Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Deer Antlers

"This and That Canine Company" dropped by our office the other day and brought with them some chewable treats for our furry friends at work. To my amazement, these treats were called "deer antlers" which are exactly what they are called. Deer Antlers.

To be honest, I had never heard of such things before in my life. I've picked up a couple raw hide bones, bully sticks, or even pigs ears for my pets to chew on, but deer antlers??... really?!?

These deer antlers are definately not your ordinary bone or chew toy, but believe it or not, our dogs love them.

"This and That Canine Company" actually gave 3 deer antlers to us, one for each of the pets in our office, and of course, as seen in this footage, Ernie managed to steal two of them because he loves them so much.

And what's not to love? These deer antlers are all natural and result from deer physically shedding or dropping their old antlers as new ones grow in their place.

Deer antlers contain a healthy source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, iron, zinc and manganese. All of these healthy ingredients in a compact, odorless and mess-free dog chew, which have a tough exterior, making them harder to chew and longer lasting for your pooch.

You can pick one up today from your local Pet Valu location.

Oh Boy...

It's kind of scary when Cheryl comes into my office, bare foot, with her hair in disarray, as she rubs her eyes, saying, "Oh my god Jenn, there's so much to do.. I'm going crazy and you don't even know it yet... you think you're busy now..."

*sigh*...I'm excited on the one hand to know that business is good, but a little nervous on the other to know that my head could potentially be on the chopping block again in the very near future.

**refer to past "Logistics Nightmare" blog**

Thursday, March 25, 2010

FouFou Dog @ Global Pet Expo 2010


Every year, FouFou Dog attends about 8 of the most popular pet trade shows in the industry throughout USA and Canada. Attending these trade shows is important because it's one of the main ways that we get our name out to potential clients who can get an idea of who we are, to see our entire collection, to touch and feel the products themselves, and to meet the faces behind FouFou Dog. Another great reason is to meet up with our current clients to show them what new and exciting ideas we have come out with for the upcoming season.

We also bombard each trade show with our FouFou Dog bags which are perfect for retailers walking the show who have to carry all the catalogues they pick up. In addition, these non-woven bags conveniently double as a walking advertisement. By the end of every day, people will usually have seen someone carrying our bag at least once and ask themselves, "hmmm.. what's FouFou Dog?" Or, they'll track down our booth to get one of these handy, while trendy bags for themselves. Trust me, these bags are awesome for grocery shopping.

We have come a long way from the first of our trade show days which included:

1) Driving to all of our trade shows, even if it meant making 8 hour trips to Chicago, New York City, Atlantic City, or Quebec City;
2) Purchasing economical display units from IKEA;
3) Carrying all of our samples in the trunk of our car as well as the back seat, where Cheryl sat uncomfortably for those long road trips.

Now that I look back at what we used to do to attend one of these trade shows, I shake my head and chuckle at the extent we would go through to save a couple bucks.

But hey, every penny counts, and now we can afford to:

1) Travel by plane to all of our trade shows;
2) Design a customized booth to display our products perfectly, which can then be easily torn down and rebuilt to travel from show to show;
3) Have all of our samples shipped to each show and stored until the next.

Here is a picture of what a set-up day looks like for the FouFou Dog Team. Vivien is in the front putting what looks like S-Hooks into one of our banners to hang up as signage and Lillian is at the back setting up our collection of accessories.

And here is a picture of the finished product. Looks GREAT! Good job ladies!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Not enough hours in a day...

I love the new office and living up to the term “going to work” is awesome, but it’s been almost a month now since we started working out of the new location and I have no idea where all the hours in a day disappear to.

Having been accustomed to working from home for the past 5 years; waking up late, not worrying about brushing my hair nor wearing “professional” clothes, and strolling down 2 flights of stairs into the basement of our “office”, I’m finding it difficult to juggle both my personal errands with my work ones. Doing a load of laundry used to involve waking up 15 min earlier in the morning and putting the wet clothes into the dryer during my lunch break. But these days, I wonder if I’ll have enough clean underwear to last me to the end of the week. I know, you're probably thinking that I probably need to buy more underwear, but that’s not the point.

It’s not just my personal hygiene that has taken a toll; exercising, preparing healthy meals, reading, catching my favourite programs on TV, watching Wheel of Fortune with my dad, or sharing a bottle of wine with my mom at night, have all been put aside, like a pile of work that I keep telling myself that I need to get to.

I know this is the real world and there was once a time that I used to commute to work downtown, 1 hour drive from home, which was manageable and I’m sure I’ll fall into a schedule soon that will allow me to get back into the routine of things, but for now, that saying couldn't be more true; there simply are not enough hours in a day...

Monday, March 22, 2010

FouFou Sidekicks II

When FouFou Dog first hit the scene, our booties were once thought to be a fad or trend for the experimental dog lovers who were all about making a fashion statement with their furry friends.

Six years later, this once comical item, otherwise thought of as merely a conversation piece, has now been accepted as a functional, must-have product and has become a staple line from FouFou Dog's collection. In fact, FouFou Dog comes out with two designs of their bootie: one with a fur trim lining for the cold wintery months designed to protect their pooches feet from ice, snow, and salt and one for the hot summer months also designed to protect those sensitive paws from scorching ashphalt while warranting comfort as well as style for those long outdoor walks.

FouFou Dog came out with the "FouFou Sidekick" bootie, as shown in the video below about 2 seasons ago. This item was such a huge hit that FouFou Dog has brought the Sidekick bootie back by popular demand in a new and improved version with sturdier zippers and an updated design; the "FouFou Sidekick II"

Click on the video below to watch as Amie takes her first steps in the FouFou Sidekick booties. Pick up a set of your own today at a retailer near you... if not to protect those gentle paws or to make that head-turning fashion statement, do it for the sheer joy of watching your pooch attempt to walk for the first time ever in these fabulous booties.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Obsessed with these Shiba Inu's

Click on the title of this link to see what I'm talking about...

Are you sitting at your desk staring adoringly at these puppies too?!?

I have been following this live feed for some time now and have watched these puppies grow .. and boy do they grow fast!! Only 2 weeks ago, they were half the size that they are today.

This live stream is a new obsession of mine, I have the puppies on a separate screen so that I can take a peek at what they're up to every now and then. I can't help but smile every time I take a look at these crazy, active kids... what a great way to alleviate a stressful day... and I have a feeling the concept of live feeds will be the next Reality TV.

Clearly, I'd be a fan...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Travelling Monkey

It is the most wonderful feeling to hear about FouFou Dog fans loving our collection, telling their friends about it, getting the name out there, and asking us where they can buy it. It puts a huge smile on my face to know that FouFou Dog is somehow, somewhere making an impact, one dog at a time.

Imagine my astonishment when we discovered a photo gallery on Flickr one day consisting of 77 photos of what we call, "The Travelling Monkey", a collection of photos of a FouFou Dog Furry Friend toy, the monkey, to be specific, travelling the world.

It's one thing to know that a customer picked up the Furry Friend Monkey toy and loved it enough to carry it with them around the world, it's another thing to see that they actually took pictures of Mr. Monkey posing in front of a monument from every location that they visited!

If anybody knows who this person is or knows of anyone else who has done something similar to this, please let us know. We would love to see more things like this and of course, we'd love to get to know the face behind the Travelling Monkey :)

Click on the title of this blog, "The Travelling Monkey" to be taken directly to the Flickr site to see these fascinating photos of Mr. Monkey...I wonder where he is now...

FouFou Dog to be featured in an upcoming issue of SNAP Newspaper

Nic from SNAP Newspaper, a local paper in Richmond Hill, dropped by the office yesterday to take a couple shots of Cheryl, myself, and the team to be featured in an upcoming issue. He spotted us (actually, it was probably the giant size poster of Ernie that caught his attention) at the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce Business Achievmeent Award ceremony. He wanted a fun shoot that involved Ernie posing next to his own photo which was an effort in itself because Ernie was being so fussy and clearly didn't want to be next to his own larger than life self portrait. I guess we will wait for the issue to go to print before we can see how the shots turned out.

April 9, 2010 - The Article :)

Click on the above Title of this blog to see more photos taken from this shoot.

Video of our struggles with Ernie to get him to pose next to his own photo:

Below is a video of what it's like to get a good shot when dogs are involved in the shoot.

Monday, March 15, 2010

To Blog or Not To Blog

I have recently been advised to blog about more informative, pet related, trend setting, fashion forward issues which may be more insightful to one, but run the risk of being just as boring to another.

With that said, I did do some research online to see what topics I could find which may be of interest to the occassional pet-savvy reader. In doing so, I found that everything about anything pet-related that needed to be said, has so eloquently already been said on numerous already established sites. And to have me elaborate on a given topic would simply involve the reader re-reading what s/he has already read on a previously visited website.

Does it seem like I'm talking in circles? Cause that's my point... I have instead, decided to continue writing about FouFou related topics in hopes to avoid the tossing of redundant facts at our readers.

My intent in writing this blog is to give our fans an insiders update on what goes on behind the scenes and to provide a more personal touch to all the real life issues that we encounter, while getting to know the faces behind FouFou Dog.

In keeping things light, here's one for the road:

Cheryl and Jenn were at Ikea last week picking up last minute knick-knacks for the office.

Cheryl: Hey! Do we need bigger lunch bowls for the office?
Jenn: No... why?
Cheryl: 'Cause I heated up some food last week in one of those bowls and the rice from my lunch was spilling out of it.
Jenn: That just means you're eating too much, dude.

ahhhhahahahaha.. ok, more serious blogs to follow...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pet Valu Photo Shoot

Cheryl, Ernie, Amie, and myself went to the Pet Valu head office yesterday to take part in a photo shoot for their upcoming Spring 2010 Pet Valu Companion magazine. Ernie and Amie were asked to pose as models for this collection, because the spring apparel are actually items designed by FouFou Dog exclusively for Pet Valu. This line is an adorable collection of baby pink and blue PJ's, tank tops and my favourite, "My Name Is..." tanks which allow you to hand write your pets name directly on the back of the tank using any black marker.

Amie and Ernie were dressed and ready to impress, after coming straight from the spa. Their coats were bright white and nicely groomed specially for Pet Valu.

Keep an eye out for this magazine at your local Pet Valu location available in April 2010.

**click on the title of this blog to see more photos from this shoot**

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Social Media Virus

These days, Cheryl has been focusing the majority of her efforts towards "social media". That is, gaining more interest and public awareness of the FouFou Dog brand name through the everyday tools and media channels that we all use and take for granted. In a way, it's a kind of sneaky tactic that is almost like sending subliminal messages through sight and sound by creating a bug in the air where anybody with access to the internet may become infected. The symptoms of the bug are highly contagious and anyone with close contact to a multi-media device is at risk.

But the world wide web is one of the most explosive, widely used sources of entertainment and communication. With real time broadcasts and up to the minute news flashes, it's literally your one-stop shop to access information about almost anything, everything, and anybody in the world.

With that said, it looks like everybody and their mom's are hopping on this new age, 21st century, social media train. From Facebook to YouTube, Twitter to Blogging... from civilians to celebrities, companies to corporations.

We truely are starting to live in a cyberspace world in which talking to real people have become obsolete, getting noticed means posting new pictures on your Facebook, and reading tweets about your friends is more convenient than catching up over coffee.

If you're reading this blog right now and end up telling a friend about what you read today, then the power of social media works, and clearly, you've been infected.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Logistics Nightmare

I've heard horror stories from talking to people at trade shows about the problems and foreseeable issues that could go wrong with shipments, imports and exports of goods, orders, samples, and other logistics related categories. With that said, I've made mental notes of things I should be more careful of, what to follow up on, and luckily, since starting with FouFou Dog, have only experienced a few mishaps of my own. The most memorable being the first time Cheryl and I travelled to Germany for the hugest, bi-annual, worldwide trade show which costed thousands of Euro to attend and another few hundred Euro for accommodations, food and flight, only to find that the delivery of all of our samples to be displayed in our booth had not arrived to the show. Boy was that a scary time of my life.

But as Cheryl always says, 'Mistakes are allowed to be made, just make sure to learn from them, and never make the same mistake twice'.

To date, I have not allowed that to happen again, however, Evelyn and I have experienced a similar incident last year when the freight forwarding company we used to deliver our crate of samples to our trade show in Quebec ended up misplacing the crate and we had to make do with what we had while we were there.

I've been fortunate enough to say that I haven't encountered any huge, deal breaking nightmares as of yet, but I'm starting to see that it's true what everyone has been telling me; which is the fact that the people dealing with the logistics side of any business have it the worst. When things go smoothly and everything is delivered on schedule, a year will go by and no one will pay any attention to all the work that you've done to ensure things work out accordingly. It's when one little thing goes wrong that sh!t hits the fan, suddenly your head is on the chopping block with all fingers pointed in your direction, and everyone hates you. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And the winner is...

FouFou Dog!! FouFou Dog won an award tonight for Business Achievement in the "25 And Under Employees" Category, presented by the Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce.

Wow, what a fun night it was... Cheryl and I got to meet many of the finalists who were up for an award along with Premier Dalton McGuinty.. who I personally think is a genuinely nice guy. He's also a lot taller in person.

The food was amazing, the company was awesome, and the speeches were heartfelt. Cheryl, of course, had the best speech of all .. and I'm not just saying that because I'm her sister. One after another, recipients of an award gave the same mundane, regular speeches with their ordinary thank you's, while Cheryl approached the stage with a GIANT poster of Ernie dressed in a tux. Oh what a sight and boy were we the talk of the night!

Many people approached Cheryl afterwards congratulating her on a job well done as well as for her unique acceptance speech. If nobody paid much attention to us before, they are definately going to take notice of us now... good job Cheryl!!

Oh, and last night when I dropped a hint to mention me in your speech.. I didn't expect you to have me stand up in front of 4 to 5 hundred people and ask them all to turn their heads towards me... hahaha.. but nonetheless, thank you for acknowledging me.. even if it involved my bright red face. Love you!

**click on the title of this blog to see more photos from this event**

Cheryl's speech:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Nominated for...

For the first time ever, FouFou Dog has been nominated for a Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce Business Achievement Award, in which the event is an award ceremony, Oscar-style, speech preparing, "black-tie" affair, where Premier Dalton McGuinty will also be in attendance. OOOhhhhh....

With all the excitement of the new office in the air, we haven't really had the chance to sit down and think about this upcoming award ceremony and what's to come if we are in fact winners of an award.

To be perfectly honest, I've actually been more concerned about what I'm going to wear.. "black-tie" affair has got me wondering if women will be showing up tomorrow wearing prom-like dresses and evening gowns.

In the meantime, poor Cheryl has been advised to prepare a speech in advance just in case we do win an award and she has been stressing out about what to say.

I'd be more than happy to help her out with her speech, but for some reason Cheryl has opted not to discuss it with any of us and has decided to prepare it all on her own.

Knowing Cheryl, she probably has something creative, interesting and witty planned. Usually when she gives a presentation, she tries to do something different or special in order to make a stage presence, to capture the audience and to make her 5 minutes of fame - unforgettable. I hope we win tomorrow, cause I am really looking forward to finding out what she has got up her sleeve... and whatever it is, it better include the words, "I'd like to thank Jenn...." lol

Monday, March 1, 2010

Move-In Day

Enjoying a glass of wine while sitting at my desk.. it doesn't get any better than this.. ;)

But it was well deserved. It's close to 11 pm and we just finished putting together the IKEA furniture which actually wasn't as user-friendly as usual.

The new office is amazing though, Cheryl of course, had her hand in adding a personal touch to it all.. dark chocolate hard wood flooring, demasque-themed walls, tempered glass office desks, white leather love seats.. it's as if I've stepped foot into a show home. Makes me feel as though I never left my house, might as well keep a sofa bed in the foyer, so I can just crash when I've finished writing this blog right?

The irony to it all is that I have no idea how I'm going to actually do work out of this office, even though it's 15 km away from home, while working from home seemed more like a workplace to me.

...I'll get used to it.

Long story short, the office is now up and running. Please feel free to check back sporadically for the date of our Grand Opening.. details to follow soon :)