We had the good fortune of connecting with Debra Mastic and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debra, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My pug was having difficulty eating from traditional pet feeders. I hated watching him struggle so I decided to try to create a better feeder because there was nothing on the market that met his needs. When I came up with the idea and made a prototype, I learned that many other pet parents were interested in using my feeder idea for their pets. It made me feel great, but I was overwhelmed and clueless with how to start the process of manufacturing and distributing a new product. I spent months researching the process and talking myself into spending all of my savings on starting a new business. The first thing I did was learn how to start the process of patenting the product because I knew it was important to long-term success and protecting my investment and idea. Next, I started researching the manufacturing process. I also learned there are a lot of different things to be aware of when selling a product, including product labeling, logistics, pricing strategy, fulfillment, sales tax and so much more! Everything about this process has been overwhelming and stressful, but I’ve learned I can push through and get help when I need it. I embrace each new challenge and learn from my mistakes.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I’m proud to say my business was inspired by my pug, Pork Chop, and it has helped so many pets like him that struggle to eat from traditional pet feeders. Customers consistently share the Fluff Trough is a life-changing product and the best purchase they’ve ever made for their pet. I’ve been so lucky to have so much encouragement and support from my network, as well as my customers. Their positive feedback and love for what I am doing gives me the fortitude to work hard on overcoming complex business challenges, learning new things and taking risks, especially with the impact that COVID-19 has had on small businesses. As a small business owner, I feel compelled to use my business to help others and touch as many lives as possible in a positive way. I value customers’ feedback and will always do what is in the best interest of my customers.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live right by Estes Park and love going up there for day trips. The fresh air, sunshine and river walk always lifts my spirits, and you can’t beat all of the candy shops! I love going to the outlet mall in Loveland because it’s dog-friendly! Pork Chop loves to go shopping and meet new people.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Shoutout is dedicated to Anna Costello, the owner of Ship Sunshine and DropSHIP Like It’s Hot. I started working with Anna in 2019. As a brand new pet product business owner, I had no idea how to start shipping my products to customers. DropSHIP Like It’s Hot came highly recommended from a business group and made it so simple to receive, store and manage my inventory. My customers consistently rave about the speed of shipping and love the personal touch with the packaging. Now Anna and I are business partners, and I seek her knowledge and advice on a daily basis to grow my business and make strategic business decisions.