December 10, 2019
As is often the case, I can't help but start this post with a comment on how fast time seems to be going by! The fast pace of things seems to mean two things: Both Clooney and my hair's getting grayer, and the amount of change in the animal nutrition retail landscape is breathtaking! When holding demos at our retail partners' stores and on social media, I'm frequently asked to comment on a recent news story, FDA notice, or exciting new ingredient by pet parents. One would think that working in the business, more or less growing up around all things pet food, would keep me on the cutting edge and hyper aware of trends. Truth be told if I were to simply focus on a single category, like wet cat food for instance, my head would be spinning trying to remember all the news out there. Perhaps it's because we're coming off gratitude month (November), but I'm really grateful that RAWZ nutritional platform is singularly focused on providing pets minimally processed nutrition, doing whats best for pets health, not jumping on market trends.
The last few years have been a grind as our team has worked hard to convey the ways RAWZ is truly unique; completely rendered ingredient-free recipes, family owned and operated with almost 60 years experience, and donating 1oo% of our profits to life improving non-profits close to our family's heart! So what do those statements mean, sounds like a press release?
It wasn't by accident that I mentioned that we've just turned the page on the gratitude month of November. It may not seem to be that heartfelt a use of the word "Gratitude" when speaking about RAWZ's razor focused nutritional platform and how it makes life a little easier from a sales and marketing standpoint. However, I hope to communicate how truly important Gratitude is to us as a a company. After my dad saw the opportunity to offer nutrition options formulated to bring the benefits of minimal processing, more efficient food to pets following Andy and my injuries, the genesis of RAWZ began. Our family was just starting to catch our collective breaths while settling in to our new "normal's". I can only imagine what it must have been like for my parents to see both their sons' survive life changing accidents, and then live our recovery journeys along with us.
So while incredibly difficult and at times traumatic, the experience left us all with so much gratitude. First and foremost, we had survived with the bonds holding us all together strengthened, eventually leading to amazing experiences with non-profits serving to improve the lives of those living with disability. And while having been long time animal lovers previously, the comfort brought to us from our Yellow Lab, Boomer, only reinforced the amazing power of the relationship between people and pets! Having been fortunate with the sale of WellPet in 2008, my parents decided to donate 100% of RAWZ's profits to improve the lives of individuals faced with serious disability. In fact, although it isn't publicized, and despite working many more hours than myself, neither of my parents take any compensation from the company as to maximize the amount we can donate.
October 12, 2019
Transactional or Transformational!
I'm the first to admit that I often feel out of my element or at least that I sometimes feel under-qualified in my role here at RAWZ. It's not that I'm CEO or even have any direct reports for whom I am responsible, in fact the majority of my time is spent interacting with customers either through Facebook or at retail events and demos. It's just that in spite of a handful of marketing classes taken as an Economics major in college, I feel my ability to communicate who RAWZ is and what we're trying to do is a monumental task. With that said, here goes...
As is often the case, although I don't like to tell him, something I've heard my dad say many times is really ringing true to me today; "RAWZ hopes to have a transformational relationship with people, not just a transactional one!" Having been working alongside our great team both at RAWZ and with our partners across the business for quite some time now, I can honestly say that this isn't just a press release, but a core value for us. My basic understanding of the word transformation is that it describes a change so profound, that the result is a nearly complete alteration from the starting point. I think we can all appreciate the effect diet has on the health and happiness of pets, but am I being grandiose in describing RAWZ using a word carrying such weight?
First off, let me explain why my thoughts have been on the "big picture". Last weekend I made what has become an annual trip to Essex Junction, VT's Champlain Valley Exposition for Wag It Forward: A Festival for Pets. WIF is a fun day where various vendors and rescue organizations gather to raise funds, with even Dock Dogs having their pool set up! Kicked off with a 5k ran by 2 legged creatures, WIF is ultimately a great event raising funds for 24 area animal welfare groups; that's right I said 24! This great event in its' 3rd year and put on by Pet Food Warehouse, a trusted locally owned and operated since 1983 RAWZ retail partner, raises funds for 24 non-profits dedicated to animals.
I'd say the event and Pet Food Warehouse are transformational! We try to partner and support such companies and events that mesh with our mission of helping pets. For RAWZ, it all starts with providing pets with the least processed nutritional options that truly are the next best thing to feeding RAW. But also, recognizing the great opportunity to positively transform the lives of individuals living with serious disability, RAWZ is proud to donate 100% of our profits to the amazing groups making up the RAWZ Fund!
March 1, 2019
As I sit here in Chicago's O'Hare Airport waiting to board a flight, albeit not too patiently, I find myself reflecting. I was invited to spend the weekend with some amazing people working on a project with Think First National National Injury Prevention. Think First, an amazing non-profit dedicated to "prevent(ing) brain, spinal cord and other traumatic injuries through education, research and advocacy" has a really synergistic mission to The RAWZ Fund: While we look to improve lives once an injury is sustained, Think First works to prevent these injuries.
Through my involvement with our Rawz Fund partners, trying to build a new life myself, and being inspired by Andy's journey, I'm blessed to recognize that while incredibly diverse, survivors of life-changing injuries are still human beings. Like most people we look for experiences that enrich our lives while seeking connection to others. So what does this have to do with minimally processed pet food and why am I writing this blog post?
I always like to say that the simplest way to state RAWZ's mission is that our aim is to improve lives! Sounds grandiose yes, but it is surprisingly simple; my family and the RAWZ team have committed to giving pets minimally processed nutrition options. By eating RAWZ's amazing products pets lives are improved, furthermore, RAWZ supports amazing non-profits enriching the lives of survivors of serious injury.
I can't express my level of gratitude for the life I've been afforded the opportunity to have and the amount of support I've received. It's an honor to be on the RAWZ team as we work to improve the lives of pets and people: We'd love for you and your pet to join us!
January 1, 2019
New Year, better nutrition!
I'm sure we're all familiar with making good old "New Years Resolutions!" While I'm very familiar with the idea, having made quite few (albeit unsuccessful) over the years; I thought I'd ask my wise all-knowing friend Wikipedia for a definition: "A New Year's resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere but also found in the Eastern Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behavior, to accomplish a personal goal or otherwise improve their life."
So what does this have to do with RAWZ? Since all pet lovers would assuredly agree that having a healthy pet brings great joy and improves their lives, by transference giving a pet better health through superior nutrition boosts the human partners' spirits as well. As the makers of our pet's dietary decisions, the opportunity of resolving to improve their health and well-being by feeding "The Next Best Thing to Feeding Raw" falls to us.
A question posed on our website is, "Why RAWZ"?: A great "WHY" could be a resolution for 2019 in that by improving your pet's diet by feeding THE NEXT BEST THING TO FEEDING RAW, both you and your pet's lives get better!