4th Annual Million-Dollar Ideas

Pet Products

What's too extravagant for a beloved family member? Apparently nothing, and pets reap the spoils. U.S. households will spend $30 billion on their pets in 2002, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association Inc. (APPMA)--and not just on food bowls and the occasional chew toy. The upscale pet accessories market is where it's at, and entrepreneurs are cashing in with everything from high-end fashion to holistic foods.

Bobby Wise, 45, owner of San Francisco-based George, knows all about puppy love. Back in 1991, he and his partner couldn't find dog accessories that suited their tastes, so they decided to create their own line reflecting a clean modern aesthetic (think Banana Republic meets Petco) and found there was little competition. With three store locations and projected 2002 sales of $1.5 million, Wise has seen the market grow tremendously. To stay ahead of the pack, he's expanded his original line to include a full range of bedding, grooming products, clothing, treats and accessories for dogs, cats and their owners. "I think one of the keys is we've stayed faithful to our style," he says.

  • Fancy Publications offers several magazines for pet lovers of all types: dog, cat, bird, horses and more. Visit them online at http://www.animalnetwork.com.
  • Visit the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association Inc. (APPMA) here.

So why are people spoiling their pets? "We live busy lives, and pets love us unconditionally," explains APPMA's Funda Alp. "They don't complain when we get home late or tell us about their problems. The relationship you share is unmatched." Alp says many people--empty-nesters, singles and couples without children--consider pets their "babies," creating a new breed of pampered pet. For these owners, money is no object in showing their affection. Looks like the pet business is nothing to bark at.

Auto AftermarketBed & Breakfast
eBay AftermarketHome Entertainment Installation
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This article was originally published in the January 2003 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: 4th Annual Million-Dollar Ideas.

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