Young Millionaires Success Stories
Projected 2008 sales: $21 million
Description: Manufacturer of natural pet treats that have functional properties Natural order: Fresh out of business school and with a brief stint producing functional beverages under his belt, Marco Giannini came up with the idea of creating dog treats infused with nutrients to help pets maintain healthy bodies. Giannini invested $30,000 of his own money to manufacture and package his first truckload of the product. "I went around to about 100 [independent] pet stores in Northern California and 100 in Southern California," he says. "I got about $35,000 in revenue in our first month."
Growing strong: Customers loved the idea of functional pet snacks, and Dogswell has seen more than 100 percent growth each year since its launch in 2004. Thanks to earning sales of $500,000 his first full year in business, Giannini never had to seek venture funding. "That was a big key to me--managing my own destiny," he says.
People mover: Building a staff that can handle quick growth was a priority for Giannini, who now has 25 employees. From closing the office early on Fridays during the summer to planning trips to Cancún when the company meets its goals, Giannini is determined to create a healthy, happy working environment.
Future focus: Giving out more than 160,000 full-size samples to pet stores each month helps get the Dogswell--and now Catswell--line of treats noticed by pet lovers. In the works: a plan to launch a line of organic pet food.
Follow his lead: Widen your reach and customer base by letting people try your product for free.
How a pet project became a money-making business
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