There’s no denying the world of pet products has experienced an incredible BOOM over the past decade. There’s a completely new subculture of products for pet owners, catering to a whole new subculture of pet owners. Products that would have never even been considered fifteen years ago, are now hugely popular and readily available. Consumers are increasingly wanting the best, boldest & most innovative products for their pets. They're also educating themselves about pet training, behaviour and diet more than ever before.
Enter the world of: collagen broths for dogs, pet IG accounts with millions of followers, and yes, even pet parfum. How do we fit in? Well sure, ST ARGO products are beautiful, but what really sets us apart from our competitors, is the use of innovative materials, offering consumers an alternative option to products already on the market. A point of difference can be a game changer. Sure its easier to replicate what is already on the market than create something unique, but there's no longevity in replication. And, we imagine, it's far less fulfilling.
Innovation in pet culture reaps massive rewards for budding business owners, designers and entrepreneurs, and no truer is this the case than for founders and directors of luxe Bondi-founded pet brand, Harlow Harry. These guys brought us Pet Parfum, their 2-in-1 conditioning shampoo in scents consisting of sage, musk, cedar wood and amber and a pet bowl and placemat collaboration with an award winning Aussie homeware designer.
With backgrounds in finance and marketing respectively, the idea to release pet parfum wasn’t exactly ‘written in the stars’ for owners Rachel & Grant, in fact the idea came about during a weekend in the Hunter Valley with their families, pups and a couple of wines. Their similar obsession with dogs and awareness of the depth of the pet market meant they kept circling back to ‘something to do with pets’. The more they researched, the more they realised the gap in the market for a pet spray that was super sophisticated and beautifully packaged. Additionally, co-owner Grant owns an Italian Greyhound (Harlow), and her sensitive skin was one of the driving forces behind the pair’s desire to create something for dogs (and cats) with super-sensitive skin types. So, the conception of this brand came about from finding a gap in the market. It started with where they believed demand was, how it wasn't being fulfilled, and how they could fulfil it. But the product is only a fraction of the brand.
Importantly, and similarly to ST ARGO products, Harlow Harry have zoned in on the concept that pet products can be for humans too. This isn’t to say that the products are marketed alongside Chanel perfume, although, Rachel admits, they receive A LOT of queries from customers asking whether it’s safe to use on themselves because they love the smell (it is, by the way), what we mean is they have positioned themselves in a way that their products are accessible to different markets outside the ‘pet products’ sector. Positioning themselves so that homewares and lifestyle categories were capable of being captured under their unique branding. It's no wonder they are stocked in large online retailers that cater predominantly to womenswear, home wear and gifting, such as The Iconic. This is completely new territory for pet supplies brands. And, we believe, this has come about not only because of a great product, but with the help of strategic branding.
Of course, they’ve not been as successful in this highly competitive space as they are, without a great product. We’re not in the business of ‘boujee for the sake of boujee’, their products are incredibly innovative. The grooming products are all PH balanced, vegan, manufactured in Australia & constructed with help from a renowned French perfumer. Not to mention the fact that these subtle and sophisticated scents last, like a good perfume, for days on your pet’s coat.
And the creation of their pet parfum wasn’t a walk in the park. These guys didn’t wake up one morning with a fully functioning, safe and market-ready product. It’s been a grind. Preliminary research included hundreds of phone calls with suppliers, vets and manufacturers, providing answers to most of their "how are we even going to start bring this to life?" questions. When asked what the biggest challenge was in releasing Harlow Harry, Rachel says that the ‘smelling good’ side was only a fraction of it. By far the biggest challenge was ensuring their products were safe and non-irritating to a wide range of coat and skin types.
After more than a few failed rounds of fragrance development, they struck gold in a perfumer from France.
So innovation is a grind. Unlike replication, it takes time, grit and constant development.
For Harlow Harry, the market was incredibly receptive to their products and the first drop was a success, meaning they could continue to develop the line and introduce more fragrances. With a captive and loyal consumer base, this means a lifetime of exponentially accruing customers. We see a likeness with our brand positioning. A great base product is essential, but customers continually want more. With a great base product, its an effective strategy to continue to excite the customer and Harlow Harry does this through new fragrances, whilst we do this through seasonal colour-ways.
As well as releasing new fragrances to keep their audience on their toes, they have a progressive point of view when it comes to market competition. They have harnessed this and used it to their advantage. Instead of viewing us, a brand in the same industry, as ‘competition’ they took a community approach and collaborated with us on a unique fragrance. This allowed the brand to not only pool resources and work towards a like vision, but also cross-market to reach broader audiences. It seems great products are one thing, but an innovative marketing approach can also uniquely position a brand to stand out from the crowd.
It’s always incredibly rewarding and exciting to work with a brand who shares your passions and interests, and even more rewarding when the collab is a success. In fact, after discontinuing sales of the fragrance on our site, there has been so many requests to re-release the ST ARGO 191 fragrance, that the Harlow Harry team have decided to release a limited amount. Again, understanding of their market demographic enabled them to create the requisite ‘hype’ required to drop a new product which offsets the costs and risks associated with releasing a new product, as there is already well established demand for it. Genius.
If we really think about it, it’s hard to put our finger on what creates not only a successful product, but a successful brand with longevity in the market. If we take Harlow Harry as a case study, they’ve not only created a premium product that’s well packaged and topped off with exceptional customer service, they’ve also taken an innovative marketing approach. They’ve harnessed collaborations to reach wider audiences and create more footing in the pet industry, as well as breaking apart from their competitors by appealing to consumers shopping in the homeware and lifestyle spheres. A great product is one thing, but a great brand? Well, there’s much more to it than meets the eye.