Welcome to Season 1 of the Indie Business Podcast! In this eighth episode, you will meet Kathy Dannel Vitcak of The Blissful Dog in Pinewood, Minnesota. Kathy has built an empire from her home, which is located nearly an hour from the closest town: population: 10,000. Her success is a testament to the power of the Internet and one woman's determination to succeed doing what she loves.
And as of yesterday, Kathy's products are sold at Nordstrom's online and in 55 of their stores nationwide. (We did not discuss the Nordstrom deal in the podcast because Kathy was not at liberty to discuss it when this episode was recorded last month. Kathy was kind enough to send me some of the details so I could share them with you here at the blog. Scroll down to the Nordstrom headline for the details.)
How does she do it all? Get the full story, and be inspired, now!
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Kathy Vitcak, The Blissful Dog
Season 1, Episode 8: Show Notes
Here are few of the things Kathy and I discussed in this episode.
- Kathy shares how her production studio is arranged: where products are made; where office details are managed; staging tables; a shipping area.
- How Kathy went from creating graphics for pet stores to having a business of her own — making and selling nose butter for our canine friends
- How Kathy has grown her business almost entirely alone and almost entirely online; very few shows, no Main Street shops buying her products nearby, etc.
- How Kathy increases sales by employing easy label changes for each type of dog breed so products can appeal to specific dog owners
Season 1, Episode 8: Resource Links
Website platform: WordPress
Ecommerce shopping cart: Woo Commerce
Search Engine Optimization tool: Yoast
Etsy wholesale: Etsy wholesale
The importance of a supportive network: Indie Business Network
How I Landed the Nordstrom Deal!
(These are Kathy's words, lightly edited for ease of reading.)
The buyer for Nordstrom's Wit & Wisdom brand saw The Blissful Dog on Etsy Wholesale and asked the Etsy Wholesale liaison to connect us. They connected us, and Nordstrom placed the order in August 2015, to ship in October.
Everyone at Nordstrom and Etsy Wholesale was delightful to work with. They were all funny, kind, considerate and accommodating of my “virgin” big store status.
The specs, rules and regulations I had to read spanned hundreds of pages, and they made my eyes bleed. I read and followed them all. I had a few glitches. For example, I missed the requirement of tamper evident seals so we had to get some of those at the last minute. Other than that, it was pretty smooth considering it was my first time.
Etsy takes a commission/finder's fee, which is fine by me because my products are priced well. I also had to send them lifestyle images of my products in use. I had a day's notice to do that, so my tip for everyone is to have some of those already made in case you need them.
Oh, and get on Etsy wholesale!
Connect with Kathy and The Blissful Dog
The Blissful Dog online, and on Facebook, and Twitter.
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