The Founder of foufouBrands with her Maltese, Ernie
By The Get Leashed Doggy Style Team
What happens when you channel your passion and drive into a new area? People take notice, and become loyal customers. After becoming a dog owner, Cheryl Ng quickly realized the products she wanted for her own dog, Ernie, were not available, and that if she was having this experience, others must be as well. foufouBrands has consistently been recognized as a fast growing company, accumulating numerous awards, and has become a family business that Cheryl’s parents, sister, and cousin are all involved in as well. Read on as we see what’s new for Spring and Summer from foufouBrands, meet the office dogs, and find out what the most rewarding part of the entrepreneur adventure has been for Cheryl.
Please tell us a bit about yourself, what your company does, and what a typical day in the office is like.
foufouBRANDS is a company that specializes in the design, development, and distribution of pet apparel, pet toys, pet accessories, pet care items, and pet consumable treats on a global scale from B2D, B2B, and B2C. As the CEO and Director of Business Development, most of my time is spent outside of the office. Getting leads, showing samples to clients, discussing business development opportunities, travelling for trade shows, and meeting face to face with potential clients is all part of my role. When I’m at the office, a typical day involves meeting with my partners to catch up on high level information regarding inventory/operations and other sales strategies, and meeting with my in-house designers to discuss marketing strategies and product design / development, etc.
How did you make the decision to become an entrepreneur in the pet space? When did you realize you were really on to something?
I made the decision to become an entrepreneur in the pet space when I recognized a void in the marketplace as a consumer for quality pet products in Canada upon becoming the owner of my own Maltese puppy, Ernie. I realized I was really on to something when I made my first substantial sale of about $20,000 US over the internet of dog boots to a buyer in the UK.
What has been the biggest challenge and the biggest reward?
The biggest challenge has been exporting some of our pet consumable products into certain international spaces outside of North America due to strict regulations and exporting requirements specific to each country.
The biggest reward is recognition of our brand by the consumer. When a customer tells you they love your product or that their pet has benefited somehow from our collection, it absolutely makes our day.
We fell in love with Ernie. How did he come into your life? Is there a story behind his name and breed?
The name Ernie came about after watching the movie, Sweet November; there were 2 dogs in the movie and one of them was named Ernie. I thought it was the cutest name, so I always wanted an Ernie.
Ernie was from a Maltese breeder out in Oshawa, and I got him at 10 weeks old from a lovely lady named Jean. He was one of many pups in a litter and there was just something about him that drew me to him. He was only 2.5 lbs when I got him and he fit inside a latte mug
Please tell us a bit about the office dogs. Who usually comes to work? We noticed SO many doggie beds! How did the tiny white dog trend start?
My sister’s dog, Mimi and my cousin’s dog, Kobe come to the office every day with their owners. I’m usually in and out of the office for meetings so Ernie isn’t there as much, but the office is pet-friendly so everyone is welcome to bring in their pets every day if they want. Sometimes you will see as many as 6 dogs in the office.
The white dogs aren’t as much of a trend, as they are a coincidence! Amie was chosen because of my affinity for the Maltese breed after having Ernie. Cindy and Evelyn went against the grain with beige and brown dogs. Debbie wanted a brown dog but because of its mix, Bailey turned out white as well! Kelvin chose his white Maltese based off the preference of his wife.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal everyday style honestly is whatever is comfy. You can usually find me in a pair of Aritzia leggings and when I’m hitting the town, a pair of liquid leggings with a nice top, fancy heels and knee high boots
I love to accessorize with a nice purse or a shopping bag tote style purse – Goyards are my fave!
We are swooning over some of your soon to be released items. What can our readers expect to see from you for Spring / Summer 2017?
Spring and Summer is all about fun, being active and healthy. That’s what foufouBRANDS wants to continuously convey, and it’s especially shown through our new SS17 collection. With fun, bright interactive toys and healthy new snack lines. We want to make sure everything is made with a purpose. The toys not only entertain, but keep dogs stimulated and even clean their teeth from chewing! Our treats don’t just taste great, but are natural and made with simple and limited ingredients to keep them healthy and active.
More and more owners are becoming conscious about the ingredients in the food and treats they feed their pets. Can you tell us a bit about your lines?
With the prevalence of food allergies and intolerance, we wanted to create a line of treats people can feed their dogs with confidence. All our treats are made in Canada, with love.
Vegalicious™ is a delicious line of animal-protein, soy, gluten, wheat and corn free treats. It’s made for dogs who have allergies to multiple animal proteins, or for those who need to watch their weight. All Vegalicious products are formulated by pet nutritionists.
Boucherie™ is a gourmet line of limited 100% all natural ingredient treats with USDA certified meat as its main ingredient. Every treat is made without the use of additives or preservatives.
Has your office always been pet-friendly? Is this important to the culture?
Yes, our office has always been and will continue to be pet-friendly. Given the nature of the business, everyone who works for foufouBRANDS is a pet lover. We not only believe it’s important for the health of our employees to be around pets, as its scientifically proven to elevate your mood, but it’s also healthy for the pets to have company throughout the day.
How do you think being dog-friendly improves or adds to your company?
Being a dog-friendly pet company certainly helps everyone stay pet focused. The presence of dogs inspires us to figure out what they need to make their lives better, easier and healthier through observation. Being immersed in the industry through physical interaction and experience with pets gives us a depth of knowledge other companies may not have. I’d say that’s a huge advantage.
Finally, can you leave us with a funny story (or two) about one of the dogs?
After working with Ernie and Amie every day, Evelyn decided she wanted to get a dog of her own. She researched night and day for the perfect breed to fit her needs and decided on a small Morkie (Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier mix). She too, wanted a small little lap dog she could carry around. She expected him to grow to be 7-8lbs. Except, Kobe didn’t stop at 8lbs, or 10, or even 15. He just kept growing and growing and now sits at a healthy 15lbs. To this day she swears she was lied to when she got him! He’s still a big boy, but Kobe is so loved and appreciated, regardless. All 15lbs of him.
See what’s new at foufouBrands: