Planet Dog in the Dog House

Jun 01, 2003 9:30 PM  By

You could say that four-year-old canine merchandise cataloger Planet Dog is in the doghouse. No, the Portland, ME-based company is not in trouble. Rather, in March the manufacturer/marketer of dog toys, beds, leashes, collars and the like moved into a new leased warehouse and distribution center that it has dubbed the Dog House. The 5,000-sq.-ft. facility will allow the company to handle its own order fulfillment for the first time.

“The new distribution center enables us to lower our operating costs while allowing us to control our inventory better,” says Planet Dog’s president Stephanie Volo, who expects to save $50,000 the first year alone. The outside fulfillment provider that Planet Dog had been using charged the cataloger a percentage of sales, so as revenue grew so did its fulfillment bill. “Now we’re able to save because some of those costs are fixed,” Volo says.

In 1999, Planet Dog had just three employees (and three canine product testers). The company offered 76 SKUs, and combined direct and wholesale sales teetered at around $50,000.

Today Planet Dog sells more than 850 SKUs, and its products can be purchased via catalog as well as in more than 2,000 stores worldwide. The company is profitable and grew 300% last year; year-to-date is tracking 100% growth.

And yes, as you might expect, employees are encouraged to bring their dogs to the Dog House — provided they stay out of the dog treats stock.