It’s hard to believe that it was just one year ago that I started the Iconic Paws blog in order to have a way to keep you up to date on what’s been happening in my business and share important information about dogs. It has been one heck of a crazy twelve months, and I wanted to take a moment to give you some updates on the business and products.
If you’ve checked out the blog or met me at a show, then you probably have heard that I am a full-time, active member of the U.S. Army. I founded Iconic Paws because of my love of dogs and my passion for providing a high quality, healthy treat that could improve the health of my own dogs and your dogs, all while working full-time for the military. I am so proud of this role in my life, and my military experience and knowledge have helped me create my business and create my products with an extreme dedication to the quality and health benefits of what I manufacture and sell.
Although I am usually stationed in Virginia, I have been deployed on a mission overseas since February. As you can imagine, running a business from another country when working full-time on a military base is pretty difficult! It is a life I have chosen and a life that I love, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But this is a one-woman show and it’s been a little hectic, so I wanted to take a moment to check-in with you and give you some updates.
An Update on Buying Through Chewy and Amazon
Several customers have noticed that Iconic Paws all-natural dog treats and probiotic powder are no longer available on Chewy and Amazon. This was not a decision I took lightly, particularly since I know that so many of you enjoyed the ability to order Iconic Paws products along with their other pet supplies in a single order.
Unfortunately, both Chewy and Amazon are better suited for larger companies who sell a large volume of products and can, therefore, negotiate much better rates in several areas. The cost to ship products to their warehouses, combined with the percentage of sales that they took each time I sold a product, made it financially impossible to sell through both of their sites without losing money on every item that was sold. Iconic Paws would not be able to stay in business if each sale resulted in a loss, and so I had to make the difficult choice to stop selling products on these sites.
The good news is that by returning to a business model where I fulfill all of my own orders, I can ensure that each order receives attention to detail, that the products are being stored correctly, and I can provide more quality control than shipping out of someone else’s warehouse. Plus you get $7.50 flat rate shipping regardless of order size, you can avoid ordering unnecessary stuff just to reach a free shipping threshold, or you can stock up and place a bigger order all at once. Let’s face it, companies offer free shipping to encourage you to spend more, even if it means ordering something you do not need.
The Shipping Process at Iconic Paws
I am exceptionally lucky that I have someone here in the United States who will fulfill orders for me while I am away on my tour. We have a process where I create shipping labels when your order comes in, email them to her, and she prints them, packs your order, and takes it to be shipped. This is a good system, but between internet connectivity issues while I am in another country, logging into my order systems with a foreign IP address, and being several time zones away, it can be a bit of a lengthy process. My associate helping me works full-time as a nurse for 12-hour shifts and is a mom to a baby, so sometimes getting an order out the door can take 2-3 days.
Most of the time you don’t really get to see behind the scenes at a business. But my goal as the founder of Iconic Paws has always been to be completely transparent and open. Like I talked about in the blog The “Why” Behind Our Probiotic, I take great pride in this company and will always be upfront and open about why I have created a product, why a new product might be delayed, and everything about my business.
Your orders are so important to us. When you buy Iconic Paws natural pet products, you are giving your dog a quality product and supporting a truly American small business that cares about each and every one of the dogs and humans who shops with me. It may take us an extra day or two because we are working our other full-time jobs, but each and every order is packed by hand by real people, driven to the post office for shipping, and sent with love and gratitude to you and your dog.
Events and Sponsorships
Because I am deployed overseas, you won’t see Iconic Paws at any of the local events for dog owners like last year. This is not because I do not want to be there, because the reality is that I love going out into the public to meet and spend time with you and your dogs. It is just because I am in another country for the remainder of 2019, so I cannot physically be there as a sponsor.
Instead of attending events, I was excited to offer the first-ever Iconic Paws Minority Veterinary Student Scholarship this spring. This scholarship was open to minority students who are currently enrolled in or accepted to a veterinary school in the United States, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and are a legal resident, have a temporary visa, or are Temporary Protected Status. The winner received a $500 scholarship for the upcoming Fall 2019 semester.
Siria Cruz, Oregon State University, winner of the Iconic Paws Veterinary Medicine Scholarship
I am very excited to announce that Siria Cruz was the winner of this scholarship. Siria is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Candidate for the class of 2022 at the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine at Oregon State University.
Read her amazing story below.
” My family and I migrated from our home in Durango, Mexico to the United States when I was four years old. Throughout my childhood, I remember being singled out from my peers because of my economic situation and inability to speak English.
My parents worked very hard to keep a roof over our head. My dad worked two jobs and traveled on foot since we had no car while my mom worked at fast-food restaurants. I watched them both struggle. It wasn’t until my mom learned English and started going to school that I saw our situation improve. My mom worked hard to earn her GED and nursing license. My dad also learned English and is now working as a trucker in the oil field. My mom always talks to me about how important it is to continue my education and I’ve witnessed it firsthand being a first-generation college student. I was the first from my family to graduate from high school and college. I set an example for my younger sisters, as they, too, have received diplomas.
As a migrant family that started with nothing, I know that through education and hard work, anything is possible. Being economically disadvantaged is nothing new to me, but this scholarship will help ease my financial burden and help me achieve my goals to make an impact within and beyond the scope of the veterinary field. I am extremely grateful to Iconic Paws for this scholarship. “
New Iconic Paws Product Update
As promised before I left for my tour, new products will be coming to the Iconic Paws natural pet produce lineup. With my manufacturer in California and me in a different country, I have not been able to oversee the entire process as I require. As a result, I am delaying all new products until I return permanently so that I can make sure that everything is perfect and meets my strict criteria for quality. Even if it takes an extra year or two to launch a product the right way, I will be able to sleep well at night knowing that I only offer the very best to your dogs and to my own dogs Jefe and Calli.
Thanks for sticking with Iconic Paws!
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the loyal customers who trust Iconic Paws with your dogs’ health. My business was created out of my passion for dogs and my desire to contribute to the health of all dogs through top quality products. Your favorite products are not going away, nothing is wrong, we are just making it through a hectic and crazy year on a military tour. I am so grateful for your patience, your understanding, and most of all for the fact that you trust my products with your beloved dogs. As soon as I return, I am excited to resume working on new product development and other exciting items on my list of ways to help improve the lives of your pets.