Road Dogs

Driven by concern for his dog, one entrepreneur gives car-loving canines everywhere a brand new leash on life.
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the May 2002 issue of Entrepreneurs Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

What: A canine vehicle restraint harness
Who: Carl Goldberg of Ruff Rider LLC
Where: Boulder, Colorado
When: Started in 1995

Carl Goldberg's dog, Maxie, almost lost his life when the unrestrained Labrador took out the front windshield with his head in a car accident. From that day on, Goldberg vowed he'd never expose his beloved pet to danger again. With the guidance of Maxie's vet, a $500,000 investment and six years of development, the Ruff Rider canine vehicle restraint system was created to benefit pets and give their owners greater peace of mind.

Shaped as a figure eight, the safety harness is both ergonomically and orthopedically correct for dogs. It directs overload forces to the clavicle, the strongest part of the animal's body, without interfering with its normal movement. Available in nine sizes with three movement settings, the versatile Ruff Rider system fits all canine breeds.

"There are 26 states with laws stating it's illegal to transport a living animal over the road in a moving vehicle in a way that [might] cause torturous injury or death," says Goldberg, 52, who insists that no real pet lover should ever expose his or her pets to the hazards of the road. So far, pet lovers have agreed: 2001 sales reached $350,000, and Goldberg expects sales for 2002 to exceed $1 million.

Color of Money

What: Get Kookie, a colored cookie dough
Who: Susan Pasarow and Jill Schiff of Van Gogh's Kitchen Inc.
Where: Studio City, California
When: Started in 2000

For all those kids out there who are tempted to eat modeling clay, now's their big chance to munch away and have fun without getting scolded by concerned moms.

Get Kookie--a colorful, refrigerated cookie dough created by Jill Schiff, 32, and Susan Pasarow, 36--was designed specifically to be played with, sculpted, molded and even baked and eaten. And because the product contains no eggs, it won't spoil.

At first, the partners worked toward creating a cookie-decoration kit. But before long, they changed their minds: While experimenting in the kitchen one day, Schiff and Pasarow added some food coloring to their cookie mix just for fun. When their kids went wild over the Play-Doh-like cookie dough, Schiff and Pasarow knew they were on to something big and set out a new course of action.

In May 2002, Schiff and Pasarow plan to release a nonrefrigerated, powdered version of the dough, a new formula the founders hope to sell in strategic locations such as toy stores and through fund-raising programs. "We're moms," says Pasarow. "We are our customer, so we know what moms would look for and where moms look to buy products."

Get Kookie is currently available at a variety of grocery stores nationwide and is also sold on QVC and in 1,000 Super Wal-Marts and Super Targets. To date, the colorful concoction has made lots of dough-sales hit $750,000 in 2001, and Schiff and Pasarow expect twice that amount this year.

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