A CPG (consumer packaged goods) manufacturer and distributor in Rogers launched a new product line on April 15 in the attractive and growing pet category.
Axis Product Group has struck a deal to introduce the Trisha Yearwood Pet Collection to select retailers, both brick-and-mortar and online. Chewy.com, Amazon, Lowes.com, Atwoods Ranch and Home, Atwoods.com and Wayfair sell the products. They are also available at trishayearwoodpetcollection.com.
Yearwood is a three-time Grammy Award-winning country artist, actress, author, chef, television personality and entrepreneur. She said the new brand “honors and celebrates” the resilience and spirit of rescue animals everywhere.
Products include collars, leashes, bags, grooming supplies, washable bedding, supplies and 100% natural dog treats and chews.
Axis has a dozen employees and manufactures and distributes consumer packaged goods to retailers across the U.S.
Retail and product sourcing veterans Berry Jones (chairman), Rodney Redman (CEO), Clay Bell (chief commercial officer), Joe Bonds (chief marketing officer) and Jonathan Rabinowitz (chief sourcing officer) founded the company in January 2020 and are the managing partners.
With over 130 years of combined retail and product sourcing experience, Axis focuses on building new brands and helping existing brands achieve long-term retail growth.
“The pet category is growing like crazy,” said Bell, who’s worked in the region’s retail and CPG sector for two decades. “COVID accelerated the growth. When you can’t be around people, you’re going to spend a lot of time with your pets. That translates to people upgrading a little bit of everything as it relates to their pets. They’re like family.”
According to nonprofit trade group American Pet Products Association (APPA), U.S. consumers spent $103.6 billion on pet industry expenses in 2020. That’s up from $97.1 billion in 2019 and $90.5 billion in 2018. The estimated spend in 2021 is $109.6 billion.
APPA announced the data in its annual “State of the Industry” presentation March 24. According to the group’s “2019-2020 National Pet Owners Survey,” 67% of U.S. households own a pet, approximately 84.9 million homes.
Bell said a unique factor of the Trisha Yearwood pet brand is the assortment.
“Most pet brands are either consumable or non-consumable. We scale across the [pet] category with beds, blankets, travel and general accessories, grooming and treats,” Bell said.
Redman, 46, has built a deep roster of industry connections working in Northwest Arkansas’ supply chain and CPG industry for the past 15 years. But his former life as a country music recording artist helped pave the way for the Trisha Yearwood pet brand.
A Bentonville native, Redman moved to Nashville, Tenn., in 1998. Three years later, he had a record deal with Audium Records.
Mandy McCormack was Redman’s manager then. Today, McCormack works directly for Yearwood and her husband Garth Brooks in a brand management role. That connection led to a meeting with Yearwood in Nashville in March 2020. Axis signed Yearwood to a contract for the pet brand in August.
“She [Yearwood] loved the ideas and loved that she was going to be involved so directly,” Redman recalled. “And when I say she is involved, that’s in every aspect. She has the final say in everything we bring to her as far as items going to market. It’s exciting.”
Redman said he believed Yearwood’s high likability factor among consumers, their shared love for pets and rescue animals and the growing pet category made a partnership a good idea.
“I’ve grown up with pets all my life, and Trisha is so into rescues,” Redman said. “This deal just made sense to me. Most things I’ve got to think through, but this one made sense.”
Yearwood is a longtime and staunch supporter of The Humane Society of the United States and emphasizes rescue.
“I have always rescued dogs,” Yearwood said. “I am that girl who will pull over on the side of the road and try to pick up an animal if they don’t have a collar on. I think animals know. They think, ‘Oh yeah, this girl’s a sucker. We got her.’ So, it just seemed natural to me to be in this [retail] world because it’s something that means a lot to me.”