Introduction: A Flavorful Quest in Pet Nutrition
In the ever-evolving world of pet care and nutrition, entrepreneurs Brett Maiolfi and AJ Crook embarked on a flavorful journey to enhance dogs’ dining experiences. Their brainchild, Shake It Pup, emerged as a unique dog food seasoning business in 2016. This venture aimed to revolutionize the way we perceive pet food, infusing it with both taste and nutrition. In this detailed update, we’ll explore Shake It Pup’s inception, its journey through the Shark Tank, and its subsequent path in the pet food industry.
Founding Shake It Pup: A Flavorful Vision
The inception of Shake It Pup in 2016 marked the culmination of Brett Maiolfi’s dedication to improving pet food. Prior to this venture, Brett was already deeply involved in the pet industry, having founded SnapWag, a company dedicated to crafting high-quality customized food plans for dogs. It was during this journey that the idea for Shake It Pup took root.
The Birth of Shake It Pup: Elevating Dog Food with Flavor
Shake It Pup set out to elevate pet food to a new level by providing dry dog food seasoning. The concept was simple yet brilliant – to offer a range of flavors that could enhance the taste and nutritional value of any dog’s meal. By adding their brand seasoning, dog owners could transform their pets’ dining experiences, making them more enjoyable and nutritious.
Product Availability and Distribution
Upon its launch, they made its products readily available through Amazon and the company’s website. Brett Maiolfi’s experience with SnapWag proved instrumental in attracting customers to Shake It Pup. The innovative seasoning quickly garnered attention and started to gain a loyal customer base.
Shake It Pup’s Appearance on Shark Tank
To accelerate sales growth and expand their business, Brett Maiolfi and AJ Crook sought investment and mentorship through an appearance on Shark Tank. Their pitch took place during Season 11, Episode 13, where they presented Shake It Pup to the Sharks, seeking $100,000 in exchange for a 20% equity stake, valuing their business at $500,000.
What is Shake It Pup?
Their core product is its dry dog food seasoning, designed to transform the dining experience for dogs. Available in a variety of flavours, including Bae’con and Eggs, Barkin BBQ, Slammin Salmon, Turkey Feast, Pizza My Heart, and Peanut Butter Belly, these seasonings are packed with both taste and nutrition. Each 4.5-ounce bottle is priced at $12, offering dog owners a simple yet effective way to enhance their pets’ meals.
The Founders Behind Shake It Pup
Brett Maiolfi spearheads Shake It Pup as its founder, while AJ Crook serves as the brand manager. Prior to their venture, Brett had already made his mark in the pet industry with SnapWag. AJ Crook brought a wealth of branding experience to the table, with a background that included work at Hype Media Group and The Catch Seafood Co.
The Shark Tank Pitch: Seeking Investment and Expertise
In the Shark Tank, Brett Maiolfi and AJ Crook presented their flavorful vision to the Sharks. They disclosed that, since its inception, Shake It Pup had achieved $105,000 in sales. With a competitive margin, each product was manufactured for an average cost of $2.44 and sold for $12.99.
The Sharks weighed in with various offers. Kevin O’Leary made an initial offer of $100,000 for 50% equity, while Lori Greiner offered $100,000 for a 3% equity stake along with a royalty of $1 per unit until $100,000 was recouped, after which it would reduce to $0.25 in perpetuity. Mark Cuban extended an offer of $100,000 for 25% equity. After some negotiation, Brett accepted Mark Cuban’s offer, marking a pivotal moment for them.
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Post-Shark Tank Success: A Flavorful Path Forward
Following their successful pitch and partnership with Mark Cuban, they entered a new phase of growth. While the journey ahead presented its own set of challenges, the Shark Tank investment offered invaluable support and guidance. The company was now poised to amplify its impact in the pet food industry.
Challenges and Resilience
However, as the saying goes, “Not all that glitters is gold.” Shake It Pup encountered mixed reviews from users after becoming available on Amazon. Some reported that their dogs would reject their food after the seasoning was added, raising concerns about the product’s appeal to canine palates.
Changes in Leadership
Another significant development was the departure of AJ Crook from the company in July 2021, just one year after their appearance on Shark Tank. The reasons behind this change in leadership were not disclosed publicly.
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The Journey’s End: Shake It Pup’s Closure
As of September 2023, Shake It Pup has ceased its operations and is no longer in business. Despite its initial success and the Shark Tank investment, the company faced challenges that ultimately led to its closure.
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