PATS Telford has secured a strong line-up of speakers for two days of seminars designed to give pet retailers ahead-of-the-game ideas on new lines, new approaches and new profit potential.
The UK’s national pet trade exhibition, taking place at Telford International Centre on Sunday and Monday, September 23-24, promises to be a spectacular event with over 200 UK and international companies exhibiting.
And the talks by prominent industry figures, staged in association with Pedigree Wholesale, look set to keep visitors entertained and informed throughout both days of the show.
The free-to-attend series of seminars will cover a wide range of topics including: how to drive sales of pet products, the key driver to the pet industry, new licensing laws, the strength of independent retail, the impact of Brexit, getting more visitors to your website and a focus on trends.
Renowned pet marketeer J.Nichole Smith will be a keynote speaker on both days of the show, and she gave an insight into what visitors can expect from her talks.
Can you give us a flavour of the ideas and inspiration you will be imparting to PATS visitors during your presentations?
When I speak at shows, my goal is to both inspire and deliver easy, actionable steps that pet brands can implement right away. My sessions at PATS this year are about marketing and branding – and my definitions of both of these common buzzwords might surprise you. I love taking complicated, overwhelming, and sometimes boring topics and repackaging them in a way that makes them easy and do-able, and maybe even fun. So if you come to one of my sessions, expect to hear something a little different, and hopefully, walk away with at least one thing you can use right away to grow your business.
What can you tell us about your own background and reasons for working in the pet industry?
Like most petpreneurs, I got started in the pet industry because one dog changed my life. My pet career officially began as a pet photographer, graphic designer and consultant in 2005, and shortly after I co-founded Dog is Good, a lifestyle brand for dog lovers. As an artist in the pet space I have had the pleasure of working with pet owners, pet brands large and small, and as a journalist working with all the major pet titles in the States, and Pet Product Marketing here in the UK. When I moved to London I got a Masters in Marketing and then launched my own retail store. I sold that business and moved fully into consulting and helping petpreneurs find freedom and fulfilment (instead of burnout) by building brands that matter, instead of just businesses. In 2017 my book 'The Million Dollar Dog Brand' was published – it is the essential guide for entrepreneurs who want to build successful, sustainable businesses in the pet space. I am still a part-owner in Dog is Good, which is hugely successful in the States.
Where can people find out more about you before they visit the show?
There are two ways people can find me. Through my personal brand, jnicholesmith.com, I host a weekly podcast called 'Magic Maker' which is a great way to get to know me and my philosophy. You can also check out workingwithdog.com, the membership site I created exclusively for petpreneurs to help make marketing easy. I am also quite active on instagram: @jnicholesmith & @workingwithdog
Have you got a favourite pet?
I am a dog person, for sure. I got a Great Dane when I was in college who totally changed my life (she's the reason I am in the pet industry!) Then I got a Frenchie to keep her company and when we moved to the UK and when we walked, everyone called them 'Little 'n Large’. But secretly, my first love is horses. I have dreamed of owning horses since I was a little girl – and I still cannot wait to have one (or a few) of my own!
What is the best/most innovative pet brand you have helped developed and why?
I am currently working with a really exciting pet tech brand that I can't really talk about yet... but I have loved working with many brilliant, innovative minds in the pet space. Two that come to mind are Victoria Stilwell, a celebrity dog trainer who has led a movement away from aversive dog training methods and towards the future of dog training. She champions scientifically-proven methods that are both more effective and more compassionate, but she is also on the ground doing work in advocacy and working on legislation that helps dogs and their communities. I also loved working with Cynthia Chomos, who owns Catiospaces.com – she helps cats and wildlife stay safe, by helping cat owners build indoor/outdoor 'catios' for their cats – an enclosed space where they can enjoy the enrichment of the outdoors, without the risks. I love her and I think her business is genius.
Which companies have you worked with in the past?
I have worked with just about every type of pet company – from Purina and Petco (one of America's market leaders in pet retail), to product brands like P.L.A.Y., The Company of Animals, 2 Hounds Design... and from celebrity dog trainer Victoria Stilwell to solopreneurs: retailers, dog walkers, pet sitters, groomers and pet photographers. I have also worked with most of the media brands in the pet space.
Is there anyone you would really like to work with now?
I would love to work with Pets at Home, and I am especially keen to work with non-pet brands that could benefit from learning more about and moving into the pet space, like luxury hotels who desire to be truly pet-friendly, or investors who are looking to acquire pet brands. As I'm from Seattle, I have always wanted to work with Starbucks to develop an in-house pet brand (as their locations are pet-friendly). I really admire Cath Kidston as well, and I'd love to help them launch in the pet space. I think one of the things that is easy for pet businesses to forget, is that in countries like the UK and the US where a majority of households have dogs, many exciting opportunities for reaching more customers actually live in complimentary spaces like home, hospitality, travel, and other lifestyle brands.
Were you excited to be asked to speak at PATS?
Most of my work is in the States, so I love the opportunity to get to know pet brands in the UK. Last time I spoke at PATS the sessions were totally packed – standing room only - and that's a great feeling. I met some wonderful entrepreneurs, and I can't wait to come back!
For all the latest information on PATS Telford visit www.patshow.co.uk where you can also register for free entry to the show.