Episode 8: Kathy Dannel Vitcak: The Blissful Dog [Podcast]

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.

kathy dannel vitcak
Here's a little fun fact: Kathy bred Martha Stewart's dogs! How cool is that? Of course that would be a feather in anyone's cap, but the truth is that it's nothing compared to what Kathy has built as an entrepreneur from the ground up. The Blissful Dog products are sold worldwide including Mexico, Australia and Taiwan, and in many countries in the European Union. They are also sold throughout the US in over 100 stores, veterinary clinics and pet grooming shops.

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.

  1. Kathy shares how her production studio is arranged: where products are made; where office details are managed; staging tables; a shipping area.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.