to create a superior product that was shelf stable and competitive to what exists in bags today with multiple access points at a more attainable price line,” Rockovich said. “What we did was really broke down the experience from shopping and selection through lugging that bag home and then also, pouring it into likely another container and then actually the feeding experience as well. We tried to solve and optimize for all of those specific moments in time.”
The end result was Jinx, a better-for-your-dog food that was ready to not just ship straight to your home, but also set up to be easy to sell in retail as well. This dual strategy was critical.
“It’s really important to make sure that your product is retail ready from the start from both a packaging and shelf stability perspective,” Rockovich said. “So without having to figure out any of the painful logistics around installing refrigeration units or scaling complicated supply chains, we really tried to solve for all of that up front through launch so when partners came and wanted to expand their categories and they were looking for premium brands to add to their shelves, we were ready to go.”
Unfortunately, though, a global pandemic shuttered many of the retail locations Jinx was set to partner with, which meant that the company had to shift its strategy toward many more ecommerce partnerships. This actually was a blessing in disguise, though, because when Jinx landed a deal with Petco.com, the company was placed in front of a national audience much sooner than it anticipated.
“We’re continuing to really stand up these retail partnerships for wider distribution, but it really is an atypical growth strategy for a pet food brand since the logical process is to grow through pet specialty first on a regional level then on a national level, and then you start to make it into some of these bigger mass formats,” Rockovich said. “But we just navigated as best we could and postured ourselves as opportunistic and really activated the partnerships that made the most sense given the circumstances and overall climate.”
The success with partnerships has continued, and today Jinx is being a bit more creative with how they are collaborating with some well-known brands. To hear all about that and more, tune into Up Next in Commerce.
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